Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Organizing Supplies

Yesterday I bought a few things from GardenMasters, a vendor that sets up a temporary tent for about six weeks in the local Whole Foods parking lot. But my big shopping will be this Friday at the nursery located about 20 minutes from our house. In the meantime, I've gathered some of the tools and supplies I'll be using. As the picture indicates, it really doesn't take a whole lot to get started.
First, a pot, or some other type of container that can hold soil and water. The size of the pot depends on the amount of space you have and how much watering you really want to do. If you are just going to do a one pot container garden for your front door entryway, go for a good size pot in which you can plant a number of things so that you can make a real statement. You want it to be noticed. The pot shown here would be ideal to put by our front door. It's about 20 inches in diameter. Be sure you can provide drainage so if your container does not have holes at the bottom, you'll have to drill them but be sure you can safely do this without destroying or compromising the support of the pot.

Second, to facilitate drainage, to lighten the overall weight of the pot, and to minimize the amount of potting soil you'll need, you'll want to fill the bottom of the pot with material such as styrofoam peanuts. A pot as deep as the one shown here does not need to be filled entirely with soil--that ends up being heavy and expensive! Plus most plants (including perennials) do not need all of that room to establish a root system. Pot feet also help with drainage because they elevate the pot by an inch or so. I have a large supply of terra cotta ones that cost about $.99 each. You'll need at least three for a round pot, four for a square or rectangular pot.

Of course you'll need potting soil. With the twenty-five or more pots that I have, I'm obviously going to need quite a bit. Be sure to buy potting soil or potting mix but not garden soil--and definitely don't take soil out of your flowerbeds and put them in your pots. Potting mixes are less compact and contain compost, peat moss and other ingredients to facilitate the growth of the plant's root system. Don't go the cheap route, because your plants are only as good as the soil they are grown in. Also, a soil scoop would be handy or you can just use the two scoops nature gave you.

I usually mix in some time release fertilizer such as Osmocote®. I sprinkle a tablespoon or so in the top layer of potting mix before I put in my plants. A few times during the summer I will also use a water soluble fertilizer such as Miracle-Gro (shown in blue bag).

I rarely use gardening gloves but I'm also forever scrubbing and cleaning my hands and fingernails. You can decide for yourself. When dealing with roses, you'll want to consider gauntlets because you'll want to be protected up to your elbows.

And finally, pruners and/or scissors which I discussed in my April 30th post.

All of the supplies you need can be found at any nursery or big box store so you can count on one-stop shopping.

Over the next week or so, as I begin to plant, I'll be revisiting much of what I've talked about today and showing step by step pictures so you'll know exactly what to do to get your own container garden started.

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