Gardening in barrels & flower boxes

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Gardening in barrels & flower boxes
3
Fri, 04-04-2003 - 1:50pm
Hi :o) I would like to plant flowers in wooden barrels and flower boxes on my front porch this spring. I am completely new to gardening and would like to start out with something that doesn't need a lot of "babying" because I have a 15 month old and 3 stepkids. Needless to say, I am VERY busy and don't have a lot of time to care for flowers. Any suggestions for flowers that will be pretty to look at, but won't need too much care? (I live in PA-if that is necessary to know to make suggestions). Thanks so much!!!! Lisa
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Sat, 04-05-2003 - 7:38am
Welcome again Lisa! Good question, gets a real fancy answer...The best way to get plants to take off in barrels is to start at the bottom of the barrel with a layer of gravel stone, followed by (cheaters method, for less work, great results) High quality planting mixes, either pre mixed top soil or potting soil that can be purchased in the bag, simply emptied into the pot, and planted with any assortment of plants. Fill the barrel to within 6 inches of the top with the soil, then fill it in with a mixture of a few varieties of plants....some tall in the middle...(maximum of two tall per barrel), going toward the sides and going shorter as well, followed by a colorful vine to fall over the side in one or two areas. Fill the area with as many 4 inch potted plants as possible, then work some more of the soil mixture from the bag around the root areas, making sure to (((NOT))) cover the plants any higher than the soil they came with.

Now, watter well, and with so many plants keeping out the sun and wind, you shouldn't have to water again on a regular basis but once a week or less, depending on how much rain you get. When you watter well, I mean...SOAK those plants in (VERY) well, to the point of making mud out of the soil the first time. As for how often to water after that, place your finger into the soil, about one inch deep, and if it's still moist there....don't water....wait until at one inch of depth, the soil is dry, then water until nearly full, adding in the water slowly so as to make sure you are giving it time to soak in way down to the bottom of the barrel. This may take as little as a gallon of water each time, to up to 4 gallons at a time, depending on the size of the barrel.

I hope this helps!!! Container gardening is about the most expensive to start out with, but each year, you don't have to start all over again. Do remember to replace about 1/3 of the soil mixture yearly though, as you start your new plantings again. You can replace the soil mixture with soil ammended yourself, or again from a bag. My personal prefference for barrel plantings is potting soil or garden soil made by "Miracle Grow" yes...it's expensive, but you won't be adding fertilizer through the year to it either, just water as needed, and watch them grow...you asked for easy, and it doesn't get any easier than this...Just remember though that easy with plants usually means more money laid out to begin with.

Should you choose to purchase packages of plants instead of singles in 4 inch pots, please remember to allow at least 4 inches around each for their roots, and simply fill in the difference with the soil you choose.

Now for my own two cents...I've even used tomatoe plants in the middle, an herb beside that, then flowers to finish the barrel...yep, fresh tomatoes and herbs, along with wonderful flowers from the same barrel. One plant to make sure you put in though with tomatoes is (MARIGOLDS), depending on the size of the barrel....two of them will do wonderfully as an insect deterrent.

Mitch

 
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2003
Sun, 04-13-2003 - 8:02pm
Hi, Mitch, just wanted to say thanks for the suggestions and advice on the container gardening. I wasn't able to read your response until yesterday and I really appreciate the detailed answer you gave. I am looking forward to starting very soon. One other question, though, what do you think of the pre-mixed soil, fertilizer, and assorted seeds? Ever tried it? I bought a bag the other day, thinking that it might give me a good variety of flowers and colors.

I also liked the tomato plant idea. But how much sunlight do those plants need? We usually get a good bit of morning sunlight on the porch, but that's about it.

Thanks again!

Lisa
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-20-2003
Wed, 04-23-2003 - 11:49am
Two things Lisa...the better the quality of potting soil, the better the results. Secondly, most garden type plants need about 6 hour or more sunlight per day. Check with your local nursery though, as some are now carrying plants for gardening in lower amounts of daylight.

Mitch