The urban garden at Hilltop demonstrates different gardening techniques for those that do not have a lot of garden space or poor soils. This garden is comprised of many containers and raised beds. This garden was started in spring of 2012 by our garden intern, Hannah Fidler, at the time a Bloomington High School North Senior, now an IU student. Hannah provides some information about container gardening,
“All sizes and shapes of plastic and ceramic pots, self-watering containers, tires, cinderblocks…the possibilities are endless. Conditions in a container are much different than of the natural ground, so you have to make sure that plants in containers aren’t too cramped, get enough water, remain at the right temperature, and have the right nutrients. However, given the right care and attention, container gardening can yield superb results! Some plants do better in containers than others. For example, lettuce and radishes have shallow roots and don’t take up much space, so they do well in containers, but asparagus have deep and extensive root systems, and will fail in containers. In addition, certain types of the same plant may do better than others. For example, small types of carrots such as the Thumbelina variety will spring up nicely in pots, but longer, larger carrots will suffer.”
Raised beds are excellent for growing plants that don’t do so well in containers or vertical strategies, but doesn’t require you to plant anything in the actual ground. Some gardeners would argue that planting in raised beds is better than planting in the ground any day, due to your ability to cultivate the soil in the bed and control the variables affecting it. Think of it as a compromise between planting in the soil and planting in a container.