Container Gardens with Rebecca Finneran
April 24, 2020
MSU Extension Cabin Fever Conversations featuring Container Gardens with Rebecca Finneran, MSU Extension.
Cabin Fever Conversations help connect you to your garden and fellow gardeners, even when we are stuck inside during the long Michigan winters. Each weekly session featured a conversation to help get your mind outside and into the garden, highlighting the passion and wisdom of featured speakers.
More resources and recordings to other sessions are available on the Cabin Fever Conversations website.
So thanks for joining us today. My name is Abby Harper with MSU Extension. >> I'm an educator and community food systems and I'll let my co-host Isabel introduce herself as well. [Isabel] >> Hi, my name is Isabel Branstrom and I am a consumer horticulture educator based out of Ingham County. >> And today we have Rebecca Finneran who is another consumer horticulture educator over in Kent County. >> And we are talking about smart container gardening. >> So everybody grab a container. >> friend, right? [Rebecca] [Rebecca] [Isabel] [Isabel] [Rebecca] [Isabel] [Rebecca] [Isabel] [Rebecca] >> Now Isabel! It's not that kind of container, honestly, it's this container. Alright, so pots, people call them "pots' in the garden, but I like calling them containers. [Isabel] >> Noted. >> Thank you, Rebecca. >> Yeah. >> So today we're going to talk about container gardening and we're really happy to have you here. >> Rebecca, I'm grateful that you could join us. >> So I wanted to start off by asking, what got you geeked out about container gardening and where did it start? [Rebecca] >> Well, actually, I've been gardening in my whole life and I think for some of you who are, let's just say my age or older, you might remember those, what everybody had back then in the hippie era was they had half whiskey barrels. >> And so my job at home was to plant the half whiskey barrels with geraniums. petunias, vinca and a spike. >> I mean, that was just the traditional thing. And so one thing led to another. I got a degree in horticulture. >> Then of course, I got a job with Michigan State University and really had been gardening in containers as well as in garden beds and doing landscape design and all that kinda stuff along with it. >> But containers really makes sense for people. >> So, you know, if you have limited mobility or just don't have a ton of time and that really they are, just a total blessing. >> So I think besides the fact that they look cool and you can make them cool by design. They can be smart. >> So you can actually go on vacation and not worry about watering them, that kind of thing. So there's all kinds of ways that containers can brighten your life. [Rebecca] [Rebecca] [Isabel] [Isabel] [Rebecca] [Isabel] >> Well, I agree, and I think they're really relevant for people who don't have a lot of space, either like if you just have a porch. [Rebecca}absolutely. a porch or just have a balcony right, really to people that are short of space. [Rebecca] >> So I was thinking speaking of not that much space, I was thinking of showing a couple of photos. [Isabel] >> Oh yeah! Load them up! We are embracing technology today. [Rebecca] >> So we're hoping that it's working. alright. And so will be just clicking along here. So again, today we're going to talk a little bit about smart gardeining with containers. My name is Rebecca Finneran and I'm with Michigan State University Extension like Isabel and Abby. So here's a picture of a friend of mine's home and she bought a rundown old school house and she's an extension master gardener. >> Wonderful woman. >> And of course, you can see there's little or no place to landscape there in, in along the home, the school, the school porch. So what you're looking at is entirely made up of containers. So some of these were her house plants from indoor. There's a Pineapple Lily just with the old chair. But you can see sort of that eclectic bunch of plants and how much fun you can have with just a few things just on the asphalt. [Abby] >> Rebecca, can you share what some of the most important considerations for container gardening as what you can grow kind of how to consider what you grow where. [Rebecca] >> I always tell people the most important part of the container is the whole. Alright, so we always talk about in a horticulture how we drowned plants. >> And last week our guest was talking about succulents and really cool houseplants. >> But really indoors is as bad or worse than outdoors because we really drown plants there. But the most important component, whether it's a clay pot, a plastic pot, a composite pot, or a relic is the fact that it can drain. All right, so I think that's probably the most important consideration. >> And then second, just thinking about the media. >> What kind of media or you're going to choose. There are a lot of products on the market that, that look dark brown and you pick them up and it says something to the effect of like garden soil or something like that, you know? And so really what you really need is, is potting media. >> It's, it's, it's a soilless mix. >> It's primarily made up of peat and other ground organic matter and perlite to add fluff and drainage and air and all that good stuff. But if you look closely at