Container gardens

I have recently moved to the Phoenix, Arizona, area and would like to improve my landscape with some type of container garden. How would I go about this? It gets very hot here and I'm afraid that the containers would "cook" the roots. How could I insure that the plants get adequate water and nutrients without involving high maintenance? Could you recommend any good books on container gardening in the southwest?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

As in the garden itself, good container gardening starts with the soil. The mix you use for your containers should be light and fluffy, with lots of organic matter for nutrients and to retain moisture. I use garden soil, and mix in compost, and perlite or sand for drainage. Then I mulch with bark or pebbles to retain water. As for the sun, just make sure that your container plants need full sun. If they need full- or part-shade, move them to a covered patio or other protected area. If you use terracotta containers, be aware that they dry out faster than other containers and will need to be watered more frequently. A few good books on the subject: Container Gardens: Fresh Ideas for Creating Beautiful Potted Gardens by Better Homes & Gardens; Yard & Garden Owners Manual: Your Complete Guide to the Care and Upkeep of Everything Outdoors by Better Homes & Gardens; Herbs in Pots by Rob Proctor and David Macke (Interweave Press, 1999); and Natural by Design: Beauty and Balance in Southwest Gardens by Judith Phillips (Museum of New Mexico Press, 1996).


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