If you have little space, poor soil, or are surrounded by cement and blacktop, you can still have a thriving youth garden project -- in containers. Even the smallest outdoor nook can feature a thriving crop of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in containers. And because plants in containers depend, in large part, on the gardener to meet their needs, they can inspire a variety of student-designed growing investigations.
We've compiled years of container gardening experience from kidsgardening.org and garden.org to create a comprehensive guide, complete with lessons for students, to prepare your class for exploring this handy and creative horticultural technique.
Why Garden in Containers?
A container garden can be as simple as a few pots of herbs in a window box or as elaborate as an array of large, outdoor tubs with plants that rotate seasonally. All you need is a container with drainage holes, potting soil, and plants. Benefits of container gardening include:
Maximizing your space. You can take advantage of small areas like sunny window ledges and courtyards.
Testing the waters. You may want to make sure gardening will work well with your audience before committing lots of resources.
Portability. If you're faced with challenges -- vandalism and theft, or upcoming construction that will displace your plots -- you can design container gardens that are easy to move on a daily or seasonal basis.
Soil control. By using containers, you can be certain about the safety of your growing media and enjoy eating your harvest. This is a concern where soil may be contaminated with lead or other industrial pollutants.
Blacktop greening. Perhaps you are in an area void of soil and green space. You can place containers on concrete or cement surfaces.
The following articles form our guide to container gardening, preparing you and your students to pursue the pleasures of potted plants!