this photograph, you see that little orange pril in there. >> It almost looks like a seed of some kind. >> And in this case, this is one of those products that comes with slow-release fertilizer in it already. >> And I kinda like that because it makes me be, I can be a lazy gardner then and not worry quite so much about that, but it does help kind of get your plants off to a great start. [Isabel] So between all the different types of containers, is there one that is vastly container material wise? [Abby] [Rebecca] So again, at the sky's the limit. >> And as I was explaining to Isabel earlier, really every container type has pros and cons. And so we're looking at a beautiful, beautifully crafted, artistic kind of clay container. It's a baked clay. Clay does tend to be extremely good for plants that need a lot of air movement. >> But on the other hand, they dry out really quick too. >> So if you have containers, let's say on a sunny hot deck, you're going to have to water them a lot more. >> So clays, good, but it also has a downside of drying quickly. >> So if you're going to choose clay, I would say go big or go home. >> Alright, >> BIG. That means that volume of soil can really hold a lot of water and maintain the level of moisture that you need over time. I mentioned the word relics. I have a ton of gardening friends that are really into Garden designing. >> You wouldn't believe what you come up with. >> For containers and so on the left hand side, this is from a foundry, so it's an old foundry part and that makes a beautiful shade container. And on the right-hand side, that really was a candy pot, so it's copper, believe it or not, so beautiful old relics. >> You can find these things at thrift stores and you know, you know, yard sales or whatever. >> And they can be really, really expensive or they can be really, really cheap. >> You know, I think probably the biggest advent in containers. >> And containers continued to be America's number one portion of gardening, that most growing portion of gardening. So this type of container is styrofoam, made to look like a beautiful ancient relic. >> And it's very lightweight and, and it's got a seal in it, so it doesn't really dry out quickly. Big volume, easy to stack in the fall. So again, pros and cons, it can be maybe a little bit expensive, but they last a long time and you know once you put plants in them, they kind of look like you have really fancy pots. >> So you know, that's one, you can just use traditional plastic containers. Here's one that shows I actually don't think this is a great idea for homeowner because it's a very shallow container. >> But in this case, can you see this little black tube? >> This tube is actually routing water and fertilizer to those plants. >> So this container, because it's so small, we will have to be watered a lot. >> But you know this, the problem was solved with drip irrigation, which is really cool for those of you gardening in shade, you might want to use perennials, mix of perennials and annuals in, let's say a moss basket. So there's all kinds of different things this too. >> If it did not have a plastic liner, then it would dry out so quickly. >> And the downside of this is if you water and a lot, the container media comes right out of the moss basket. >> Most of these will end up having some kind of a, a liner or so forth. Or you could sort of go the fancy route. >> So these are fairly shallow containers, but they're placed beautifully on pedestals And I can see some herbs like parsley and some different things like nicotiana >> And you know, it's just a nice, beautiful, eclectic mix. >> Here's another container that styrofoam, believe it or not. >> So here's the downside with styrofoam is it's so lightweight that when the wind blows, that container goes right over, you know. >> So there's really the substances all on top because it's not really very aerodynamic, very beautiful for sure, but not enough weight >> to hold it in place. >> So this is the garden at the MSU Extension, Grand ideas garden in Grand Rapids. >> And daily when the Cannas get that big, we have to go prop up our pot. So, so you know, again, the upside and downside. And then people always ask questions about hanging baskets. >> And hanging baskets are the number one thing to buy it a garden center for Mother's Day, which is coming up very soon, right? So, you know, but they dry out quickly. They're dangling in the air. They can get very warm. The plants really fill the entire container, so they're sucking up a ton of moisture. And so you really have to pay attention to these things and keep them watered and keep them fertilized. And so I always like to tell people that when you get your container. Go ahead and buy another basket that's about two inches bigger All the way around. >> And right away when you get home, scoop it up and repot, upsize your basket basically. So you gotta give yourself another two months in the Garden of Good Looking and time because it just has that much more volume of soil, right? [Abby] >> Rebecca, One of the things that I really love, is you've shown to so many different things that could be considered container. I think often it has to be a pot... >> I saw. >> I think the most innovative container was the use of an old bathtub at