Gardening in Small Spaces – Container Gardening

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

container garden

Recently reader, Jennifer, contacted me asking about how to grow a garden in a small space with homeowner restrictions.  She wrote:

“Hi Mavis – I have a question. We live in an townhome complex with some pretty strict rules. We can’t plant gardens in the grounds or the flower beds. While we’ve looked at moving, for health reasons, this is the best place for my mum right now, and so we’re staying. That said, I’d love to create a garden for vegetables and maybe some fruits. We can grow in potted planters on our deck and patio, both of which get full sun all year round. Any suggestions/recommendations for how to get started gardening this way, what would work, and things not to do?”

container-herb-garden2

First off, let me assure you, container gardening rocks.  It actually helps with a lot of issues that come up in regular gardening beds–it allows you to control your soil, drainage, water, and it even helps to manage pests.  That being said, getting started is really the most important part.  If you are growing in containers, you want to consider three things:  drainage, sunlight, and soil.  That’s pretty much it.  If you can knock those three things off your list, you can have a successful container garden.

unusual garden containers lettuce

For drainage, make sure to get containers that you can drill/poke holes into the bottom, if the containers don’t already have them.  Make the holes about 1/2″-1″ on the bottom of the pot.  Water regularly, a good rule of thumb is to literally poke your finger into the soil.  If the top 1″ or so of soil is dried out, it’s time to water again.

It sounds like sunlight is not an issue in your townhome, but if it were, that is the beauty of container gardening:  you can totally move the containers around to “chase” the sun.

DIY - How to Make Your Own Potting Soil

Finally, soil.  You CANNOT use regular garden soil in containers.  It is waaaay too dense and prohibits proper drainage.  You need to splurge and get the potting soil mix, or make your own.

Container Gardening Idea - Grow Salad in a Pot

As far as plants that do well in containers, there are tons of choices.  Botanical Interests has a pretty awesome “set” you can buy of seeds that are specifically for small space or container gardening.  It’s called Container Vegetable Seed Collection {it includes carrots, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, onion/scallions, sweet peppers, spinach, and tomatoes}, which is a pretty well rounded garden, if you ask me.  herb container garden organic

In addition, you can grow most herbs:  basil, thyme, cilantro, sage, etc.  I have a friend who has been super successful growing larger plants, like zucchini in containers {she just uses tomato cages on the zucchini plant to train them to grow up instead of out}.

How to Plant a Meyer Lemon Tree in a Container Indoors

For fruits, you can grow strawberries {hanging baskets work well} or try a Meyer Lemon tree.   Our local nursery even has dwarf apple trees that could potentially be grown in large pots {though, I have never tried, so I can’t say for sure how successful it would be}.  I think your only real limitation with fruit would be melons–they need a lot of space, plain and simple.

Good luck Jennifer, and make sure to send me pictures of your container garden.

~Mavis

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Mavis Garden Blog – New Flowers for the Window Box, Planting Peas and More

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

pallet garden

Now that I’m all caught up on sleep, and our bags are unpacked and all the laundry has been put away, I can finally get back to gardening again.

planting peas

I started a few packets of peas in gutters a few weeks ago and put them in the greenhouse because it was too cold to plant the pea seeds outside. Yesterday I planted the rest of the peas along the edges of some wire cages I picked up last summer at a yard sale down the road from us. I’m excited.Because once the vines get going, I think it’s going to look pretty cool. Umm, and uniform which is super important if you have OCD. ;)

baby carrots

Carrots. I couldn’t wait any longer for them to grow so I dug up a few babies for a recipe I’ll be making a little later on today. Lucy the Puggle dog will help me dig up the rest of the carrots today. winter leeks

Winter leeks! Is it weird that I don’t want to harvest them?

winter garlic

Garlic! Holy cannoli’s, we will have more than a years supply for garlic this year that’s for sure.

window box ideas

And last but not least, the front window box. The Home Depot had cyclamen in stock so I grabbed 6 plants. Now I’m on the hunt for some English daisies to fill up the rest of the window box.

