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Container gardening tips

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If you can't have a garden plot, a container garden is a nice alternative. You'll need pots and containers, potting soil, seeds and seedlings.

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You can plant almost any plant or vegetable in a container and place it on your patio to grow. Be sure you have allowed enough space for the roots and commit yourself to a daily watering schedule, said Anne Smith of the Grand Forks Horticultural Society, because the soil in pots can dry out very quickly, especially on hot, windy days.

Take care not overwater. Plants can drown when there isn't a big enough hole or holes for water to leave the pot, according to about.com/containergardening. If the soil gets too wet, the roots of your plants will rot and the plant will die. Don't be afraid to drill or punch more holes in your pots for drainage. Also, it is a myth that adding gravel, pot shards or stones to the bottom of your container will increase drainage.

Read and save your plant tags and seed packets. They will tell you how big your plant will get, how much light, water and food it needs.

For ideas about filling your containers, ask the staff of your local plant nursery or check online. Flowers, herbs and tomatoes can thrive in a container.

-- Paulette Tobin

For more help with your garden

• Visit the Grand Forks Horticultural Society's website, www.angelfire.com/nd/gfhort. It has tons of useful information and links to related sites.

• Society members also meet regularly and have gardening presentations at East Grand Forks Campbell Library. The meetings are open to the public.

• The Grand Forks Horticultural Society's 29th annual Garden Tour will be July 20-21. Homeowners will open their private yards for viewing and questions. Admission to a special plant sale is included with the ticket. Proceeds go to enhancing area public park gardens and educational programs.

• You can read the Northern Gardener, published by the Minnesota Horticultural Society, at www.northerngardener.org. It's full of information, advice and gorgeous garden pictures.

-- Paulette Tobin

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