somebody put soil and used. [Rebecca] and gets what! What's the most important part of the container? [Abby} It's got that hole! Built in drainage! [Rebecca] You know that there really are so many things. >> I have pictures of containers where people filled up ladies jeans with plants there are all these jeans with all these pots. >> I'll show you a couple later on in, in the in the pictures that I'm going to share. [Abby] There was one place I lived. >> People were predominantly using their rooftops for gardening and they use old tires, there was a way you could invert them. [Rebecca]>> Absolutely. [Abby] you can get really creative with what you use for containers. Can you share a little bit about what kinds of things you can grow in containers. I know we've seen a lot of diversity in your pictures of perennials, annuals, and even I think I see a pepper plant and that pot. [Rebecca] >> Yeah. So things even kale and sage and believe it or not the yellow is marjoram. >> So there's herbs in this pot, you can eat the marigold. that's a miniature marigold there. but it's an old fashioned one. So yeah, I think people forget that vegetables are beautiful, right? >> I mean, what is not beautiful about, about tuscan kale or beets >> I mean, everything about these things is just gorgeous. Gorgeous. So sure. >> I think you can do a lot of things. This one has a pepper and some of the things, this is a pretty big container I ought to add. >> Here is a great herb, not the one on top. This is lambs years, but right here is called Kent Beauty Oregano. That so it's a drooping oregano. There are several that actually lay down on the ground, so they're great for containers because they can kind of spill out of the pot. >> And this one is so beautiful and so fragrant and lovely to eat. But yet check it out, you know, two cabbages to fill the entire pot >> So I mean, I'm sorry flower growers, but really, who needs flowers when you have cabbage? >>[Abby] That's my motto... did that come out of my mouth? because I do love flowers. I was just kidding.. [Rebecca] >> But so Lavender and basil and there are so many things you can grow in there. >> I, my passion is for peppers, and I like peppers to eat, but I really like ornamental, ornamental peppers as well. >> So there are tons of different varieties of ornamental peppers. And the nice thing about these for a container is unlike a petunia or a geranium or whatever. There's no dead heading involved. So if you feed them and take care of them, they will look good for you until the snow is on them literally. >> And I'm saying that from experience, so like November and it's like you look at it, your containers and you're like, "oh, I don't want to take them apart because there's still a beautiful" Alright? >> So peppers and how about this one? >> Black pearl, I mean, black everything about it. >> And the cool thing is by Christmas or really by September >> But all those black Pearls would be a deep like Santa Claus, crimson red, just absolutely beautiful red. >> So what about springtime? >> I mean, think of all the things that you could do in containers. And, and what I like about this one is it, this is actually a garden. It's not one pot on somebody's deck. >> And so you see containers that are stacked on other containers which give heightened interest? >> The pansies, or you can use little violas actually give a lot of color until they get too hot and then, you know, a lot of these things will run out of gas, you're going to eat them and all that kind of thing. But the things that are going to keep going, or the Kales and the cabbages. >> These are fun, fun plants have. [Isabel] >> Rebecca? >> Yeah, I have another question. >> So go if you're growing that either like vegetables or ornamentals or mix of both, are there any sort of considerations you need growing veggies versus ornamentals and containers. [Rebecca] So I always get people to think about grouping like plants. And so I happen to love to grow succulents, but succulents would not need the same amount of nutrients that,let's say, that cabbage would or a tomato. >> Alright? >> So if you're mixing a patio tomato with some petunia and things like that, you're probably going to feed them regularly. But then plants that don't need as much fertility, you're just going to be kind of overdoing it. So another thing that I do like to do is to mix perennials with my, in my containers with annuals. >> And part of that is on guess what? They're free if you dig them up from your own yard. So it's great when I'm like, ooh, I have a shade container, will it cost me like 0? Because I dug all this stuff up from my existing perennial gardens. >> So yeah, think about that then would not need as much fertilizer encouragement or so anyway... [Isabel] So veggies are like, hungrier" [Rebecca] >> Well, sure if if you want them to perform, you have to feed them and keep them watered. >> And then the other thing with vegetables and in annuals is the consistency of moisture. >> So you don't want to have it be feast or famine conditions like, you know, last week we talked a lot about succulents, which we'll look at in just a bit here. >> But the succulents can go bone dry and then get watered, which is kind of what their normal cycle would be. But in the case of vegetable, you