Gardening in Pots and Containers

Iwrote this week’s article after drawing inspiration from one of our CrestwoodLandlord’s efforts in a small apartment balcony garden bed, growing someluscious tomatoes that are now very much enjoyed by their new tenant 

Weoften get asked by new tenants if they can make a garden or expand on anexisting garden when they move into their new property. Most landlords arehappy to have their place looked after, but there are others that specificallydo not want any gardens or garden maintenance issues. So this week we willexplore the many ways that a garden can still be enjoyed, whether it is in acourtyard, on a balcony, or a full backyard, but without being a permanentfixture.

Theanswer is pots or containers! And your imagination is the only limitation.

Abudget-friendly option is to get creative with some plastic pots and paint anddecorate in your favourite colours. Then group the pots together to make astunning display. This can liven up a balcony or dull courtyard. If you haveselected some tall plants, make sure the pots are large enough that they don’ttip over if they are subject to the classic Canberra wind. Placing some heavystones in the bottom of the pots also helps to stabilise them. If on a balcony,a screen or trellis behind the pots can also protect from the weather.

Terracottapots, cement pots or porcelain always look beautiful and timeless. Again, paintcan transform the look if you so desire. The weight of these pots adds benefitas well if exposed to wind and weather.

Aninexpensive way to shop for pots is to ask at the nursery if they have anyseconds or end of line stock. Often just a chip or crack is all it takes tomark down the price. Second-hand shops, recycle centres and garage sales areall good places to find a bargain as well.

Anotheralternative is to ask for polystyrene boxes at your local fruit and veg shop.Paint them up and voila! an instant garden bed.

Now,you want to be a bit more self-sufficient and grow some edibles, rather thanjust pretty flowers.

Herbs,of course, flourish in pots and containers. They look good, taste good andsmell good. Herbs are a great starting point and addition to a potted garden.But it doesn’t have to stop there.

Somevegetables that will grow well in containers are –

Tomatoes,spinach, lettuce, beans and onions, just to name a few. Some stakes or trellisfor the tomatoes and beans to climb up, and plenty of water, and you will bereaping your efforts before you know it.

Ifyou have a backyard, many hardware stores sell raised garden beds or corrugatediron garden planters. These are more suited to a larger area, and yourvegetable selection is wider.

Minaturefruit trees can also be planted. Now imagine the pleasure of popping out to thebalcony or backyard and plucking a couple of juicy ripe tomatoes, a handful ofbasil and a lemon or two for that salad that you are making. Sweetsatisfaction.

Onto maintenance. Most potting soils need extra nutrients added, so grab someseasol, dynamic lifter or osmocote and mix it in. Feed your garden regularly,water regularly and enjoy daily!

Mulch,whether you top your pots with coloured pebbles or seashells, you can create atheme, but vegetables do better with straw based or organic mulch.

Anddefinitely, make sure your potting containers have plenty of drainage holes.After all this effort, drowning the plants is not the desired outcome.

Iremember as a young boy walking home from school each day, I would pass abeautiful garden with a plaque displayed with the words –

‘Whenthe world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden’

Thereis something restorative about the smell of flowers or fruit, or the taste ofherbs, and even more so when grown by yourself. No matter how large or smallthe ‘garden’.

Braedan Kidd

LeasingDirector and Casual Gardening Enthusiast 

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