The myriad benefits of container gardening …

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In my opinion, urban sprawl has had a detrimental effect on the quality of our life. Unfettered, unplanned, uncontrolled housing developments across major cities in the country have not only resulted in people living in ugly concrete tenements, but the houses themselves have made most of us feel insular, isolated, boxed in and caged. As a result, it seems many of us have started to dislike human contact, lest we have to say hello and be nice to each other.

We have started to live our entire lives within the confines of concrete walls that we call home. In our apartments and flats, a small balcony is often our gateway to sunlight and fresh air. Unfortunately, many of us are unwilling to step out into the balcony, should we have to make eye contact with our neighbors next door. Some of us even go a step further and convert our balconies into a small room to extract a few extra square foot of living space. So much for fresh air and sunlight–two most important elements of a healthy life. For hundreds of years humans lived in houses with a large yard, we swam under open skies, played with dirt and frolicked in the sand; unfortunately, we find ourselves restricted by our self made “prisons” now. We all are born free but somehow end up in servitude.

In this concrete jungle, many of us still want to be in touch with soil, plants and flowers in our living space. We would love to grow a small garden, but more often than not give up due to a lack of space. Forget about having a kitchen garden, many of the buildings in large cities do not have a play yard where kids can be, well, you know … kids. After constructing a building with ‘x’ number of floors, the builder isn’t left with enough room to build a play pen. These buildings will, however, have large terraces, which will mostly be lying unused and vacant. It is such a waste of real estate, which can be put to better use… productive use. If only families living in large apartments would start an initiative to do community gardening on their huge, empty, sun baked terraces. What an idea; unfortunately, there are no takers.

Now, for those of us with a proclivity for gardening in an urban setting, we face a huge challenge in our endeavor to start and sustain a garden due to a lack of available space. When I moved back to my hometown, I was faced with a similar challenge. We do have a small yard; however, it was full of flower plants and fruit trees, and whatever space remained was not adequate for a small kitchen garden. Furthermore, the quality of the soil was another impediment on my way. Therefore, in order to pursue my heart’s calling, I had to look into container gardening. Although, I was initially apprehensive and doubtful about growing vegetables in containers, my experiences in the past few months have made me a huge fan of this mode of gardening. I have realized the benefits of such a set up, and would like to list them for you in this blog posting. In my next post, I will share some pictures of my harvest with you to further advance my thoughts on this matter.

Benefits of Container Gardening

Listed below are some of the benefits of container gardening, based on my experiences thus far.

  • Create your own ecosystem per container–worms, companion crops, mulch, etc.
  • Easier soil management because of the size of the containers; you can also experiment with different soil amendments per container and evaluate how that affects your yield.
  • Control pH per container as per your plant’s needs. For e.g., tomatoes prefers a soil pH of 5.5-7.5; radishes 6.0-7.0, eggplant (brinjal) 5.5-6.5. (pH for the Garden)
  • In case unwelcome guests such as pests and diseases visit your vegetable garden, you can very easily isolate and quarantine the affected plants.
  • Arrange containers to grow vertically–a major benefit if you want to grow vegetables in your apartments or flats.
  • Many vegetables need full sun to produce a decent yield. With container gardening, you can place containers where sunlight is adequate for the vegetable you are growing.
  • Likewise, many vegetables will grow in partial shade. You can place containers accordingly to take advantage of partial or dappled shade.
  • You can get artistic with container gardening; you can arrange them to augment the ambiance inside and outside of your house
  • Get creative with your gardening (14 Crazy Places to Grow Edibles)
  • You will not be stepping on any topsoil and degrading it through compaction.
  • You can create a mini greenhouse per container.
  • It is easier to protect container gardens from the elements–cover them up with a tarp or move them to the garage or the stairwell temporarily.
  • Endless options on the types of containers that can be used–glass jars, milk cans, plastic bottles, used ice cream containers, plastic buckets, plastic drums, etc… well, you get the idea.
  • You will not need a huge yard to grow a few vegetables. 

To learn more about other benefits of container gardening, your can visit the following links.

8 Advantages To Container Gardening
The Benefits of Container Gardening
Reap benefits of container gardening
10 Reasons to Try Container Gardening
Benefits and Challenges
Benefits of container gardening


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Oryza

Oryza

Oryza is a greenhorn kitchen gardener. Years ago, I used to garden; well, helped my late dad garden. Our old house had plenty of room for a kitchen garden, and we used to grow lots of vegetables throughout the year. Then we moved and life got in the way--high school, college, jobs, deadlines, year-ends; hamster wheel; rat race, peer pressure, keeping up with the Jones', etc. Then, there was an epiphany, a reawakening of the soul, and a realization that the path the human race is currently on is unsustainable. I don't want to delve into this subject further, as doing so will result in me opening a Pandora's box. Suffice it to say that I wanted to get back to growing things; reducing my footprint, if not going off-grid totally; getting dirty (no, not that kind of dirty); planting a seed, seeing it germinating, then growing, flowering, fruiting and finally going back to being dirt again. There is a certain miracle in the interplay between earth, light and water, and plants. I see that everyday and it still amazes me. My container garden is tiny, currently, and that is intentional. I want to scale up gradually. My experiment this year has been a success, and I am being a little creative in extending my garden for the next year's growing season. I am growing everything organically. I am experimenting with hügelkultur (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%BCgelkultur); bokashi composting; vermi-composting, hot composting, raised bed gardening, container gardening, etc. Along with Dev and Abu, I will be sharing my successes, failures, lessons learned with you all via this blog. I hope you enjoy my posts and find them valuable.

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