want, you want even moisture for good production. All right, so that's one thing to consider. >> Here's, here's an idea I think people can get started on today if you wanted to and currently because I appreciate the way vegetables, their foliage there. Foliage is just stunning. >> So let's just take a look at this. This is something I did yesterday. Oh, whoops, it didn't work. I think I can get it back here... On this chilly spring morning. >> We think getting started planting annuals >> Like many of us, we've got cabin fever and we're out ready to plant annuals and perennials and things like that. >> Well, it's just too soon. >> We really have to wait until the frost free date before we get our herbaceous annuals and perennials set out, but there are some excellent cold hardy plants that we can put out now, such as pansies and peas (believe it or not). So today I'm going to show you how to make a pea pot. and you can decorate the pea pot with pansies and other flowering that will tolerate the frost but first, I would suggest that you connect with getting some good potting medium. And I like to look for a potting media that's a professional blend. If you look closely at this, it's a mix of peat and pearlite. >> And if you look really closely, you can see there are tiny little prils of fertilizer. So this media has slow release fertilizer already mixed throughout, which should be enough to get you started, but you might want to add a little bit more. >> So basically to get started, I would fill up the container all the way to the top. Remember that the container media will settle to some extent and it has a wetting agent in it, not a wetness preservation but a wetting agent which will allow you to pour water on it and water right away. So basically I like to either use some sticks such as these. red twig dogwood. I used these earlier in the winter for my, my holiday displays. >> And I'm just going to jam those sticks down into the center of the container and basically plant maybe a dozen pea seeds around the outside. So I usually put to pea seeds per hole. Once I get those planted it there and go kind of like this and do plant according to the package instructions. >> So it's about half an inch and three-quarters of an inch deep. >> And really all you have to do in potting media is press that seed in and then rough it up a little bit. And voila, you have a pea pot. The other thing in this case I'm going to put in some spinach. This is a purple potted pea So it's also ornamental. >> Spinach seeds are much smaller. >> So the spinach seeds, you could use other things too. >> And I mentioned pansies already, but I'm going to just basically put a ring of spinach seeds around outside. >> Now these will be nice, dark green. >> They will look very nice with the peas All right, as they grow. >> Peas have beautiful foliage. >> It's, it's pretty remarkable, really. >> So another great option if you didn't want to go the twig route. Alright, you can forget the twigs and use and old hanging basket. All right, so this would be easy just to set the hanging basket in there or you could get fancy with it. Oh, and I have a nice obelisk that creating and using this obelisk until June. >> So I can set the obelisk in there and nestle it down in there. >> And voila, you have spring pea pod. >> Alright, so one more idea or example is if you have some twigs like this, I hit cut down some of this Harry Lauder's Walking Stick and I can nestle that down in here as well. >> This makes a very beautiful, and I guess picturesque pot. >> When you're all done, you're gonna water it in. Water well, and I can probably just let Mother Nature do the job. >> So immediately have question as that though. Walking stick, you put it in there so it can route in the container? >> No, no, no, no. >> That's a plant that died controller saying, Right. Right. Right. Okay. >> Okay. Good way. I was thinking not had already. >> That's I Filburn, Turkish Filburn. >> So but any way too old to say that? >> Again, a lot of people have curly willow. You're trimming these stems out anyway. >> So you just grab up a bunch of those stems and Java gentleman the pot so they can be so if you're looking at the screen, this was a different year. >> I did the P part. >> And so I had some plus a willows and puts you willows had not learned, so I cut those and stuck them in. And honestly, it's a little wonky if you leave these stems in, if they're fresh cut and you leave the stems and wet part, they actually will route. So I was that was not my goal, but oftentimes FM. But here you can see it with the, the pansies coming on. >> And then I just wanted to show you later in the summer, while this is like late spring, there's the peacock. This was the year that I had the ***** willows. Alright? And then if we were eating easily enough vegetables from that pot, I say we got maybe five or six picking off of it. And so enough for a stir-fry, let's say for two people. So, so they really, they can be very productive. Sometimes people think, well, I'm only going to get one piece of lettuce or whatever, but, you know, more is better and go big or go home. >> That's what I always say. So does kind of odd that whole Pea thing. >> Here's the curly willow. So see these curly willow stems up here. >> So this