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Whether you have a planter box on your apartment deck, a pot or hanging basket in your front or back yard sunny location, growing in containers is fun and easy. A small yard doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden, and containers are a perfect way to grow vegetables, flowers and herbs. I encourage you to give it a try.

The Alaskan urban gardener can take advantage of the convenience of containers that can be moved inside if a danger of frost at night is predicted. Especially helpful are the plant rollers that can be purchased and placed under your pots to move your plants easily. It would be nice to have about five of these at least!

One of the most important considerations to container gardening is the quality of soil and proper drainage. A good potting soil is preferred in containers. Regular outside soil is too dense for containers. Our local businesses carry a good supply of nice potting soils.

Practically any container can be used as long as there are plenty of drainage holes. I have seen numerous examples of creative container gardening to include boots, shoes, wooden boxes, closet shoe storage bags, old tires, PVC pipe with planting holes, old watering cans and many other repurposed items. Traditionally, clay, plastic and ceramic pots are used as containers for the most part. I marvel at the creativity of these unusual pots and that flowers and plants can actually grow in them.

Disinfect your pots before use with hot soapy water and a small amount of bleach. Allow the pots to air dry.

When planting in containers, there are special varieties of plants that you can buy that will work better than others. The nurseries and greenhouses can give you examples of these. Seed companies are selling special varieties of tomatoes especially for containers and I am trying some this summer.

There are advantages to container gardening such as less soil preparation and fewer weeds. You can also move your plants around to take advantage of shade or sun. The convenience of having herbs, veggies and salad makings at your fingertips on the deck to grab for cooking is definitely a plus.

Container gardens require regular feeding with a water soluble organic fertilizer to continue to grow well. Follow directions carefully on the products and you should definitely not overdo it. A fertilizer higher in nitrogen for green leafy plants and vegetables and a fertilizer higher in phosphorous for flowering fruits and vegetables is helpful to promote optimal growth. The three numbers that are listed…