If you are not practicing your favorite hobby due to lack of space, you can always consider container gardening wherein you can grow your favorite herbs and vegetables on a window sill, patio, balcony or doorstep. You can consider options like carrot, radish, lettuce and plants which take up less space. Alternatively you can also consider plants which bear fruit over a period of time like tomatoes and peppers. Herbs are a great choice for indoor gardening. Most of the herbs are less demanding than vegetable plants, and you will obviously love to be able to snip off a few sprigs of fresh parsley or chop some chives from the window sill herb garden. Container gardening helps in making internal spaces and dull patios and kitchen windows look more attractive and green.
To evaluate which plant you can grow, first consider the amount of light the designated place receives. While root plants and leafy crops can tolerate partial shade, plants which produce fruits or vegetables need at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. In case the designated area does not receive proper light, you can look at artificially sprucing the light conditions.
Several other factors which you should consider while grow hydroponic gardening in containers:
You will come across several options when you start looking for containers; clay, wood and metal being some of the plausible options. Size of containers should be carefully selected so that they are big enough to contain the plant when it fully blooms and have a proper drainage. Don’t use containers made of material which is toxic to the plants. Some of the prevalent options are barrels, cut off milk and bleach jugs, window boxes, clothes baskets lined with plastic (with drainage holes punched in it), even pieces of drainage pipe or cement block. Other safe alternatives are wood treated with waterborne compounds, alkaline copper quat (ACQ) and cooper azole (CBA), which are sold under trade names such as Preserve, NatureWood, or Natural Select.
A light weight mix should be considered for container gardening. Do not use a mix straight out of your garden as it might contain too much of clay. Too much of clay will make the soil less porous and make it wet by holding moisture. You should ensure that the medium is not only porous but also has a high percentage of organic content which improves the water holding capacity of the medium. Packaged potting soil available at local garden centers may make a good container medium, but be sure that it is not too high in organic material. It should contain 30% or more perlite or coarse matter or average.
Special attention needs to be paid while watering plants. The soil amount is less and if your container faces direct sunlight there are chances that it might dry out frequently. Always apply water till you see it draining out of the drainage holes.
If your soil mix already had premixed fertilizer, then you don’t need to add anything for next 8 to 10 weeks. Occasionally a dose of fish emulsion or compost will add trace elements to the soil. Do not add more than the recommended rate of any fertilizer since this may cause fertilizer burn and kill the plants.