The year of containers

Photo credit: Nha Hoan Le (Santa Monica, CA, USA)

Containers on a balcony

Cooperative Extension: This year, consider planting a container garden

by Carrie Murphy UD Cooperative Extension


Containers can make a garden when space is limited, in-ground growing is not an option, or accessibility and convenience are considerations. For example, plant herbs in containers near the door for easy access while cooking. Containers can also serve as accessories by adding additional dimension and flexibility to grow in spaces you normally couldn’t. If strategically planted and well-maintained, they can be highly productive, yielding fresh produce for your family, friends and neighbors.

Containers can be made from wood, clay, fiber, plastic, metal or stone, and vary in size and shape. Cost and durability also vary. Whenever possible, reuse and recycle appropriate items that are lying around your home that might be used for planting. Every container, whether recycled or not, must have holes to insure good drainage. You also need a good, nutrient-rich growing medium that will retain moisture and still drain well. Commercial container mixes are readily available in local garden centers, or you can blend your own.

Situate your containers for maximum sunlight and easy access to water. Most vegetables and herbs will need at least six hours of sunlight a day; however, others will need more to flower and fruit properly. Remember to harvest regularly to maintain productivity.

Start with healthy plants – disease resistant varieties if available – and maintain your plants well to prevent insect or disease problems. Monitor your plants regularly for any symptoms or signs of a pest problem. If you suspect a problem, contact your Extension office for help with identification and treatment recommendations.

Read the full article: Newark Post Online

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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