The left corner of my desk is a popular spot these days. See, its gardening season, and as a former nursery owner and landscape designer, and currently a Master Gardener, I’m the go-to office guru for all things horticultural, botanical, and outdoor mechanical.That translates daily to someone perching on my desk or sending an email, usually accompanied by a hand-drawn sketch, asking for advice or just general hand-holding. Even after all these years, I am the first to admit that gardening can be overwhelming to the point of paralysis but, as with most DIY projects, let me clue you in on a little fact—it’s more about having the right tools than being a savant.
So, I thought it might be useful to answer a few questions and share a few products that can help make gardening a chore you adore.
- Can I grow tomatoes in a pot?
Answer, yes, as long as it is one big ol’ pot.The root ball on a mature tomato plant can easily fill a 15-gallon nursery container so watchword here is go big or go home. Please, yes, I am pleading, invest in a 20” or larger pot. Your plants will thrive and healthy plants are less inclined to be pest-magnets.
- How often do I feed my potted plants?
Entire books have been written on this topic, but as a general rule feed when you plant, after the first blooms or fruits, and once more just to use up what’s left in the bag of fertilizer. The first feeding helps set roots and inspires shoots, while the second nourishes plants that have doubled-down in their effort to put out flowers and fruit. That third feeding is more about greening up tired plants and it just makes everyone feel better. Cultivate soil (just scratch the surface with a trowel to loosen compacted planting mix) and feed according to product directions.
- I have an ugly wall. Now what?
It would seem urban blight isn’t contained to cities because my co-workers have flashed me pictures of generic fences, scary looking concrete walls, and prison-worthy wire fences out in the ‘burbs. My best advice goes like this, “vines are divine” and adding a sturdy trellis gets you halfway to heaven. Look for vines that, by habit, cling or sucker to surfaces, thereby doing most of the work for you. If you are more adventurous, try a vertical garden like this one.
- I want a no-work, no-hassle garden.
I’ll just wave my magic wand over your patch of dirt and shazaam! If only, right? My advice here is to create a small but glorious little patch where you are most likely to see it daily. A few flowering shrubs, a pretty fountain, and a few cooking herbs tucked in pots is all you need. Now you can get on with the rest of your busy life.
Even though you can’t come sit desk side and whip out your iPhone to regale me with your landscaping horror pix, I’m here to help. Any questions?