Gardening in Pots and Containers
I wrote this week's article after drawing inspiration from one of our Crestwood Landlord's efforts in a small apartment balcony garden bed, growing some luscious tomatoes that are now very much enjoyed by their new tenant
We often get asked by new tenants if they can make a garden or expand on an existing garden when they move into their new property. Most landlords are happy to have their place looked after, but there are others that specifically do not want any gardens or garden maintenance issues. So this week we will explore the many ways that a garden can still be enjoyed, whether it is in a courtyard, on a balcony, or a full backyard, but without being a permanent fixture.
The answer is pots or containers! And your imagination is the only limitation.
A budget-friendly option is to get creative with some plastic pots and paint and decorate in your favourite colours. Then group the pots together to make a stunning display. This can liven up a balcony or dull courtyard. If you have selected some tall plants, make sure the pots are large enough that they don’t tip over if they are subject to the classic Canberra wind. Placing some heavy stones in the bottom of the pots also helps to stabilise them. If on a balcony, a screen or trellis behind the pots can also protect from the weather.
Terracotta pots, cement pots or porcelain always look beautiful and timeless. Again, paint can transform the look if you so desire. The weight of these pots adds benefit as well if exposed to wind and weather.
An inexpensive way to shop for pots is to ask at the nursery if they have any seconds or end of line stock. Often just a chip or crack is all it takes to mark down the price. Second-hand shops, recycle centres and garage sales are all good places to find a bargain as well.
Another alternative is to ask for polystyrene boxes at your local fruit and veg shop. Paint them up and voila! an instant garden bed.
Now, you want to be a bit more self-sufficient and grow some edibles, rather than just pretty flowers.
Herbs, of course, flourish in pots and containers. They look good, taste good and smell good. Herbs are a great starting point and addition to a potted garden. But it doesn’t have to stop there.
Some vegetables that will grow well in containers are -
Tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, beans and onions, just to name a few. Some stakes or trellis for the tomatoes and beans to climb up, and plenty of water, and you will be reaping your efforts before you know it.
If you have a backyard, many hardware stores sell raised garden beds or corrugated iron garden planters. These are more suited to a larger area, and your vegetable selection is wider.
Minature fruit trees can also be planted. Now imagine the pleasure of popping out to the balcony or backyard and plucking a couple of juicy ripe tomatoes, a handful of basil and a lemon or two for that salad that you are making. Sweet satisfaction.
On to maintenance. Most potting soils need extra nutrients added, so grab some seasol, dynamic lifter or osmocote and mix it in. Feed your garden regularly, water regularly and enjoy daily!
Mulch, whether you top your pots with coloured pebbles or seashells, you can create a theme, but vegetables do better with straw based or organic mulch.
And definitely, make sure your potting containers have plenty of drainage holes. After all this effort, drowning the plants is not the desired outcome.
I remember as a young boy walking home from school each day, I would pass a beautiful garden with a plaque displayed with the words -
‘When the world wearies and society ceases to satisfy, there is always the garden’
There is something restorative about the smell of flowers or fruit, or the taste of herbs, and even more so when grown by yourself. No matter how large or small the ‘garden’.
Leasing Director and Casual Gardening Enthusiast