How is YOUR garden growing these days? Do you still have snow? Are you going crazy yet because all you can think about is your garden?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Window Box Ideas for Late Winter and Early Spring

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early SpringWhile The Girl and I were walking in London this past week I couldn’t help but pull out my camera {about a hundred times} and snap some photographs of the window boxes we walked past.

Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early SpringI’ll admit it, I am a total sucker for a well planted window box and we’ve had one in the front window of just about every house we’ve ever lived in.

Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early Spring

If you plan it out right, you can usually get away with just planting your window box gardens about three times a year. Well, at least that is what I do up here in the Seattle area anyway.Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early Spring

If you have OCD this one with the trimmed boxwoods would be ideal. ;)

Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early Spring

I love, love, love the way these potted geraniums look. Unfortunately you would need to live someplace with pretty mild winters if you were going to plant these in your window box.Window Box Ideas for Later Winter and Early Spring

And last but not least, you just can’t go wrong with ivy, can you?

Do you have a favorite? I think the first garden box with the daffodils and moss might be mine.

~Mavis

Looking for a little more window box inspiration? Check out the book Window Boxes: Indoors & Out. I own a copy and pull it out every year to get ideas.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Garden Apartment in Harlem, New York

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Harlem Garden Apartment

Wow! Check out this email {and all the juicy photos I received from Holly in Harlem, New York!

Hi Mavis!

I have been reading your blog since late winter/early spring of this year and I just love it. My husband Max (I call him Massimo!) and I bought our apartment in Harlem in NYC last summer. We live in 700 square feet, but the best part of the apartment is the deck out back that’s all ours! This was pretty much the selling point for the unit, and we LOVE it.

small space container garden

We’ve been in NYC 8 and 10 years respectively, and had never had outdoor space before or room for any gardens.  I spent all winter researching gardening and we have had a great first year trying it, with mixed success – I like to call it square inch gardening, as opposed to square foot gardening :)  I blog about it and cooking/DIYing/decorating at southernharlem.com.  I am a fellow couponer so I love your money-saving tips and tricks!

container herb garden

I also started some basil indoors from seed on a window sill using pots and plastic bags with holes punched in them.  This worked ok but the plants were leggy – I think they really didn’t get enough light. I think next year I want to turn our dining area into a seed starting area with grow lights in the spring if I can get Massimo on board. Of course, this is a hard sell when you live in 700 sq ft. since then we’ll just have to eat dinner in the bed (or outside, but in March that’s not so appealing..)

vertical pallet garden

Massimo built the pallet planter himself with a pallet a neighbor found and brought home for us on the subway (great neighbor!).  We used gutters to line it and drilled holes in them for drainage.He also built some of the planters (the one with the herbs in it, for example).  Next year we want to build planters all along the top of the wall surrounding the deck and also hang gutters on the walls for more planting space (at least one of us wants to..).

peach tree

We also have to leave room for actually using the deck, as Massimo likes to remind me.  I grew up on a farm in North Carolina, and I never really knew I had the farming gene in me until we got started here. Now I dream of raising a 4-H pig in my back “yard” and having a few chickens. Sadly, I don’t think our neighbors would go for that.

holly harlem

We signed Max’s parents up for a CSA in the winter and get their leftovers/get their shipments when they’re out of town and LOVE that as a way for urbanites to access fresh local produce.  In addition to our deck, we take great pride in our window boxes since all our neighbors see them.

murphy the dog

We also planted around the trees on our block, which has greatly cut back on the amount of litter. Our dog Murphy likes to help us – she actually eats potting mix with seedlings in it (got a good amount of our chives) – what’s with that?

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and providing a great platform for ideas.

Keep on being green,
Holly

garden boxes raised garden beds18 Amazing Garden Boxes from New York

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Container Garden Ideas – Clever Ways to Fill Your Pots

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Container Garden Ideas - Clever Ways to Fill Your Pots

While I was in San Francisco touring gardens with my buddies Harriet and Ryan, I couldn’t stop taking pictures of container gardens. Although a lot of the plants were beautiful, more often than not I found myself snapping pictures of all the clever little ways people had filled their pots instead of the flowers that were in them.

