It’s June and I’m just getting around to planting my window boxes and pots.
That’s only 3 weeks late. The weather has been SO cold this spring.
Here’s a couple of quick tips I use when planting:
When a terracotta pot breaks, I save the broken pieces. No, I’m not being overly sentimental. It’s because they are useful. I always place a few pieces of broken terracotta over the drainage hole of my pots. Place them so they allow drainage and cover the hole at the bottom of the pot. This aids drainage, keeps the dirt from running out of the pot when watering and takes up a bit of space that I don’t need to fill with expensive potting soil.
I know, I know. I don’t have a baby. So why do I have diapers?
They are for my window boxes of course. As I know from the days when I did have babies, diapers can hold A LOT of liquid. That makes them the perfect thing to put at the bottom of my window boxes. Whenever I water, they fill right up and hold the water, rather than having it all drain out the bottom of my planters. This keeps my plants from drying out in between watering. This is very good thing, since they are South facing window boxes in the hot sun.
My favorite tip for planting my pots came from reading P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home and from watching his show on PBS.
His formula for choosing plants is to pick a tall and spiky plant in the center, surrounded by round and full plants, and a cascade around the edge. I’ve used this formula for a long time and I’m always happy with how my pots turn out.
The pot in the photo could not be simpler. I’ve used Dracaena in the center, seed Geraniums and double Petunias for the round and full and Lobelia for the cascade. All of the plants were chosen, not only for color, but because they were economical.
One last dirty trick… that I shouldn’t admit to… is that I reuse potting soil from my containers. It gets darn expensive to fill my pots every year. So some years, especially when money is tight, I empty the old soil into a my wheel barrow and mix it about half and half with new potting soil. To be on the safe side, you can pour boiling water over the old soil before mixing it, to remove any potential fungus that might be lurking in the soil. I’ve never had any noticeable ill effects on my plants even though I am breaking a cardinal rule of container gardening. It might be that here in Utah, were the air is so arid, the soil is less likely to develop contamination… I don’t know. But until I have a problem, I’ll go on breaking the rules.
Now I better get out and finish up my planting!