Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, March 3, 2000 Page: 86 of 102
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How does your container
By Pamela Bennett
I f you live in an apartment or small
I space, container gardening is an
I ideal option especially if you have a
I deck or balcony. Amazing results
HBcan be attained with container-
grown plants, and not necessarily just
flowers. Many vegetables can also thrive
When planting with boxes, containers
and hanging baskets, use a lightweight
growing medium that drains well, yet
retains moisture. Soil is not always best
for container gardening. When ordinary
soil is saturated with water, the air spaces
are filled, removing essential air from the
roots. This is why soil substitutes or potting
mix, are recommended.
Purchase potting mix from home and
garden stores under a variety of trade
names: Jiffy Mix, Pro Mix, Metro Mix, Pro
Soil and others. Martha Stewart.has even
gotten in on the game and has an entire
line of gardening products for container
For a larger container garden, the
expense of prepackaged or soil-less
mixes may be quite high. Try mixing your
own with one part peat moss, one part
garden loam, and one part clean coarse
builder's sand and a slow-release fertiliz-
er according to container size. Lime may
also be needed to bring the pH to around
6.5. A soil test is helpful in determining
nutrient and pH needs, just as in a larger
Container plants must be watered reg-
ularly. They will dry out very quickly in the
summer heat. Potting soil usually has little
or no nutrients, so they have to be fertil-
ized regularly as well.
Many annual plants and flowering
bulbs are well suited to container grow-
ing: some favorites are lobelia, petunias,
impatiens, marigolds, geraniums, bego-
nias and dahlias. All will give a bright
show of color, bringing a gardener a lot
of pleasure without a lot of work or space.
Lighting is key. Grow lights use wide
spectrum fluorescent bulbs suitable for
plants because they don't get hot. Find a
moderate temperature that can be main-
tained while providing the plants with all
the hours of light they need.
Grow lights are not expensive to oper-
ate, even for 12-16 hours a day.
Containers can be made out of clay,
wood, plastic, metal, or other materials.
Containers for vegetable plants must be
large enough to support plants when they
Be creative! Use barrels, flower pots,
cut-off milk jugs, window boxes and plas-
tic lined baskets. Buy some terra cotta pots
and customize your own containers by
using paints or dyes. Using discarded
items and constructing attractive patio
planters is one of the many enjoyable
aspects of container gardening. The only
real limit is one's imagination.
For planting boxes made of wood, red-
wood and cedar are the most resistant to
rotting. Whatever container you decide to
use, make sure there is adequate
drainage. Sometimes it's necessary to
punch a drainage hole in the bottom of
items that are lined with plastic.
Fill a clean container to within one-half
inch of the top with the slightly damp soil
mixture. Peat moss absorbs water, so mix
more if moistened with warm water
before putting the mix in the container.
Sow the seeds according to the instruc-
tions on the seed package.
Put a label with the name, variety and
the date of planting in each container.
After planting, gently soak the soil with
water, being careful not to wash out or
displace seeds. Thin the seedlings to
obtain proper spacing when the plants
have two or three leaves. If cages, stakes
or other supports are needed, provide
them when the plants are very small to
avoid root damage later. *5;"
Internet for green thumbs
Garden Exchanges and Trading:
Burpee Seed Catalog.
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 16, No. 44, Ed. 1 Friday, March 3, 2000, newspaper, March 3, 2000; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth615497/m1/86/: accessed January 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.