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Urban Gardening on Cement; Easy tips on container gardening.

by Brandon

wall of vegatation

Do you lack useable earth to dig in a garden? <br/>Do you have a space even a small space that&#x27;s covered in cement? <br/>Then consider the bounty that can be created with clever usage of containers.

First let me say my grammar sucks as does my spelling so if that matters to you read someone's elses page.. skip mine. :-) 

Things have slowed down for me and I finally thought maybe I should put together a easy guide for container gardening... Even if all you have is a patch of cement.. by your door, balcony, courtyard etc... I wanna encourage you to consider container gardening. Most types of plant life can be kept in containers. Edibles - succulents - bulbs and even Trees.. 

For some reason many people are shy about trying something that is rather easy to do... I have a sidewalk and a narrow border 12in. of earth that is planted with landowners hostas. And behind that against the house, I rent, is a 2nd  sidewalk.. its a patch of cement against the house. ( not wise but I didn't do it... ) So I started year by year adding a few planters. 

FIRST tip go as big as you can afford for a pot.. most people have trouble with container gardening by using to small a pot. I like to start with 12x12x12 pots.. but 14x14x14 is better and should be your smallest.. This allows for a wide variety of plants, herbs, veg, annuals and a few perennials. I know because I am in zone 5 Michigan and I have been do so for years. Then the next best thing is to go even bigger ( I use "earth box"
planters ) for even larger things or a mix of things in one planter.

Next Tip Containers can dry out faster by having the root zone being exposed to more air than those planted in the ground. So be aware of watering needs. I use "Soil Moist" granules in my mix to help moderate my watering in containers. ( there are many options out there to try even buckets with drip irrigation if your so inclined).

This year I have completely covered my cement eyesore with planters.. which is 15 pots.. smallest being 14 in .. I have 2 earth boxes in that spot with 2 over the deck pots in front of them. With one Tall 36in x 24in x 12in planter. And the rest are the 14in.. that's my set up doesn't have to be yours. Not likely you have the same conditions as me...

Plant material is dependant on your light conditions like as if in the open ground, and your budget. But truthfully its only limited by your imagination.. 

If I can remember how to upload pics I will show you my current wall of vegetation that is so thick that people believe I have it all planted in the ground.. NOPE!! its all in containers excluding the landlords hosta border and a patch of daylily. 

I currently have Japanese Maples, Magnolia, Arborvitaes, I have edibles such as 5 kinds of tomatoes and 9 kinds of hot pepper, ( those in a second container garden sitting on the parking lot ).. I have annuals and perennials all mixed in my border. I really love my dahlia and coleus this year. But I have even 4 water features spread around my yard.. ( ones a bird bath but a cool bird bath ) Another is a tub with Lotus I grew from seed from China.. So containers can grow anything your willing to love into being.... 

With regards to trees remember bonsai artist have for 1000's of years been growing trees in pots, as have European's with many exotics from around the world being displayed in their gardens. 

A little encouragement and reading up on specific plants I would expect you can grow most things successful. I have not tried but hear the exception is blueberries, and I know there are things that are harder to grow in pots than in the ground but if you have no ground that is yours to plow under,, grab a pot and buy some dirt and plant a green thing and water it and feel the pride of life growing where none was before... 

Any further questions need a point in the right direction for your plant don't be afraid to ask me or someone else here in this forum. 

I gathered from a fair when I was a kid a booklet that gave minimum pot sizes for edibles that was printed by MSU.. then a few years later Burpee use to send out printed material much the same. I still have both. Now with internet you might find specifics with a search.. I just like my paper copies better.. 



go as big as you can with the container.

remember to water .. use "soil moist" its a wonderful product ALWAYS have drainage holes.. my pet pieve is people saying I don't know why this died.. and they didn't have drainage holes.. I just wanna slap 'em like gram'ma did me... 

Grouping pots together also help keep the micro-environment around the containers moister. 

Use your imagination.

Use a good soil mix that has good drainage and good amount of organic material in it. 

( avoid using straight black peat or black dirt.. it rarly drains well enough ) Plant roots need air or they will drown from a poor soil choice.

Most not all but I would go on record saying 99.9 % of the plants can be container grown if you give them the extra love that they need. 

Try the easy stuff first thou.. give yourself a break and gain some skills... lol 

Almost signed off without saying something on winter protection.. use common sense. put your containers if you have perennials or trees in them up against the house and provide a wind break or covering if your location is really exposed.

Don't leave your best crockery / pottery over winter.. thats just asking for a tearful spring... I use plastic for my overwintering items. I pull out my pottery for the growing season and return it to storage when winter arrives. 

Oh Hygiene .. something people forget .. kinda common sense but let it be said anyways.. CLEAN your pots and clean up debris before snow covers it.. Keeping things tidy will pay off with less bugs and

diseases later... 

If you want the fullest lush planter cram lots in it.. and let the plants fend for themselves with extra water and feed you might be shocked how much will fit in a single container.. 

lastly ... keep notes.. what worked and what didn't... gardening is all a learning experience.. 

NOW..Don't be afraid to try..Go have fun now.. 



Container Gardening, planters, cement solutions, pots