is a friend of mine and she planted and ornamental pepper that I love called chilly, chilly. And she used sweet peas, so more ornamental for sure. But still you give those things a place to grow and they're awesome in a pot. >> And her Relic is again as a candy pot. >> And by fall, that's what it looks like. >> So those Remember what I said about the peppers? >> They go and go and go and go. I mean, they're remarkable plans, so yeah, very cool. >> So Rebecca, one of the amazing things about this is how much you seem to be able to grow in such a small space. >> And I know they implant and people have a wide variety of growing conditions. >> And some folks with only, with only point is that this could be really cool if like one of the other things I was struck by one of your earlier ones, the one with the lettuce and cabbage. >> And you are kinda talking about some of that succession plans hanger right in the lattice and letting the other stuff grow, grow folate, which I think is just an awesome way to you small space. >> Some of the things that you mentioned in the video around, around design, you were saying around like color schemes and kind of mixing that low growing and high growing spatial dynamics. >> Can you sooner or about other considerations for design that you take into account? >> So I think, you know, design is really a personal thing. And so i if this is one thing I've talked about with Isabella, I really don't like it when somebody says to me, oh, here are the rules for design. >> And you have to have a filler and a thriller and a spiller. And I'm like, okay, well, what like when you saw that cabbage, I mean, was it the spiller or was that the thriller? Or what was it really? >>It's like going to a dog show and somebody saying, oh, this is a blue ribbon dog and that one's not a blue ribbon dog. I think it's up to you. Right? >> So so it'll be thinking about the kind of things that please you. >> I think the big thing, and you're looking at two containers here. Both of these are shade containers, but it's a nice mix of textures. >> So one, the one on the left hand side in the little straw basket that's a really shady container. It has got a house plant in there and some other things that will do well in shade. >> But look at, you know, even though nothing's really blooming, there's interest. it's all from texture and the different shades of green. I remember going to a conference many, many years ago and they said green is a color. >> And I'm like, Yes, it is. >> I love to hear that. >> They then on the right-hand side, that's a Rx begonia called Griffin. >> And really even that one plant could fill the whole pot and it wouldn't need anything at all. >> Last week you guys talked about succulents a lot. >> And I think part of it is maybe I don't have that much time to take care of a container. And so, Oh my gosh! Succulents are the coolest thing ever. >> So this is a, this is an agave, it's a century plant, but this was a little plug now I did keep this growing for many years and it was probably eight inches across before it got really dangerous. >> Yeah. >> I mean, thorns, right. [Isabel] >> Right. [Rebecca] >> But, you know, it stayed in that pot all summer and I never I never watered it. >> I didn't do anything to it. It's got rain fall and that's it, you know. So, could I make a pizza? Look at all the succulents out there. >> What could I do with color and texture? >> Abby, you know, what do you see in this picture that's blooming like nothing, right? So like she was saying last week, you know, it's it's the, it's the shapes and the structure and the texture of the plants that make them so interesting, isn't it? [Isabel] So Rebecca. >> I think this relates to our next question, which is where would be a good place for beginners to start? >> Yeah. in container gardening. [Abby] And maybe if you can speak both to a beginner vegetable container garden and a beginner ornamental container. [Rebecca] >> Sure. So so succulents are great for beginners because they don't require a lot of fertilizer and a lot of care. >> So this also is a photo from my office from the grand ideas garden. >> We have a succulent container collection. And each container has one or two or three plants in it. >> We we water them, but that we almost do nothing to these. >> I mean, it's, it's pretty remarkable what they are. But I would start with the big leaved begonias. So there are quite a few. You've probably heard of Dragon wings, but there's also a whole series out called big, it's just big. All right. And so they're gimondo leaves, they come in purple leaves in reds and chart reuses and that kind of stuff. And they are very drought tolerant. They can go sun or shade. >> And I wouldn't say you could not fertilize them, but once they're established, you can go on vacation for a month and they wouldn't even bother you at all. So this is a Dragon Wing called Dragon Wing pink. Here's a whole group of plants. >> I think the other thing is, is power in numbers, you know, so, you know, they're small containers. >> But again, the one, the one plant is, this is a ground cover. So this is something somebody dug up out of their yard and they made it a container plant. So think about mixing it. Then. There's a phormium. Here's another one. Who doesn't