The Great Outdoors, We Green DC

5 Top Tips for Container Gardening

Photo courtesy of
’365.105: The cook’s herb garden’
courtesy of ‘WordRidden’

There are lots of things I think would be cool to do, so I just dive in without proper training. One is growing herbs on the deck. Understandably, my results have been mixed. The potted mint is going great guns, but last year the basil plant that had been visibly shooting up daily as if it inspired Jack and the Beanstalk suddenly turned black, dropped its leaves, and keeled over. No more fresh basil for me.

So when Arlington Adult Education offered a class called Growing Herbs in Containers, I signed up—mostly out of sympathy for the plants. And then I came late to class. When I walked in, instructor Dottie Jacobsen stopped her talk, greeted me, then asked, “What’s your growing situation?” Under the bright lights and many watching eyes, I came clean: “I kill plants.”

And presto! Within two short hours, I had a long list of things I’d done wrong and could easily correct. Since some of my plants did actually survive, this knowledge was inspiring. “Many of my students have gone on to be excessive container gardeners,” Jacobsen reassured us. “They say, ‘it’s a jungle out there.’” What are her tips?
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