Horticulturalist provides option for college-friendly gardening (Google / The Purdue Exponent)

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http://www.purdueexponent.org/index.php/module/Section/section_id/11?module=article&story_id=16841

Horticulturalist provides option for college-friendly gardening

By Holly Pierson

Summer Reporter

Publication Date: 06/12/2009

A Purdue horticulturist kept potted plants as her gardening outlet because she didn’t have space for a full-fledged garden when she first came to the University. “I had a container garden on the balcony of my third-floor apartment,” said Rosie Lerner, an extension home horticulturist in the department of horticulture and landscape architecture. “Mostly flowers but some vegetables, too, of course.”

Lerner covered the basics of container gardening in a seminar, “Container Gardening: Thinking Inside the Box,” Thursday as part of the 96th Home and Family Conference at Purdue.

Container gardening is a way for people with small living spaces to cultivate plants without taking up much room.

“Many people might like to garden but don’t have the space,” she said. “Most of us think it just looks great.”

Pots are the most common containers for planting, but people should feel free to get creative, said Lerner. Anything from whiskey barrels to old shoes is acceptable, as long as the roots have proper drainage.

Deciding when to water can be a challenge for inexperienced gardeners. Lerner advised erring on the side of underwatering.

“Overwatering is like killing the plant with kindness,” she said. “Water when the soil is just beginning to feel dry.”

However, plants on balconies and patios will be subject to a lot of wind and heat, which will increase plants’ water needs. Also, plants with differing light and shade requirements should not be planted in the same boxes.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.