have one of these old strawberry pot. >> So look at all these cool little succulents that are in there. >> That's a sedge, phormium, this is an agave. So that's the one I said was kinda dangerous. But you know, mix and match. And these again, don't require a ton of care. And I love, I just love that. >> And then, you know, Hey, isn't that crazy? >> The other thing is people, people get hung up on the number of plants that need to go in a container. >> So if you studied art, you know, it should be three or five or whatever. Guess what? >> That's one plant. [Abby] >>Yeah. That one plant makes me want to put eyes on the pot. It just feels It feels like a wild hair guy. [Rebecca] Well, if you look carefully, you see the lips right here, the content of the bottom half of a face. >> And so this also is, is a sedge. >> but you know, tons of fun. >> And I think this is just cement that had been poured into - you can make these pedestals- it is poured into a corrugated tile. And then once it hardens, now you've got the perfect little pedestal. >> So yeah, lots of things that you can do. And then let's go back to Abby's question. >> It was about vegetables. >> What's, what's a great vegetable to start with? >> So if you want something quick and dirty, the lettuces and spinachs are awesome. >> So I like to also put parsley and other herbs in pots that can be done really easy. >> And then you can get kinda crazy if you want and go to things like kale and beets. Oh my gosh. When I was off for maternity leave and I had this big pot on the deck and I told my husband, I'm not bending over, we're not gardening at all right. But I had this one giant tub of stop and I put out herbs and also a whole bunch of stuff died, but the beats lived, right? >> and All my horticulture friends were coming over for afterwards, baby shower and stuff. >> And they're like, "What cool new annual" and I'm like "...beets!" It's just beets - that's all it is. Why? >> Because beets have beautiful foliage, you know, so you can get heirloom varieties that have all burgundy foliage. >> And so there's lots and lots of things that you could do in a container, and I would say don't crowd that container. So you saw in the earlier picture, the, the what am I trying to share? The cabbage... So that was actually one to many cabbages for that pot, because you've seen cabbage in the garden and it can consume the whole aisle or a whole row where the tiller goes. So one cabbage, fine put in, so fillers, and then as that fills that whole pot, just enjoy it. a lot of fun yeah. [Abby] >> So I want to make sure we transition them to have some time for some of the questions from folks on today. >> So we've gotten a number of questions about filling the pot and about drainage. >> So do you recommend putting rocks or some sort of kinda like drainage medium and the bottom of pots. [Rebecca] >> So remember when we talked, ladies, what's the most important part of the pot? The HOLE! >> So no filler. And that is a practice that we did many, many, many years ago. And so I'm again showing my age. >> I don't know why, but whenever you decrease that volume of, of media in the pot, you, you essentially have what we call a perched water table. So the water will go down to the rocks. It doesn't necessarily drain through the rocks unless you flooded. >> But so the answer to that is no, no rocks in the bottom of the pot, just media. >> And and I really like to stress that when when you're taking your containers apart in the fall and those roots have consumed the entire volume of media in the pot. So you have to be thinking more is better. >> So I know people like to fill up the pot and they skimp on it. They're like, "Oh,it's a big pot And I am not going to get more media because it's expensive" but your plants will suffer. So again, especially with vegetables, we want to keep the moisture during the summer even. >> And so you can't do that if you have a feast or famine condition. And later in the summer when the roots have consumed every space in the pot, you're gonna put water on it and it will just run right through. >> That's one other thing I want to point out because that's a common question that I get in class. >> I water my hanging baskets in the water just runs right through. >> So I think I watered them. No, you did it. >> So if you let the, you let that media get hype or dry, alright, hyper dry means when you put water on it, it repels water. So if you've gone that far and you water the pot and it runs right through, you need to rehydrate the pot. >> So what I like to do is grab the hanging basket or the pot. I'll take the whole container or if I need to and I'll put it in the like a kitty litter pan or the wheelbarrow. >> Just fill up the wheelbarrow and let it sit for a couple of hours and then you'll pull it out and you'll see the water does kinda drained away and it'll be a lot heavier because it'll be wet all the way to the center. >> And that's really the environment that you want for those roots. [Isabel] >> So the next question was about reusing potting media. What are your thoughts on that? [Rebecca] >> That's an excellent question because I just said potting media is very expensive. Yeah. >> Oh, alright. So I want to say resist, resist. But the truth is, people really would