FAMU Horticulture Extension Faculty
Gadsden County Extension
Many people who are growing flowers and vegetables in containers are practicing minigardening. This practice is common among persons living in apartments, condominiums or yard limited homes. Minigardening areas can include spots such as near the foundation of the house; along sidewalks and drives; on balconies, patios and porches. Because minigardening involves growing in contained vessels, most any outdoor space that receives adequate sunlight, even rooftops, are suitable for plant growth. Containers for minigardens can range from hanging flowerpots, planters, cans, baskets or even an old bathtub.
Red Sage Salvia planted in an old bathtub in Quincy, FL Photo Credits: Alex Bolques, Gadsden County
If you decide to grow using homemade containers, punch holes at the bottom of the container for drainage of excess water. The growth medium can be native soil, a commercially available potting mix or a soil substitute. If using a native soil, resist using a heavy soil such as clay since these typically do not drain well and can retain moisture for longer periods. Heavy soils can cause root rot problems if they do not drain well. For a list of soil substitutes please visit http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdffiles/VH/VH03200.pdf.
Monitoring your growth media for moisture is essential, especially when using a sandy mix and during hot/dry weather. Please keep in mind that the more porous the growing media, such as sand, the quicker it will dry out and leaching of nutrients can occur. Fertilizers can be drenched or top dressed. Ready mixed soluble fertilizers can be used for drenching and 1 (one) level teaspoon of dry fertilizer per square foot of soil surface for top dressing. Follow the fertilizer label directions for best results.