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Fool-Proof Tips for Container Gardening

Fool-Proof Tips for Container Gardening

Avis Licht is a landscape gardener, educator, and author of the wonderful book, The Spring Garden Made Easy. Her passion is to create beautiful gardens that incorporate edibles that can be harvested year round. In a recent interview with her I asked her to talk about container gardening as an alternative for gardeners with decks, small gardens, or special climate conditions.

Avis: For garden lovers who don’t have the luxury of their own gardens, containers are a simple and easy solution. However, there are a few tips for helping you grow your plants more successfully.

People don’t realize how fast pots dry out and how hard it is to get them moist again. Once soil has dried out, if you water the pot with a hose, it just runs on through.

Keeping your soil moist is a trick that requires some practice. Using drip irrigation in your pots, for 3 or 4 minutes 2 or 3 times a day often works. If you don’t have your pots on an irrigation system try these self-watering planters. They really work!

1. Make sure there’s enough room in the container for root growth of your plants. Here are some suggestions for what plants to grow in different size pots:

  • 6″ depth is the minimum – chives, lettuce, radishes, other salad greens, basil, coriander, Asian greens, mint, thyme
  • 12″  for larger veggies – pole beans, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach, parsley, rosemary, beets, broccoli, okra, potatoes, sweet corn, summer squash, dill, lemongrass, bush beans, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, peas
  • 18″ – 24″ for miniature trees like lemons or limes

2. Use the right soil mix. For self-watering planters I suggest you use the organic mix from Gardener’s Supply formulated just for that. You’ll need to add nutrition in the form of compost, aged manure, blood meal and other organic fertilizers. The plants rely on you 100% for their nutrition. Be sure to feed them. Read up on what your plants need and add it to the potting soil. Using foliar feeding or a liquid fertilizer like seaweed solution works well. Don’t just put soil from the garden into your pots. It will be too heavy and dry out easily.

Self-Watering Containers

3. Place the planters where they will get the best light and be protected from wind or blasting hot sun. Gardener’s Supply even has self-watering planters that have castors on them so you can move them around to catch the changing light and heat conditions.

Learn more about  Avis Licht:

Avis Licht has been teaching and installing beautiful edible landscapes in California since 1978. She is the co-founder of Commonweal Garden in Bolinas, California, an organic farm and permaculture teaching garden, and holds a B.S. in Conservation of Natural Resources from U.C. Berkeley. She was co-author of the Feasibility Study for the Organic Farm and Garden of the College of Marin, which is now a major teaching center. She lives in Marin County and has designed hundreds of beautiful edible landscapes. After 35 years of gardening and designing gardens, she now shares her experiences in her own delightful and informative blog.

Follow Avis’s Blog: Edible Landscaping Made Easy

Avis’s acclaimed new book, The Spring Garden Made Easy, covers all aspects of starting a vegetable garden  a wonderful read filled with valuable gems for any garden lover!

Preparing for Your Fall Garden
Indoor & Outdoor Edible Gardens
Feng Shui for an Inviting Garden

Read more: Eco-friendly tips, Green, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, , , , ,

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Erica Sofrina

Erica Sofrina is an Internationally recognized Speaker and Teacher and Author of the book Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World. She is also a life coach and motivational speaker and is the founder of the West Coast Academy of Feng Shui. She has run a successful business as a Professional Organizer, Interior Designer and Certified Feng Shui Consultant for over a decade and resides on the charming coastal town of Half Moon Bay in Northern California. Find out more at

Go to the Source

Small Changes, Dynamic Results! Feng Shui for the Western World

By Erica Sofrina A Simple Guide to Feng Shui for our Western Lifestylesbuy now


+ add your own
6:12AM PDT on May 6, 2014

Thanks for the share!

7:18AM PDT on Aug 23, 2013

Thank you Erica, for Sharing this!

3:24AM PDT on Jul 22, 2013


10:55AM PDT on Jul 18, 2013

I need to dig my movable planter out and get movin on it.

7:15PM PDT on Jul 13, 2013


12:15PM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

Thank you for the excellent tips.

7:46AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

good reminders

6:59AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013


6:44AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013


3:17AM PDT on Jul 11, 2013

On behalf of the many, many European and other non-American members, may I ask you to PLEASE include metric measurements, too?
It would really make many of the articles much more useful for many more people.

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