In the Garden:
Southern Coasts
July, 2004
Regional Report

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1482

Use shelving to elevate plants for their benefit and yours.

Take it From the Pros

As you cultivate your garden space and style, incorporate some good ideas from professionals at nurseries and plant boutiques. They offer timesaving and smart organizational techniques we all can use.

Elevate and Circulate
Designers looking to create helpful displays and clever work spaces put plants and tools within easy reach. Hang or put up a shelf, stand a rack or old bookshelf against the deck rail, and fill it with pots. You'll find the collection looks better and is much easier to water. Elevating the plants can also mean fewer back problems for whoever does the watering.

Staging Success
For maximum use of space, make a plant stage. Set up a bench made of hardware cloth or slatted wood elevated on cinder blocks, then add more benches in stages like high school riser seats. Going vertical makes room for more plants and lets some plants shade others that need it. More plants can occupy the same space while retaining good air circulation, essential in humid conditions that favor fungus development. Like the professionals, you can put small pots in front as a first alarm for dry pots, and group similar pots near each other for better water management.

Wise Choices
Most plants available commercially come in plastic pots for two reasons: they're cheaper and they don't need watering as often as clay of the same size. In the home garden, you can choose the type of pot according to how you prefer to water. If you like a daily watering ritual, go with clay. Otherwise, follow the growers who use plastic because they water hundreds of plants. You'll also notice few saucers under pots at nurseries. Because they must be emptied, they require too much labor. Empty yours regularly, or eliminate them.

Take Time
At every great commercial plant facility, large or small, there is a policy that truly can benefit the home gardener. Every plant that arrives is isolated for a week or ten days before it's introduced to the rest. This is especially important for houseplant, greenhouse, or sunroom collections. And if any container plant shows signs of pest invasion, isolate it immediately to prevent spread.


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