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08 February . 2016

Useful Gardening Tips for Small Spaces

There are many versatile ways to enhance a yard or garden without needing a large space. Here are some tips and tricks from Pacific Northwest gardeners that can transform your home.

Break out of the norm. Get creative with your planters and try something different than standard pottery containers. These ideas are aesthetically pleasing and are a fun conversation piece.
•    Wine barrels are a beautiful accent to any yard and can hold a variety of plants.
•    Children’s rain galoshes add a bit of color and playfulness to any yard or back porch.
•    Mason jars can be a useful indoor herb garden or save space when hung outside.  
•    Your favorite old mug can be a great way to display indoor succulents.
•    Wooden box crates hold a variety of lettuces. Break out of the norm and grow a variety for a splash of color.
•    Glass milk jars bring back a hint of nostalgia. Try making a terrarium or growing herbs.
•    Small feeding troughs bring a country chic feel to your porch. Try mixing and matching annuals with colored cabbages and herbs for a useful and beautiful arrangement.
Ensure to check with your HOA about container rules and regulations.

Gardening can bring entertainment. The following flowers have been known to attract American goldfinches, chickadees, and finches to your back porch: sunflowers, purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, asters, cosmos, zinnias, coreopsis, marigolds and poppies. According to famed Northwest Gardener, Ciscoe Morris, humming birds love fuchsias, snapdragons, geraniums, cosmos, lupines, daylilies, bearded iris, quince, azaleas.

Planting herbs can add fragrance and brighten your surroundings. Herbs are low maintenance, take minimal space and can be used in many different cooking recipes.  
•    Try these herbs to fill your home with a delicious aroma: lemon balm, thyme, basil, mint and rosemary.
•    Mix it up with some color. Many flowers, such as pansies, nasturtiums and marigolds can be edible.
•    Sage, rosemary and lavender will bring you enjoyment year round.  

Repotting your plants can be expensive. Save some money by refreshing your container garden potting mix. According to the Washington State University Master Gardner Association with only a few simple steps you can have a beautiful garden with half the price.
1.    Remove all the dead roots and stems from your previous year’s plants.
2.    Use a trowel to break apart any residual roots and loosen the mix to about 8 inches. It’s not a bad idea to add some controlled-release fertilizer into the top 8 inches as well.
3.    Add some new potting mix if the level of soil in the pot is low.
4.    When starting a new container to invest in a quality potting mix, preferably one with peat moss, or coconut coir, perlite or pumice, earthworm castings and some compost.
5.    Here’s a fun tip. Place an old sponge at the bottom of a planter before adding soil to keep water in reserve.


Fertilizer Tip: WSU Master Gardner Association recommends controlled-release or “time-release” fertilizers for use in containers as they have the convenience of not needing to reapply them as frequently during the season. Look for one that is a balanced fertilizer, one that contains nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Follow the recommendation on the label for the amount to apply to a particular size pot.