The container gardens were filled with everything from chunky bark to wine corks. And you know what? They all looked great. Here are a few of my favorites:

Container Garden Ideas polished rocks

Container Garden Ideas rocks

Container Garden Ideas Wine Corks

Container Garden Ideas - Sea Glass

Container Garden Ideas pot fillers

Container Garden Ideas mulch

Container Garden Ideas Colored Glass

Container Garden Ideas Moss Pots

I think my favorite one was the pot with polished rocks.

How about you? Do you have a favorite?

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

My Favorite Herbs for Container Gardens

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

growing herbs in containers thyme

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years it’s some herbs grow better in container gardens than others.

This year I started thyme from seed and take a look at it now. I’ll be harvesting it pretty soon to dehydrate to use later this winter in soups and savory dishes. I’m not sure what the going rate for a container of thyme is these days, but I have a feeling a packet of seeds is a whole lot less.

growing herbs in containers oregano

Oregano. When we moved here 5 years ago one of the plants I brought from my previous garden was a small clump of oregano. Since moving here I’ve transplanted it twice and have come to the conclusion that like mint, you pretty much can’t kill oregano. It thrives anywhere!

growing herbs in containers parsely

Parsley. This too was started from seed earlier this spring and it is growing like crazy. Fresh parsley is so abundant in the stores that I kind of feel silly growing it. But the reason I do is because there are so many dishes that call for it and I have no problem substituting dried parsley for fresh in recipes during the off season.

growing herbs in containers rosemary

Rosemary. It rocks! I transplanted a few sprigs to containers over the winter and at first I thought I was going to lose them. Luckily the rosemary sprung back to life and is thriving once again.

I also started rosemary from seed in January of this year and transplanted some of it to the container as well. So far so good.

purple sage grown in containers

Ahhh Purple sage. Ain’t she pretty. Not only do I love the rich colors of purple sage, but the texture of the plant is pretty awesome too. Nice and fuzzy {it reminds me of lambs ear a wee bit}. In my opinion, sage is a complete must for Thanksgiving stuffing and you can call me a total weirdo, but that’s what I like to grow it for. Thanksgiving.

Sure I’ll use it in a recipe here and there, but Thanksgiving dinner is pretty much why I grow it.

Container gardens rule! Especially when it comes to controlling herbs from spreading.

How about you? What do you think are the best herbs for a container garden?

~Mavis

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

How to Make a Strawberry Hanging Basket

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

How to Make a Strawberry Hanging Basket

If you are short on space, growing strawberries in hanging baskets might be the way to go.  It is super simple, and can produce surprising yields. I whipped up a hanging strawberry basket this morning for the greenhouse and thought I’d show you how I did it.

tri star strawberries

To get started, you need to choose what type of strawberry you’d like to grow.  In general, smaller June bearing strawberries are the best choice, because they are not quite as prone to sending out runners. {Runners are how strawberries multiply, but they take a lot of energy from the plant–energy that would be better used to make berries.}  I used my favorite strawberries, Tri-Star.

how to make hanging baskets

Next, you need a hanging basket.  I used a standard wire hanging basket from the Home Depot {Amazon.com has hanging baskets too}.  Anything will work, so long as you have 12-15 inches from top to bottom.  Line your hanging basket with moss {or even coir} to help the plants retain water.

Fill your hanging basket with potting soil. {Need potting soil?  Check out my post on how to make your own potting soil.}

How to Grow Hanging Strawberries

You can typically plant 4-6 plants in your average size hanging basket. My basket was a little larger than normal so I used 12 strawberry plants.

How to Make a Strawberry Hanging Basket

Finally, water those suckers in, and Presto!  In a month or two you’ll have a hanging strawberry garden.

Don’t forget to water your hanging baskets pretty regularly, and your strawberry plants will need to be re-potted each year, to ensure enough nutrients for a good crop of berries.

How do YOU? Are you growing anything in hanging baskets this year?

~Mavis

order hanging baskets online

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Container Gardening – DIY Stacked Terra Cotta Planter

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

how to make a Stacked Terra Cotta Planter

Wahooo! Check out this stacked terra cotta planter I just put together this morning!

I was at the Home Depot {of course I was, where else would I be?} and I spotted these super cool terra cotta pots with ruffled edges and knew I just had to use the Home Depot card my MIL sent me for Mother’s Day and snatch them up.

