It's a tough year for gardeners. Entire crops have died--and they're saying food prices are going to sky rocket since we can't keep any plants in the ground. Fortunately, there's a little respite for those who don't have to rely on the ground, per se. Gardens based out of containers--like the one I have on my itty bitty balcony-- only have to hold enough moisture for the roots inside. And since there's less area to water, keeping plants green doesn't take as much work.
Of course, it can be hard to get yourself started, or worse yet, what to do once things start to take root. Fortunately, here are some tips from Peter McAllister from SGM (which makes garden tools and equipment like second hand lawn mowers).
One of the most common issues faced by container gardeners is how to move a plant from a small to large container safely. This may seem like a simple task, but it's delicate work. One mistake can leave your plant in poor health while slowly deteriorating.
The most important thing to watch out for is root damage. If the roots are broken during transfer, it can spell tragedy for the plant as a whole. One way to protect root health is to transfer when the soil is dry. Wet soil tends to collapse and pull on the roots when suspended in the air between pots. Dry soil will hold together better and cause less strain.
The new container should have a shallow layer of fresh soil in the new container. Keep this shallow so that you can place the transferred plant on top. When taking the plant out of the old container start by placing your hand over the base of the soil. Be careful not to pull on or disturb the branches or leaves. Now upturn the pot so that the plant will come out into your hand. If it doesn’t come out easily, a good tool is a blunt knife. Run it around the edge of the pot to loosen the soil--but DO NOT dig it out.
Next carefully place the plant into the new container on top of the shallow layer of soil. Fill in the container with new soil so the plant is surrounded and has room for growth. Water the new container to bind the old and new soils together.
That is pretty much it! It’s mostly common sense, mixed with a few tried and true techniques. Try not to put your plant through too much strain while it adjusts to a new environment. An example of this is to try and keep the soil consistency the same in both containers.