like to reuse their potting media, but it does. >> It become number one. It becomes exhausted. >> It also can carry disease from one year to the next. >> And so it, especially with vegetables, you don't want to carry any of those leaf diseases or rots from one year to the next. >> So we, we recommend always fresh potting media. And I know that's difficult for the, the pocket book, but, but you will be rewarded. >> Let's put it that way. [Abby] >> Yeah, I think one of the things that's hard to remember is when plants are in the ground, it's like a ginormous pot, right? [Rebecca] >> Exactly. Unlimited. [Abby] >> Unlimited. >> The soil exchanges nutrients and it can kind of finish on a cyclical basis. >> You still need to add year-to-year. But it's not, it's not just taking from that one tiny pool. [Rebecca] >> You mentioned the keyword is soil. >> So that soil, and this is not soil. >> So there are huge differences. Yeah, you're absolutely right there. [Abby] >> That's a good reminder. Thanks. Along with that, So are there different putting mediums or soils are ornamentals versus plant versus vegetables or food plants. [Rebecca] >> Well, it's funny because my horticulture friends who are growers and I go round and round about what's the best media to use. And so what you're going to find in at least in the commercial world, and it's probably not as prevalent in the retail world, is you'll find it's like the weight. >> The components of the media give it weight. >> All right. >> So some of the some of them have more like some sand mixed in or something. >> And so they tend to be maybe a little more waterlogged, like in the case of a hanging basket. A media that retains moisture longer is desirable. >> But in the case of a container you're going to use in the spring that's getting a lot of rainfall. >> You want it, you really want it to drained quickly. So really not all medias are created equal. And I do encourage people to try different kinds of media because, you know, again, it's not something we all agree on and that's okay. But, you know, some people are, into this one kind of media and I'm into this other kind of media. >> And I think just understanding that both have positives and negatives. And then the next year adjusting if you know, if you said well, that pot was too wet all year, that pot went bone dry in the middle of the summer. >> So thinking about really being observant and watching, that is probably the best plan. >> So yeah. You know, don't be swayed by stuff that says, oh, I'm trying to think what they call it. >> It's like it's like it's really just people's yard waste. >> So it's ... I can't remember what it's called, but but anyway, Just get professional potting medium. >> That's what you should do. >> It is clean, weed free and sterile. >> That's the best place to start. [Abby] >> I think my philosophy with a lot of these things is try it out the first year in the way that you know will be successful. >> And then once you have success with that, start experimenting. >> So I transitioning towards trying to create my own mixes to kind of replicate that, that potting soil that you can get on the shelves. >> And I've had some successes and some not. But I think starting with the good stuff has allowed me to get the confidence I needed that I can do this right. That's kinda my method. and I think follow the recipe. >>then you get interesting stuff. [Rebecca] >> I think that really hits on a good point because I think a lot of us are, are using wanting to use our own compost and containers and all that kind of stuff. >> Well, I can tell you right now that if I use my compost might possibly be full of weeds. I mean, cuz I never really knew a good enough job, you know, heating that pile up to make sure it's not like a commercial compost pile, whether you know. >> So I think from the home garden and disease management, especially probably using a commercial professional mix is the best place to start. And I think you're right, Abby. You know, as you get more proficient with this, you can mess around with it like so with the, with the succulents. >> Some people like to dress the top of the pot with small pebbles. And that's actually like, that's kinda cool, really. >> And that's kinda the way they would be. >> And the other thing is the pebbles themselves. >> are like mulch. So they do, it does help preserve a little moisture in. It also keeps their roots a little cooler, like they might be in a natural environment. >> So, you know, I mean, do experiment with things a little bit, but yet in those, in those beginning stages, I would be kind of careful. [Rebecca] [Isabel] >> So, so what about plants for shady spots? >> So if somebody only has a shady porch, What would you suggest? >> Just like magic. [Rebecca] >> Like magic. Yeah. Thank you for that lead in. >> So so this is kind of funny that I don't know about you, but I do spend a lot of money on some of these plants and it just breaks my heart to let them go in the fall. And so like I'm going to use Rex begonias as an example. So that big purple leaved plant They are like ten bucks or something like that. >> And I do have a lot of shade. >> And so Rx begonias really well for me. >> And so here I've got one that I've mixed with. >> This is actually a perennial fern