Container Gardening: Don’t Be Afraid to Get Down and Dirty

Nancy Villalobos

Simple, convenient, portable, useful and attractive. These terms are used for describing a cost-effective way to improve one’s environment and harness a skill you may not know you have.

A lack of space is not an issue, only a small area with some sunlight is needed to successfully grow an impressive container garden.
Along with a variety of pots, many unconventional items can be used as planters as well. An old tire for example, a succulent garden in a bird bath, a wagon filled with flowers or a wheelbarrow filled with herbs are just a few creative options and can be on placed on a porch, balcony, or in a yard.

“This is the perfect time for springtime planting,” Karen Williams of Orchard Supply Hardware said. “We just got our strawberries in and there is a wide variety of herbs and vegetables to choose from as well.”
Many people find gardening to be a therapeutic hobby all around the world. Not only has it been shown to lower stress and help clear the mind, plants improve one’s own immediate environment with oxygen production and a connection to nature busy lives may be lacking.

Many people have never even tasted a homegrown fruit or vegetable. The California climate makes more varieties of plants available for growing with its plentiful sunlight and warm temperatures.

Most vegetables love sunlight, however root vegetables, such as onions and radishes, can be grown in shady places. Pesticide free, fruits and vegetables have more flavor when they are allowed to ripen on the plant.
“An easy way to start a compost garden is by putting your fruit and vegetable waste right out in the yard,” Southland Disposal Company Representative Sergio Sanchez said.

“A banana peel will turn into compost in just a month, lettuce decomposes even faster,” he added.

Urban, organic gardening can serve as an avenue to healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes. The mental and physical benefits from gardening, as well as the fruits of the labor, make this a hobby worth trying.

There are tips available from websites online and several how-to videos on YouTube. The time and effort are worth the reward when it comes time to harvest.

At the end of the growing season, be sure to switch plants out to maintain fresh blooms throughout the year.

Year round blooms and plant variety are in the gardeners control with container gardens.

Experiment with different plants to see which types are most suitable for your lifestyle.

Descanso Gardens docents suggest planting a native plant garden as they require far less watering and novice gardeners generally have a higher success rate as the plants are acclimated to the weather in the area.
“California has more than 6,000 species of native plants, that’s more than the other 48 states combined,” Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants representative Jennifer Mercede said.

“We need more native plants used in gardens to support the fauna in our area. They coevolved so they are dependent on one another.”

A container garden can make a great gift idea, why not treat mom to a gift that will keep on giving this Mother’s Day?

Using her favorite herbs, flowers, tomatoes or strawberries that will flourish this spring and all summer long, you can create a cost-effective, long-lasting and thoughtful gift.