Benefits of Container Gardening

There are personal and environmental benefits to gardening in containers. First, it’s a good way for beginners to start small. A pot with a few plants in it is less intimidating than designing and executing a garden of any size. Instead of figuring the best place for a garden, digging up the lawn and planning heights, food production and bloom time of flowers, you can fill a pot with soil, plant some ornamentals and food, water it in and be done!


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Photo Credit: Eclectic Patio by Dallas Media and Blogs Sarah Greenman

You have control over the size of your garden, and there are fewer decisions to make. There is less maintenance for a container garden, too. I spend hours weeding, dead-heading flowers, checking for bugs, harvesting and dragging hoses from here to there (I know – the garden writer without an irrigation system! Blasphemy!). When containers are clustered in one spot, all your supplies and chores are also in one spot. 

Container Gardening | Take Notes

Growing only a few plants also lets you study them. If you make notes about their performances, you can expand your gardening knowledge each year, and you may eventually be inclined to dig up some lawn for a bigger garden with more varieties. On the other hand, you may never get the gardening bug, and containers may suit your needs to garden minimally!

If you only have a small outdoor living area, containers are perfect for having a bit of greenery in your life. It’s a bonus to get food, herbs and cut flowers from your deck or balcony. Containers can even be part of the design, so a small collection can be a tastefully designed art project. 


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Photo Credit: Modern Patio by New York Architect Resolution: 4 Architecture

Portability of Container Gardens

Being portable, containers can also be moved around. They can be brought in for the winter or placed for a special event. 

As for the environment, it’s important we grow our own food, especially in urban areas. As Monsanto creeps into our gardens more and more each day, we need to retain our independence by growing our own food, saving seed and sharing with out community. Even one pot with one tomato plant in it is a way to fight back. Anyone with a smidgeon of space can grow a little bit of food. If you’ve never grown your own food before, you’ll be hooked on the freshness and flavor!

Saving Water

Containers also save water. Instead of a sprinkler showering a garden and its surrounds, you can put the right amount exactly where it needs to go. The same stands for fertilizers (organic, of course). Instead of broadcasting them over spaces where there are no plants, you can give a container planting exactly what it needs. 

Self watering containers gauge when plants need water then delivers it to them. Alternatively, you can set up a drip system to cover a series of pots that are close together. That is the most resource efficient way to water. And you don’t have to think about it. Put your system on a timer, and you won’t have to think about it. That’s great for the gardener without a lot of time to spend fussing over a garden. 

The best containers are recycled or upcycled. See the author’s ‘container garden’ Pinterest board for recycling and irrigation ideads!


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Photo Credit: Traditional Outdoor Planters by Other Metro Wayfair

One for Every Porch or Balcony

Container gardens makes a lot of sense, from the need or desire to grow food in a small area to accommodating disabled and elderly people to saving resources with efficient water systems. Soon we will see a small garden on every porch or balcony!

(*You are reading an article originally posted to Build Direct Blog)

Easy Green: 23 Ways to Reduce Waste at Home

We all know that growing landfill mass and, sadly, even trash floating out at sea are real issues, but it can be hard to know where to start if you want to make a difference. Thankfully, it’s actually quite easy to cut way down on your household trash by making tiny changes in your shopping habits and daily routines. If you would like to reduce the amount of trash your household creates but are not quite sure how to do it, these 23 tips can help. They are all easy to implement and can add up to a reduction in waste that makes a difference. 

Living Room and Entertaining

1. Switch to digital downloads of movies and music if you haven’t yet.

2. Ask for and give consumable or homemade gifts. Think event tickets, dinner reservations and edible treats.

3. Stop junk mail and paper bills, and cancel subscriptions that you don’t read.

Bedroom and Wardrobe

4. Be picky. By choosing to buy only what you love and know you will wear, you can slim your wardrobe and love it more.

5. Shop vintage.

6. Bring cloth shopping bags of your own… even to the mall.

7. Mend and tailor instead of toss. Take a cue from our grandparent’s generation and work with what you have.

Kitchen

8. Buy soap in bulk and decant it into reusable containers.

9. Keep lots of cloth towels on hand instead of paper.

10. As long as it is relatively clean, you can reuse aluminum foil several times.

11. Give old clothes and linens a second life – cut them up and reuse them as cleaning rags.

Buying Groceries

12. Shop farmer’s markets, produce stands and natural food markets – you will find the freshest and most local food that’s minimally packaged.

13. Avoid buying single-serving packages. Pick the larger containers instead.

14. Keep plenty of reusable bags around. If you have trouble remembering to bring bags, try keeping stashes of them in your car, by the front door, in your office and anywhere else they might come in handy.

Dining

15. Use real dishes and cloth napkins every day.

16. Try an alternative to plastic wrap. Place a plate on top of a bowl to store leftovers in the fridge or purchase reusable dish covers.

Pets

17. Our pets don’t ask for much, but that doesn’t stop us from wanting to buy them all sorts of things. Keep things simple and stick with a few favorite toys and accessories.

18. Buy your most frequently used pet supplies in bulk to cut down packaging.

Bathroom

19. Simplify your beauty routine – fewer products means less waste.

20. Use microfiber cloths instead of paper towels for cleaning.

21. Buy the biggest packages of toilet paper you can find to reduce packaging.

Downtime

22. Make friends with your public library. If you haven’t explored your local library lately, consider giving it another look and borrow a book, movie or music CD instead of buying.

23. Rethink leisure time. Relax in your backyard, cook dinner for friends, walk in nature, go for a bike ride, have a picnic or read a book – from the library!