Short on land? Try container gardening |

Short on land? Try container gardening

Create your own garden using pots, pails, even cowboy boots

With all the apartments, condominiums and duplexes in the valley, having a yard big enough for a garden can be a challenge, but you don’t need a lot of space, just soil to do container gardening.

Container gardening is just like it sounds. Use containers that are appropriate for what you are trying to grow based on the plant’s root systems. The longer the roots, the deeper the container. Tomatoes and potatoes work well in longer, cylindrical-shaped pots. But containers can come in all shapes and sizes.  

Take pallets for example. “The pallets are a way to actually get a more sizeable garden onto a deck or a patio or your yard and it’s free,” said Patricia Esperon, greenhouse and garden manager for the Vail Valley Salvation Army’s Bare Roots project. Esperon suggests getting an untreated pallet, one that has not been chemically treated or painted, so there are no chemicals going into your food.

To help hold the dirt in place, take an old sheet or landscape fabric and cut it to fit into the pallet and use a staple gun to keep the sheet in place. At the ends, pull the sheets up and staple them to the top of the pallet and then nail wooden pieces at the ends to completely enclose the pallet.

“Plants with a shallow roots system will do well in a pallet and it’s a really good way to contain something that’s invasive. Maybe you love mint, horseradish or chives, this is a way to contain those invasive plants and they won’t take over your whole garden,” Esperon said.

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Recycle something that’s already been used as your container. Wooden wine boxes make great planters, just drill holes in the bottom for drainage, add dirt and plants with shallow root systems and you have a Pinterest-worthy planter.

“Most people will plant tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, kale and herbs. You might have to cover the container with a sheet if it gets cold, but that is the beauty of the container, you can bring it inside,” Esperon said.

Esperon says there’s a scientific benefit to gardening as well. “There are microorganisms in the soil that release serotonin in the brain like an antidepressant, so there is actually a scientific benefit and a health benefit.”

“There’s actually a whole field and a whole movement towards incorporating plants into mental health and into socialization and recreation,” added Esperon. 

Watch today’s video to see how Esperon even recycles an old, worn out cowboy boot into her container gardening efforts. For more information, Esperon invites you to visit her at the gardens behind the Vail Valley Salvation Army office in Avon. “Stop by with your questions! I’m here and would love to help people get gardening no matter if they have a yard or not.”

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