What happens when your garden literally is blown away by a tornado? This happened to my friend Tiffany three years ago. Since then, her family has seen a lot of changes. The few plants that were salvaged from beneath the uprooted trees and debris traveled across the state for a few seasons, because some gardening friends lived there to tend to the displaced plants.
A new house was eventually built on the site, and it looked like the plants could finally be put into their forever homes! But as Tiffany attempted to move some new soil off of a trailer, a serious injury disabled her. After a few friends pitched in to replant many of her new or salvaged horticultural treasures, her husband got a job in another state. The plants moved again!
Only recently have they finally been able to purchase and move into a home where the collection of pots can be emptied of their precious cargo into more or less permanent places.
Tiffany has not been idle in her gardening endeavors in the meantime. Photos of her pots show such lush, vigorous growth that it’s hard to see the pots underneath! While her leg healed, she took the opportunity to learn even more about container gardening. Here are some pointers.
- Big pots. If you think the plant needs a gallon container, use a two-gallon container. Roots grow fast! More soil mass makes for better moisture retention, and that’s the number one issue in container gardening.
- Whether or not the plant normally likes full sunlight, do not try to grow any container in the brightest of sunlight all day long. Full sun equals heat, and heat causes excessive drying.
- Give the plants a moisture reservoir. (Are you seeing a pattern here about the importance of moisture? Good.) You can line a nursery pot with a plastic bag up to two or three inches from the bottom. If you are using the kind where you are supposed to punch out the holes in the bottom, don’t. Instead, drill holes about two or three inches up from the bottom. This will cause water to collect at the bottom of the pot, which will then wick up through the potting medium as the surface dries out.
- Use good soil. You won’t necessarily want lots of fertilizer in a small pot, but you do need to use a good potting mix. Many commercially prepared mixes are available that have – you guessed it – a component that will retain moisture. If you mix your own, use an ingredient such as coconut coir or peat moss for the same reason.
- Water often. There is limited space for the amount of water that lush, healthy plants need in a pot. Don’t neglect watering just because it’s too hot to go outside!
Like the plants that live in temporary homes, we should remember that this world is not our home.
“For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope” ( 1 Chronicles 29:15, NASB).
We won’t survive long spiritually without the living water of life that Christ Jesus provides.
“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’” (John 7:38).
As we travel through life, it’s good to know it’s a journey, not a destination.
“I am a stranger here, within a foreign land;
My home is far away, upon a golden strand;
Ambassador to be of realms beyond the sea,
I’m here on business for my King.”
— Flora Hamilton Cassel