Best Practices for Container Gardening During a Drought
Those of us who garden have seen the effects of the lack of rain, and enjoying our gardens is going to take more work. Longtime Californians have already experienced this kind of shortage and we know the drill. You turn on your shower in the morning, you grab a handy bucket kept nearby to catch those first 60 seconds of cold water you wouldn’t dare step foot in. Later, you carry that bucket outdoors and hand-water your beds, borders and trees, or maybe just one bed depending on the size and fullness of your bucket. This becomes a daily tradition.
If this seems far-fetched, consider that the politicos and water managers have finally weighed in and declared that we are actually in a drought. Not just a minor water shortage, but a state of extreme drought. Now we are not just encouraged, but, in some areas mandated to reduce water usage immediately.
One solution to having handsome specimen plants to adorn our outdoor living spaces is to plant them in containers. Planters are small, “contained” gardens after all. Everything from our favorite tropical plants like cannas and palms to flowering and fruiting trees and shrubs like citrus and even camellias can be grown in containers. When planting in a pot you can tailor the soil mix to maximize water absorption and retention and closely monitor just how much water is needed and used.
While I still encourage you to keep that bucket handy in the bathroom, you have other options with containers, such as low-flow and efficient drip irrigation systems. Take this opportunity to embrace the world of container gardening and do your part to conserve our most precious resource, water. And check back here for lots of specific tips on growing your favorites from ornamentals to herbs and vegetables, even a mini water garden. Also, look for future posts that will teach you how to choose the right container for your needs and tailor the soil for the plants you want to grow.