A Container Gardening Guide for Beginners
Updated: Sep 6, 2022
Container gardening is totally a thing now! If you haven’t already started your own container garden patch, you have heard of the trend and have a friend or two who’s into plants.
Gardening has always been humanity’s way of reconnecting to the earth. In many ways, we are not starting a trend, we are returning to our roots. Apart from providing food for the homestead and beyond, gardening is a mindful practice that is proven to lower blood pressure, build mental strength and act as an outlet for stress.
Read: Health benefits of gardening
At BGGC, we are all about making your return to your roots a journey of discovery, giving you all the resources you need to succeed at, and most of all, have fun gardening.
Read: Urban gardening is reconnecting black people to the Earth.
We have already written tons of blogs to guide you: from starting to maintaining your container garden, harvesting, storage, and easy recipes you can make with your garden produce.
This guide brings all that vital information together in one convenient place so you can always refer back here when you need guidance.
The first step of container gardening is planning. Here are some key things to consider.
● Seeds or seedlings?
To answer this question, you have to consider the time of the season and how patient you will be as a newbie gardener.
Seeds take longer to start, and you need favorable conditions to start seeds before the weather warms up, depending on your region.
On the other hand, seedlings have already sprouted and hardened off, making them easier to add to your container garden.
There are no wrong choices! The aim is healthy plants and a great harvest.
Here’s a list of black-owned seed companies to buy from for spring container gardening.
● Your USDA region
The USDA region is used to categorize the weather systems of different areas of the US and Canada. We have broken them down in this article.
The first consideration to set yourself up for success at gardening is to work with your environment. That means investing in plants that are native to or thrive in conditions similar to where you live.
● How to fit plants into your lifestyle
There’s no right or wrong way to be a container gardener. You can choose to start at your own pace, with a few containers, or go all out and invest in the lifestyle.
But first, how does container gardening fit into your lifestyle?
For example, frequent travelers will need to invest in automated systems that can water plants when they’re away, or plan to have people tend to the plants. They could also choose plants that like to stay on the dry side and are hardy enough to survive the elements and long periods of neglect.
Depending on what you plant, you’ll also have to plan what to do with your garden produce. Do you want to store, seed, or give your product out?
Anybody can get into container gardening! You just need to do some planning beforehand.
1. STARTING YOUR CONTAINER GARDEN
You can choose to start with one type of plant, like tomatoes or peppers, and only plant that to start your container garden.
You can also choose to use the companion planting method, where you put different plants that help each other thrive together (like tomatoes and basil), while also preserving garden space. This companion planting guide will take you through the basic steps you need to succeed at this method of container gardening.
The most common container garden plants you can start with are:
● Assorted veggies
Investing in quality gardening tools will make your experience as a beginner more successful. Here’s a list of some gardening tools beginners should have. You’ll also need our list of container gardening essentials to shop on Amazon!
2. MAINTAINING YOUR CONTAINER GARDEN
Once your garden is planted, you must keep up the maintenance of your garden. That involves watering, weeding, fertilizing, pruning, staking, and transplanting them.
Before watering your plants, it’s important to know the different temperaments of your plants and when they need watering. The frequency of watering should depend on the plant’s unique needs and not necessarily a schedule. We have a handy guide on how to prevent overwatering your plants.
It’s important to water container plants correctly. Drench the soil completely when watering and let the excess water drain out. Empty cache trays to avoid encouraging damp soil and consequent root rot. An observant gardener should be able to pick out the first signs of overwatering to salvage the plant, so here’s what to look out for.
Our seasonal guides will help you to know what to do at different times of the year:
Want to start now? Here are 10 things you can do in your garden in April. Later in the year, avoid these spring container planting mistakes, prepare your container garden for fall with these tips, and here’s a handy list of late-season crops that can survive overwintering.
You should also join our Facebook community to connect to other soil sistas, share your experiences and get expert tips from other experienced gardeners.
3. HARVESTING AND STORAGE
This is the last part of the planting cycle, where you enjoy the rewards of your hard work and dedication.
The basic tools you need are a good pair of shears for fruits and trailing veggies, a digger for root crops, and a prune for herbs. Plants are easy to harvest, but it’s important to use the right technique so you don’t damage the stem or prevent future growth.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on harvesting and preserving herbs.
4. CONTAINER GARDENING SUPPORTS A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Immerse yourself in a healthy lifestyle by adopting sustainable practices for your container garden. That includes using sustainable soil materials like coco coir over coco peat, using kitchen leftovers in the garden, and the fun part: eating from your garden!
We have simple and vegan-friendly recipes on BGGC you can make with produce from your garden, completing your farm-to-table lifestyle.
5. CONTAINER GARDENING BEST PRACTICES
Container gardening is a pretty laid-back activity, but as a newbie gardener, avoiding these 5 mistakes will give you an edge.
You can also avoid these mistakes as we prepare for spring or fall planting.
Most of all, have fun and experiment! Share your experiences and milestones with the BGGC community and we will celebrate with you.