Although the stacked terra cotta plants look cool now, just wait until the flowers begin to fill out and start trailing down the sides of the pots. It’s going to look amazing.

How to Make a   Stacked Terra Cotta Planter

Putting this together was super simple. You can do it too.

First, gather up 3 flower pots in graduating sizes, a flat of flowers {even though I’m showing 2 flats, I only used about half of the flowers from each flat}, and a wooden dowel rod. Now the dowel rod is very important. Especially if you have animals or small kids, or who knows, maybe you’re kind of clumsy too. Anywho, the dowel rod will help prevent your pots from falling over and breaking once you get the whole thing put together.

Container Gardening  DIY Stacked Terra Cotta Planter

Are you ready for the directions? They are super easy.

First, place you largest pot on the ground where you’ll be keeping it. Then, fill the pot with potting soil {I used my own homemade potting soil mix}. Insert the dowel rod so it it resting in the drainage hole of the pot.

DIY Stacked Terra Cotta Planter How To

Then, add your second pot, fill with soil, then your third pot and add soil to it as well. Once you get all the pots stacked and the soil in them, trim the dowel rod so it is level with the top pot.

petunias in terra cotta pot

Next add flowers all around the edges of your stacked terra cotta planters.

how to make a Stacked Terra Cotta PlanterAnd viola! A masterpiece has been created.

Now all you have to do is keep your planter watered and sit back and enjoy the view.

Pretty cool, don’t you think?

~Mavis

What is YOUR favorite plant to use in outdoor containers? Mine are petunias, hands down.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Garden Blog – Peas, Potatoes and Herbs

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

garden gnomes sugar snap peas

According to the weather forecast the clouds are suppose to roll in tonight and bring us rain for the next 6 days. And you know what? I’m pretty happy about it.

Someone asked me the other day on facebook how I water my garden.

organic potatoes

I was totally embarrassed to say that I water my entire garden by hand. Yep, just me and my little hose and a super powered nozzle.

organic gardening oregano strawberries

When we first moved here, our backyard had a decent sized patch of grass and the rest of the yard was wooded. There was no need for a ton of sprinklers. Then, the summer of 2009 I decided I wanted to grow a huge garden, so we cleared a bunch of brush, and well, the rest is history.

organic gardening flat leaf parsley

Even though we’ve carved out more growing areas over the years, we never really stopped to think about putting some sort of slow drip watering system in. Mostly because of the energy {the handsome husband} and the cost it would take to install them.

Plus, when we go to put our house on the market someday, I seriously doubt the next family who moves here is going to want to 10 million sprinkler hoses and raised garden beds galore everywhere. Let’s face it, having a large garden is a lot of work, and most people are not going to want one this size.

grow organic herbs

So even though it sounds strange, I don’t actually mind hand watering my garden. I find it relaxing, and I can pull weeds out of the garden beds while I’m watering the plants too.

But when I have to water on a daily basis because the weather is in the 80′s for a whole week, well then it becomes sort of a chore.

organic gardening Herbs sage

So bring on the rain. I’m ready for a break!

~Mavis

P.S. How do YOU water your garden? Soaker hoses? Drip irrigation, a good old fashioned watering can? Mavis wants to know.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Container Gardening Idea – Grow Salad in a Pot

  • Like on Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Print Friendly and PDF
  • Pin It

Container Gardening Idea - Grow Salad in a Pot

Do you want to grow some vegetables but just don’t have a lot of space? Try container gardening. You can grow everything from tomatoes to salad mixes in pots of all shapes and sizes.

Trust me, anyone can have a garden and you don’t have to have a giant backyard to do it. If you have never gardened before, start with something easy, like salad greens.

How to Grow Salad in a Pot

Supplies

Directions

Fill a container with moist potting soil. Press seeds into soil and cover with 1/4 inch potting soil. Keep moist. Seeds should germinate in 5-10 days and depending on the variety and  your lettuce should be ready to harvest in 30 – 45 days.

You can do this!

~Mavis

If you would like to learn more about growing vegetable container gardens, check out The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible By Edward C. Smith.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Recipes Garden Frugal Canning Chickens Travel