By Catherine Winter
Just about any space can be transformed into a garden. This includes a patio, balcony, a sunny front step, or even a windowsill. When creating gardens in small spaces, your best bet is to pack as much as you can into a single container. This means using dwarf/miniature varieties, and companion planting with compatible species.
Remember that when planting in containers, you have to work perlite or coarse sand into your soil for drainage. Otherwise the soil can compact, and your plants won’t thrive.
Let’s take a look at a few fun themed container gardens that you can create this year.
1. Pizza/Pasta Garden
If you love Italian food, consider planting these together in a large container:
- Cherry or grape tomatoes
- Sweet pepper
- Green onions or chives
- Pistou basil
Put the tomato plant in the centre, with a supportive cage. Then, plant sweet pepper, onion/chives, and spinach at 10, 2, and 6 around it. Fill in the spaces between with pistou basil, oregano, and arugula.
2. Soup Garden
These are some of the essential ingredients that you can use for soup. Onion, and celery form two parts of the mirepoix that’s used as a base for many recipes—carrot is part of that as well, but it’s best to plant those separately. The beans and squash help to make every pot a full meal.
Plant beans and squash at the back of a large square planter, and offer both a trellis to climb on. Leeks and onions go at the front of the container, well away from the beans, with the celery, kale, and herbs in the centre.
- Leeks or green onions
- Tuscan kale
- Climbing beans
- Dwarf squash (like pattypan)
- Summer savory
3. Salad Lover
If you adore salads, pack a large round planter full of these beautiful vegetables and herbs. Plant the tomatoes in the centre, with a cage to support them. Cucumber and radish plants can go on opposite sides, and the rest of the plants get interspersed.
- Mixed salad greens
- Cherry tomatoes
4. Tomato Fiend
When you love tomatoes, you just can’t get enough of them. We get it!
Take a large square container and place it up against a sunny exterior wall. Attach a trellis to that wall, and plant a climbing tomato variety at the back of the planter. Place your grape and currant tomatoes in the centre, the basil and oregano in between and around them, and the nasturtiums in the front, to cascade downwards.
- Grape Tomatoes
- Currant Tomatoes
- Climbing Tomatoes
- Globe basil
5. Herbal Tea
If you’d rather skip the veg and go for herbal teas instead, you can get creative. Choose a planter that makes you smile every time you look at it. Place your bergamot and anise hyssop in the centre—because they’re the tallest—and then fill the rest of the space with the other plants.
- Lemon Balm
- Bergamot (any Monarda species)
- Anise hyssop