One thing that I have found interesting with the recent dive into design now that I am in a rental is how similar in thought processes there is between large acreage and small rentals.
The fact that mobile infrastructure comes into its own.
But the question needs to be asked, what kind of things can we grow in pots. The answer is, well, an awful lot.
It still comes down to the soil and the management required to maintain the system. As everything is in pots or other mobile infrastructure, we need to increase what we need to do or design systems into it that will allow us to grow still what we need in the space we have.
We can grow herbs and spices, leafy vegetables, beans and peas, root and fruiting vegetables and even trees.
While it is all possible, we need to consider things when we are looking at plants in pot care.
First is potting mixes – there is a wide variety of potting mixes available, and some even dig the soil out of the garden to use in pots, though this is not readily recommended. While if you own your place, you might have access to large quantities of compost that you make yourself, this is not always an option when you rent.
So finding a good quality potting mix that you can amend with compost and when the need arises is very important.
Next is choosing the right pot – When selecting a pot, we can look at the size and the colour. I always use terracotta as I have found that the plastic ones break down in our summer heat too quickly and can cause plant stress, not to mention the extra work when it needs to be repotted.
The pots can be painted in different colours to help match the house or make a focal point subject to what you are trying to achieve. This is also an excellent activity for kids.
Pots can be moved subject to the time of year – in the summer heat or moved into the light as the sun lowers in the sky in winter.
With larger plants, size matters. Understanding how large the plant will grow gives you things to consider, not just the soil type, the nutrients and the water holding capacity. Smaller pots need to be watered more often than larger ones. Allowing the roots of the tree to express themselves will ultimately create a more health resilient tree.
Lastly, we also need to consider the weight. If you are looking at moving it frequently or live in a unit with a balcony, you will need to consider the weight allowance. Otherwise, it can create a whole world of issues.
Great use of vertical spaces is to also grow plants in hanging baskets. While typically used for ornamentals, they are also great for growing strawberries, tomatoes and even mint.
Upcycles containers are also a great resource. Large tines or something similar is a cheap and easy option to quickly start.
Drainage (oops) – Whatever type of pot you chose, always remember to make sure that there is enough hole to allow any excess water to escape; otherwise, we will have a plant drown, or its roots start to rot. Having something underneath to capture that extra water, though, which can store it and wick back into the pot will increase the water time and not create waste.
We tend to think that if we do not own it, there is nothing we can do, but if we think outside the box, there is very little we cannot do
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