02 October, 2008

Tools And Supplies for Gardening in Containers


Swiss Army Knife (no, I don’t get a kickback)
Sharp pencil (eraser optional)
Sharpie is helpful
Grape shears, pruners or sturdy scissors
Something to water with; nozzle on hose or watering can
Something to dig with; trowel or small spade
Measuring devices,
Clothes and a surface you don’t mind getting soiled
Firm brush – even a wire brush works most of the time
A sharp knife
Poacher’s spade
A basket, sack or bucket to hold your tools in one spot


Something to put the plant in – a pot of some kind
A good potting soil
Plants and/or seeds

Types and Qualities of Pots

- Qualities
Concrete - HEAVY, but, if you pour your own, can be shaped a variety of ways and colored to suit the job
Fiber - There are a host of new products being pushed as ‘green’ alternatives to Plastic – most of these have spotty records, if they have a record at all – the solution we need to look for isn’t more throw-away crap, it’s in more substantial and enduring containers along with a new aesthetic that values older and less than pristine solutions.
Fiberglass - Lightweight in a variety of shapes – often to imitate pots of yesteryear
Galvanized - Lightweight, attractive, poor insulation, makes a good outer pot with the real pot inside
Glazed pottery - All the pluses of terra cotta but with a wide range of colors. It does lack permeability so does not breathe, but other than that, it’s terra cotta dressed for a date.
Lead - Older, often unavailable now days, heavy, and useful only in certain decorating schemes – expensive when you can find them – reproductions usually mimic the older styles, and aren’t appreciably less expensive.
Paper pulp - A short lived solution – not practical for the long haul, but they are lightweight and useful for one to two years. A good, inexpensive, temporary work around if that’s what you need.
Plastic - Lightweight, attractive/ugly colors, poor insulation, some of the cheap ones are extremely short-lived and another petroleum product we tend to overuse; sometimes, however, it is the only solution…
Stone - Heavy, expensive and not very practical, but boy, what a statement!
Terra cotta - Attractive, wide variety of styles and quality, insulates well, easily broken, larger pots are mercilessly heavy; terra cotta breathes and will eventually gain a delightful patina – some of the Vietnamese pottery on the market today discolors with charm
Wire frames - Lined with moss or other permeable material – they drain so very fast; in our climate they are difficult to keep wet enough to look good. Combined with a drip/mist system, they can be very attractive, but hardly worth the effort in most situations
Wood - Attractive until rotted and will rot sooner rather than later – short term and versatile. Decent insulation qualities. Not too heavy.

Anything can serve as a pot if it can provide drainage.

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