Choose Safe Containers for Growing Food

Do you want to grow food in safe container gardens? Whilst not wanting to dampen your enthusiasm for using repurposed planters, I encourage you to do your due diligence when choosing that perfect container.

Choose Safe Containers for Growing Food Gardens

The majority of pre-loved or second-hand goods may well be safe to use. However, before you reuse a container for planting in, there are some considerations, other than whether it can hold some dirt and leafy greens!

 

My philosophy is “to err on the side of caution – it’s better to be safe than sorry!”

 

Tips to Help you Choose Safe Containers for Growing Food

  • Check the Skin it’s In!  What is the container is made of? If you can, find out what material the container or item is made from (especially on the surface). Can you find out more from the manufacturer? Is the surface porous? Some materials such as terracotta or unfired clay are extremely porous. They can absorb and leach water-soluble chemicals through the surface into the soil.  (more…)

Gardens for Kids

Gardens help children connect with nature, their environment and most importantly, the source of their food.  Gardens are places for kids to learn new skills, build their confidence, have fun, learn to take care of plants and build respect for their environment as well as improve their health.

 

“In an age of instant gratification, a garden is one of the few places children can learn patience and delayed gratification by watching and waiting for rewards.” – Anne Gibson

One of my passions is showing children how to grow their own food and have fun gardening.

 

Prep year students planning out their new sensory garden

Having fun as the Veggie Doctor with Prep year students planning out their new sensory garden

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Choosing a Pot Plant Container – The Pros and Cons

All Pots Aren’t Created Equal!

Looking at micro gardening in a container?  If you are confused about what kind of pot or planter to choose, you’re not alone!  There are the good, the bad and the ugly out there. I’ve done the research for you and created a Comparison Chart to help you make the best decision on which is the best pot or container for you. Dig in!

 

A few points to consider:

  • Financial Cost: There are lots of options on the market if you are looking to buy – from cheap and cheerful to decorative and expensive.

  • Product Life: Think about the longevity of the pot you require. Is it for a short term project? If so, looks may not be important. Or is it something you’re prepared to invest in, as a design feature?  Extended durability can mean less consumption of resources.
  • Environmental Impact: Some planter materials and construction processes drain our natural resources. Others have a smaller environmental footprint using less resources. Processes used in manufacture and transport often require significant use of fossil fuels. As a ‘conscious consumer,’ is this important to you? If so, consider making your own pots where possible. Choose pots made from sustainable materials or reuse containers creatively to grow your plants.

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Three Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Plant Pots

Faced with a sea of choices, if you select the wrong pot, you can waste money, time and even damage your plants. There are three main features to consider when choosing containers.

1. Drainage 2. Porosity 3. Weight. These and other important factors, can help you avoid making costly mistakes like waterlogged or dry soil that kills your plants or broken pots in windy spots.

3 Key Factors to Consider when Choosing Plant Pots to Buy

Do your homework first before buying pots or repurposing items for your plants

It may save you a lot of heartache later, by taking into consideration how porous and heavy a pot is, as well as its drainage characteristics.

Three Key Factors to Consider When Choosing Plant Pots

1. Drainage

Whichever container you select, it must have adequate drainage holes.  Healthy plants not only need room to grow, but also adequate oxygen for the roots.  Excess water must be able to escape or plants will drown. If your potting mix smells sour, this could be the problem!

2. Porosity

Porous containers such as those made from unglazed terracotta or clay, timber, paper pulp and other natural materials allow moisture and air to move through them.

What are the benefits of materials that ‘breathe’?

  • They allow air to circulate around plant roots.
  • As the moisture evaporates out the side of the pot, it cools the soil and helps draw excess water, preventing root rot.

What are the disadvantages?

  • These containers dry out more quickly (especially in full sun) and so does the potting mix.
  • This can lead to plant stress or death if not watered regularly.
  • These pots need watering more frequently than non-porous materials like ceramic and plastic.

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Tips for Growing a Garden in Pots

Low-Cost Creative Ideas for Container Gardens

Looking for some inspirational ways to give your small space or garden a facelift?  I’ve put together some thrifty and creative ideas to get the most out of growing a garden in pots.

New ways with old pots

Got an odd assortment of containers of all colours, shapes and sizes or black plastic pots and want a more harmonious look for grouping them all together? Try these ideas:

  1. A couple of coats with water based non-toxic acrylic paint to coordinate the colours.
  2. Wrap them in hessian bags for an earthy look (hold in place with wire and tie at the top with rope or plaited string).
  3. Hide them inside another container or cachepot.

    Painting old pots is a low cost way to give them a new life

    Try revamping old pots with a quick coat of paint for a colourful facelift.

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