Page 32 - The Rockaway Times

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Page 32
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2016
The Rockaway Times
Your Rockaway Garden
Container Gardening
ByAlexBerkowitx
Containers are a wonderful solu-
tion to beautify your walkway, patio,
terrace, or to grow vegetables with
limited space. In fact, you can grow
anentiregardenwithoutevenhaving
to dig a hole in your soil! From trees
to a small windowbox herb garden,
containersareoneof themostversa-
tile types of gardening. Withmy tips
and tricks for growing in containers,
youcanhaveabeautifulandbounti-
fulgardenwhetheryou’reanoviceor
aseasonedgardener.
Containers, also called planters,
canbeusedtogrowbothornamen-
tal and edible plants. Because you
can move them around to full sun
or a shady spot, you canbe in con-
trol of what you’re growing. Formy
clients at Sungold Design Group,
we use them as an accent around
a garden, to create a welcoming
entryway, livenupaporchor deck,
grow tomatoes on a terrace, grow
Japanese maples on a rooftop, or
arrange a few around an outdoor
seating area. Containers are one of
my favoriteways togarden.
There are three kinds of container
gardens that we can choose from.
There’sEdible(vegetables,fruits,and
herbs),Ornamental(flowers,shrubs,
small trees), and then one that I use
both in my home garden and with
clients,whichistomixitupandplant
edible and ornamental plants in the
same container. I find this way the
bestbangforyourbuck.
Let’s get started on making our
containers!
First,weneedaplanter. Thereare
so many varieties on the market:
plastic, terracotta, glazed pottery,
wood, bourbon barrels, clay, fiber-
glass, etc. Chose a planter that suits
your budget and your taste. Some
planter materials last longer than
others, sofigureoutwhatyouneed.
Second,weneed tomake surewe
have the proper drainage so check
forholesonthebottomof thepot.To
make sure that dirt doesn’t clog the
holes, add a layer of stones, coconut
fiber, and for pots with only orna-
mental plants, those annoying foam
peanutsmakeforgreatdrainage.
Third, buy goodpotting soil, and
make sure it’s not top soil. I like to
start with organic soil then mix
some other nutrients like bone
meal and perlite in for a boost. Be
careful not to be lured in by the
soils that promise water retention
or continuous nutrition. They can
causemoreharmthangood.
Fourth, make sure you have the
right lighting. Herbs and tomatoes
need full sun, certain flowers can
only tolerate the shade. I always
read the care instructions when I
buy theplant.
Fifth, make sure you water, but
not overwater! In the summer, wa-
tering everyday with a hose count
of 10shouldbeperfect.
Sixth, choosing what to plant.
The main rule is ‘thriller- filler-
spiller’ whichmeans one tall plant
like a canna lily, one complimen-
tary medium size plant that will
‘fill’ the space, like impatiens, and
a ‘spiller’ such as a vine or trailing
flower (petuniasaremy favorite).
For edible plants, I have had
great results from tomatoes, pep-
pers, blueberry bushes, herbs (lav-
ender, basil, thyme, parsley, cilant-
ro, chives), leafy greens like kale
and swiss chard, string beans, and
strawberries. And as always, plant
what you like toeat.
NextweekI’llbetalkingabouthow
tostartaFlowerCuttingGarden.
Alex is the Founder and Land-
scape Designer for Sungold Design
Group, LLC a landscape design
and installation firm in NYC and
Rockaway Beach. Her website is
www.sungolddesign.com and can
be reachedat 718-551-6333.