believe it or not, it's called Fortune's Holly Fern. Sometimes it's just called holly fern. And then also another perennial which is it's a Carex, it's a bright lime green Carex. >> But but you know, I decided that I would dig these all up and bring them in for the fall? No. They have been happily growing for me in the house. Like there's another Rex, and um >> They're pretty easy to overwinter and these kind of things do really well in shade. So yeah, things where I'd like to tell people how you can extend your shade pots. If you have, let's say you have some maiden hair ferns, or you have some Japanese painted ferns. >> You have hostas, you have other things. >> You could just cut a little portion of that and put it in your shady container. And then as it fleshes out, you've just saved yourself six bucks or ten bucks or however many it is. So you can still put a thriller in there, but you filled it up with some of your own plants. A lot of things that lots and lots of things for shade. [Abby] >> Yeah, and we'll make sure to send out some of those suggestions in our follow-up email so if you can just stop sharing your screen. >> For the last one we'll get, and we'll wrap up here. [Rebecca] >> Oh, wait, wait. One more. >> This, this is one of the ultimate. >> I forgot this was in there. >> Actually, I love showing this biennial that's called silver stage. I think this was really, really well-designed and I like it when you put in spilling plants that will, will play well with others. I mean, so they're kinda like co-mingling and and they're not, one is not choking the other one out. And so I love this, this pot. It was very attractive, so okay, stop sharing so much. [Abby] >> One of the things that came up for me during that too is I'm thinking of new uses, or new spots for some of those things I have in my garden that tend to take over. So I think of mint - but mint definitely becomes a weed if you're not on top of that and growing things like that in containers can help make sure they stay in their lane and don't necessarily take over your whole garden. Rebecca, what we like to end with every week is just asking you what is bringing you joy or hope right now with regards to gardening or your container gardening? [Rebecca] Well, I think >> You know, after having done this for so long, I want to encourage people who are gardening at this point, whatever stage you're in, I mean, you could have a PhD in horticulture and every day you would learn something new. Abby, I mean, the opportunities for education are just phenomenal. And I think some of it is experiential. I think we as a group tend to be hands-on learners. And so, you know, we learn sometimes the hard way. >> We play in the plants, planted dyes, that kind of thing. >> But you know, but really it's just, it's joyful, I think every day to wake up thinking, what am I going to learn today? There's something cool out there. There's some cool new plant! There's something I can eat or a new way to cook it, maybe. I mean think about the recipes and how really plants and horticulture plays such a role in how we live and how we feel. >> And so, you know, being stuck at home, Cabin Fever. >> Yeah, I got it. >> You got it? >> I have my little buddies... [Isabel] >> Yeah, we've all got it. [Rebecca] >> I guess so. >> And I really like looking at >> Vegetable catalogues, so yeah. So I think I don't know. >> I think we have tons of opportunities in That's exciting to me. Very exciting. [Isabel] >> Yeah, same here. >> So we're going to wrap up. I want to say thank you again, Rebecca, This was really fun and we really appreciate you being here and your, your unmatched enthusiasm. >>[Rebecca]PLANTS! I also want to mention we have a pruning workshop coming up. fully online on May eighth, which Abby and Isabel are going to send you the links for that. Yeah, yeah, that's exciting. >> So it's four hours, so we're going to be, it is kind of crazy because we're going to do some interactive stuff. [Isabel] >> Awesome. >> Yeah, we're embracing that, the technology and virtual learning, I think. And so in that vein, also on the Gardening in Michigan Facebook, next week the Veggies Live is gonna start, which are about like 15 minute Facebook Live videos that you register (I almost knocked over all my containers) that I did it. So you've registered for veggies live there. They are through Zoom we'll include that link in our resources email as well, that you can tune in again through the Gardening in Michigan website. >> And that's kind of just a great series for beginning veggie gardeners and that starts next week. >> So were rolling out all that horticulture content and trying to keep people engaged and in the garden and I'm excited. [Abby] I'm looking out my window at snow right now and that's feeling extremely necessary. >> And so yeah, [Isabel] [Rebecca] Don't look at it. [Isabel] >> You just close your eyes. >> And so next week I'm cabin fever conversations. >> We're going to talk about gardening for birds with Linea, who is the Conservation Program Coordinator with Michigan Audubon. So tune in next week on Friday to learn about gardening for birds. >> And we'll get that resources e-mail out to everybody and just want to thank you all for tuning in today. >> Thanks, everybody. >> Yeah. Thank you.