Just because summer temperatures are climbing into the unbearable territory does not mean you have to give up the prospects of gardening for the next 4 months. In places like Arizona, where seasonal extremes make it difficult to maintain outdoor gardens, patio container gardens are a great way to flex your green thumb without scorching your plant friends. That’s because container gardens are easy to move around to cooler or more shaded parts of the patio throughout the day and they can even be moved inside when outdoor conditions become too difficult for even the most protected plant to survive. Here are a few tips for getting started on your very own patio garden adventure.
You will notice that most container plant soils contain slow-release fertilizers that are designed to feed your plants on an ongoing basis. The problem with that though is that as you water container plants, you end up leaching the nutrients in the fertilizer out of the soil, creating conditions where you have a wet but unhealthy medium for your plants to live in. Keep some organic fertilizer on hand and follow the feeding directions.
Different plant types will vary in their watering requirements but an easy best practice to follow is to check your soil for wetness at an inch depth. You can do this by simply sticking your finger into the soil and checking to see if it is damp at about an inch deep. Water in containers can evaporate more quickly and therefore more regular watering is often necessary. Make sure that you are using containers that can drain through as plant roots that end up sitting in water can rot and kill the entire plant.
The size will depend on what you are planting but the material type is important. You want to use containers that will retain moisture but not necessarily heat. For that reason, you should stay away from dark-colored pots as they tend to absorb rather than reflect heat. For large containers, consider getting them mounted onto a rolling stand for ease of movement. It is always optimal to use the largest sized containers possible so that your plants’ root systems have plenty of space to grow and thrive and so that the soil can hold and retain moisture for longer periods of time.
Container gardening is also a great idea for newcomers to gardening at any time of the year and makes a great option for apartment dwellers that might not have space, but still enjoy the activity of gardening. Gardening is a known stress reliever and plants when brought indoors, are wonderful at filtering toxins and other particulate matter from the air that you breathe.