Gardening in large or small planter boxes adds a decorative element to your outdoor space, as well as creating a protected area to grow vegetables and flowers. You may wish to buy ready-made planter boxes at a home improvement store, or build a wooden rectangular or square box yourself. Use either flowers, herbs or vegetables in your planter garden or, for variety and texture, a bit of each.
Nearly anything that can be grown in the ground can live in a planter box, but the box must be large enough to contain the root system. Flowers in planter boxes or containers add a beautiful touch to your outdoor area. For window planters, look for drought-resistant, sturdy blooms that will last through the season. Use nutrient-rich soil and fertilize. Planter boxes can be made from many types of wood, plaster, cement, plastic and ceramic. One inventive idea: Make two wooden, square planter boxes and fill with your favorite flowers. Attach planks from one box to the other for an easy and decorative bench.
Growing Fresh Herbs
Growing herbs in a planter box is ideal, especially if it is located in a spot the cook can easily access. Herbs add fragrance to your garden and healthy zest to your recipes. Use basil and dill in the back as they sometimes grow tall. The planter has a more filled-out look when shorter herbs are up front. Sage and chives can fill out the middle. Oregano, mint and lemon grass look lovely dotted throughout. Fertilize the garden and keep it lightly moist.
Cold-Weather Flower Tips
Planter boxes can be useful in the winter, when the ground may freeze. Consider varieties of cabbage and kale, which come in colors such as purple, green, white and creamy yellow. Violas are another cold-weather friend, as are tulips, calendulas and larkspur. Fill in the corners with easy-to-grow ivy. Don't forget the dainty forget-me-nots and festive poinsettias.
Growing Vegetables in Planters
Planting in containers can help with "soil-borne diseases, nematodes, or poor soil," according to the article "Vegetable Gardening in Containers," published by Virginia Tech. The position of your vegetable planter box will determine what kinds of vegetables you can plant, depending on the amount of sunlight it will receive. Smaller boxes can be moved. Ideal vegetables for planter boxes include radishes, carrots, greens and lettuce. Peppers and tomatoes also grow well in containers.
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