Summer is the glorious time when plants bud and bloom into life. I love to plant my own vegetables and flowers and watch them grow. Thankfully for you, it’s not too late in the summer to plant your own container garden!
Container gardens are a great way to try your hand at gardening without digging up your backyard. They’re also a great way to help your family save money! Growing your own vegetables cuts down trips to the grocery store, and making your own bouquets of flowers for family and friends is an economical and heartfelt way to show people you care about them. An added bonus is that any vegetables or fruits you grow will not be affected by any pesticides, which are often used by big farms that provide produce to grocery stores.
Container gardens are also a great way for you to give back to the earth. By planting a container garden you will be providing food for pollinators, like honeybees and butterflies. In return for giving them sources of nourishment, these insects help your plants blossom! Plants also produce oxygen through photosynthesis, which results in cleaner air. Do your part to help the environment by making a container garden!
Here are some tips for starting your own container garden!
1. Pick a container that has multiple holes at the bottom. While you may think it’s a good idea to water your plant a lot, plants can actually drown and die from over-watering. By choosing containers that have lots of drainage holes, you are ensuring that your plant has the ability to take in just the amount of water it needs. Set the container up on thin blocks of wood for better drainage or buy a container with a matching tray to catch the water.
2. Ask your parents to take you to a gardening center and ask an employee there to help you select plants and appropriately-sized containers for them. Be specific – do you want to grow vegetables, or do you want to attract butterflies and honeybees with a fragrant flower garden? The employees there will be able to steer you in the right direction. There are also some posts on New Moon Girls Online that will help you get started, like this guide to growing vegetables by Ellen, 14; and this simple guide to gardening by Gracie, 11.
3. Get potting soil with fertilizer mixed right in – plants need water, but they also need food! Ask your parents or a gardening center employee for advice on the best potting soil mix for what you’re trying to grow, and ask for one with fertilizer mixed right in to save yourself the work of adding separate fertilizer to the soil. To prevent the soil from leaking out the drainage holes on your containers, line the bottom of your containers with coffee filters.
4. Be careful when you are repotting your plants. Carefully squeeze them out of the plastic containers they came in and use your fingers to gently break up the roots of the plant, also known as the root ball. When you are repotting them in their new containers, be sure to keep the level of the soil the same it was when you got it – don’t cover up more of the plant’s stem than was previously covered up!
5. Once you’ve repotted your plants, give them a good long drink of water and make sure the pot is draining correctly. After the initial watering, follow this rule of thumb to know when your plants need a drink: stick your pointer finger down into the soil until the second knuckle. If your fingertip feels dry, add water until the soil is damp.
6. Place your containers in a spot where they’ll get enough sun to grow healthy and tall! Once your plants blossom and/or grow fruit, be sure to upload your pictures to the Moon Glow Gallery on New Moon Girls Online to share with other girls and encourage them to do their part to help the environment by creating a container garden!
If you decide to grow vegetables, be sure to head to the NewMoon.com recipe section for yummy creations you can make with your own produce. Check out this recipe for Cowgirl Caviar from Guinevere, 16 – it’s perfect if you’re growing tomatoes, green onions, and cilantro!
New Moon Girls Multimedia Intern