[:en]Container gardening, which involves growing herbs and vegetables in pots and other containers, is a great option for first time gardeners. Container gardening is also a good solution for those with small outdoor spaces who would like to grow vegetables and herbs but don’t have room for a full-fledged garden in the backyard. Plus, container gardens are typically easier and less maintenance than other gardens. Here are a few tips for getting started with your own container garden:

Choose Your Pots

The pots you choose should be large enough to account for roots and plenty of growth. Generally it’s better to err on the side of too-big pots than to cram plants into small pots they will grow out of quickly. Garden centers and home improvement stores offer planters, containers, and pots in a variety of colors and styles so you will be able to choose containers that complement your decorating style and help add beauty to your patio or other outdoor space.

You want to find pots with good drainage on the bottom so your plants don’t become waterlogged. Place a handful of gravel or stones on the bottom of your pots to prevent all of the water from running out while still allowing adequate drainage.

Buy Good Soil

High quality, nutrient-filled soil will help ensure that your plants thrive. It’s a good idea to ask your local garden center for soil recommendations, because soil needs can vary greatly depending on what you wish to plant and the region you live in. Generally, vegetables do best in rich, well-balanced soil and herbs like soil that is a little less rich and more sandy. You can give your plants an added boost by adding a bit of organic fertilizer (like fish emulsion) to the soil when you do your planting, and then continuing to add a bit more very few weeks or so.

Find Sunny Spots

Pay attention to how much sun your patio, porch, or other outdoor area gets and aim for spots with plenty of direct sunlight.

Start with Herbs

Herbs are easy to grow, don’t take up a ton of space, and will enhance your cooking for months to come. If this is your first time gardening, you may want to stick to herbs this season and then branch out to veggies next year.

Choose Some Veggies

If you decide to plant veggies, stick to plants that don’t need a ton of space to stretch out. Tomatoes can be grown in containers as long as you use trellises or stakes so they can grow upward. Peppers and salad greens are other good options. Generally squash plants, including butternut squash and zucchini, need too much space to do well in containers.

Look Up Details and Take Notes

Your plants or seeds will come with directions regarding how often to water them and how much direct sunlight they need. You can place tags with this information into each pot, or make noted in a notebook. Be sure to clearly label each pot instead of relying on your memory to keep track of what is planted where.

Soon your patio or balcony will be filled with beautiful greenery and you will have tons of fresh herbs and veggies to make tasty summer dinners with.[:]