Backyard Gardening: Good for the Whole Family

 

Anyone can have a garden, no matter how busy or how small your yard. How can someone with very little, or no, yard have a garden? Containers! Container gardening is extremely versatile and takes up as much– or as little– space as you want. This means containers can be used with a very small yard, or with no yard at all.

Almost anything can be used as a container for plants. If it will hold soil, and you can drill or punch a hole in it, it can be used. Holes are needed for drainage. When containers do not let water drain, it can cause problems for root formation and health.

When gardening in containers, the important thing to consider is size. Different plants need different sizes of containers because of their individual root systems. Below are some common container plants and corresponding pot sizes. Keep in mind that in Oklahoma, we have an extremely hot and dry climate during growing season. Full-sun might mean morning sun, afternoon shade to keep plants from completely burning in our brutal heat. I grow my herbs that way with success. The Oklahoma summer is just too harsh for the delicate leaves of herbs.  Also with full-sun plants, water evaporates much more quickly from containers than from gardens in the ground.  It is important to keep an eye on the moisture in the container and water when needed- which might be more than one time a day, especially during the later summer months.  Same goes for nutrients in the soil.  Soil nutrients are more quickly depleted from a container. For more information on soil fertility, contact your Cooperative Extension office.

  • Tomatoes need at least 5 gallons of soil
  • Okra needs a 5 gallon container
  • Lettuce needs a 3 gallon container
  • Peppers need 3 gallons of soil
  • Herbs typically need 1 gallon per plant

This is a GREAT way to teach your children about food and where it comes from. There are so many kids who grow up in urban areas and think that all food comes from the grocery store. Some experts are now saying that this disconnect from food production is contributing to unhealthy eating habits in our youngsters. Gardening with kids can be a fun activity to bring the whole family together, while learning about the science of plants. It gets everyone outside, and kids are more likely to try the vegetables they helped to grow!

 

 

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