What You Need to Know Before You Start a Container Garden

balcony based container garden

Are you wondering if you should start a container garden – or where you should even begin?

Before you start a container garden, there are three very important questions you need to answer so that you can be a successful gardener. Where will your plants be? Which plants will you grow? And will you be practicing organic gardening?

Knowing these answers will help you plan for success – and help guide you get the exact harvest you want for your home and garden.

The 3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Start a Container Garden

Wait – why do we need the answers to these questions? Well, if you’re going to garden, you’re going to learn this fact very quickly.

You can either plan for succeeds or you can fail to plan.

If you plan for success, the odds of a successful harvest go up dramatically. Although, it’s no guarantee that the weather will cooperate or that zombies won’t attack. Even so, barring any zombies, you’ll probably see a great harvest. But if you don’t plan anything? Things will end poorly – although there will probably still not be any zombies.

So let’s answer these questions, shall we?

1. Where will your plants live?

Look, you need to know if you’re going to be gardening inside, outside, in a greenhouse, or wherever else.

You can container garden pretty much anywhere – if you plan it right. So it doesn’t have to be one of the above – it could be on the small patio of your 5th story apartment. Or it could be in the garden of your acre homestead!

Either way will work – because containers offer amazing versatility.

And if you need to move your plants later on? Easy peasy – pick it up and go.

  • Like if there’s a storm going to hit – and you don’t want to lose your prized tomatoes. Just bring them inside until the weather blows over.
  • Or if your yard design changes – and now that previously sunny spot is too shady for your plant’s preference? Pick it up and put it somewhere else.

Now, all of that being said, you do still need to be picking a good spot for your container garden.

If you’ll be planting it outside, make sure you pick a spot that offers the right amount of sun, shade, and accessibility. After all, if your garden is hard to get to, it’s harder to want to get out there.

On the flip side, if you plan to raise your garden indoors, be sure to pick an area with the right amount of light and temperature. Most plants don’t like air conditioning, so be sure to choose an appropriately warm area of your home to keep your plants. Or just be sure to close the vents and use as much natural sunlight as is available.

Speaking of light – if you don’t have adequate sunlight available inside of your home, be sure to set up dedicated plant lights. Specialized plant lights use a broad spectrum of light to mimic natural light – which will help your plants grow better. And hey – just because you like those fluorescent lights doesn’t mean your plants will.

One final caveat for indoor gardening: be aware of your plant’s humidity needs. Some plants require more humidity than others do. So if you can’t adjust the humidity, know that in advance – and let it influence which plants you want to grow.

2. Which plants do you want to grow – and why?

Next, you’ll need to choose which plants you want to grow.

Just be careful – many people jump into gardening too fast. They plant too many varieties and end up frustrated. Instead, feel free to ease your way into gardening. Start with a couple of plants – and add on another couple every year or so.

That way, you’ll get the hang of things and be more successful.

So to start, stick to growing fruits and vegetables that you enjoy. Pick the ones that are too expensive at the store – or that could use a massive flavor boost.

For example, tomatoes aren’t exactly expensive. But the flavor of a home-grown tomato far exceeds anything you’ll find at the store. And that’s why so many people grow their own tomatoes.

3. Are you going to be an organic gardener?

Finally, decide whether you want to grow your plants organically.

Being an organic gardener is amazing, but it does give you a lot of additional work – because now you aren’t relying on chemicals to control bugs, weeds, and other common garden pests.

However, growing your container garden indoor does give you an advantage – it does severely limit the number of bugs, weeds, and general pests you’ll have to deal with. After all – you’re probably not getting a lot of grasshoppers in your home, are you?

If you’re gardening outdoors, though, and you want to use organic methods, here’s several quick tips that may save you tons of frustration.

  1. Use your first year as a practice year – it’s a lot less stressful if you’ve got some practice under your belt, even if all of that practice isn’t 100% organic.
  2. Subscribe to your local agricultural school’s newsletter. They’ll often tell you exactly when to watch for common pests – as well as what those common pests do!
  3. Make use of mulch and gardening barriers to limit the amount of weeding you have to do.
  4. Buy a scuffle hoe and a gardening bench. It’ll save your back!
  5. Check your garden every day – and keep notes. That way, you’ll be able to see trends in how your garden develops.

These tips are great whether you decide to use pesticides or not – so seriously, make sure you check out step 2. It’s been a great help in our garden.

Enjoy your garden!

And finally, get out there and enjoy gardening – no matter where it is.

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Kimberly C. Starr

I'm a ginger who loves reading, eating, being a nurse, spending time with my family, and writing about it all. I believe humor is the best medicine, followed very closely by chocolate and tacos. To read more about me, click here.

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