Add a new layer to your garden, and enjoy your plants in a whole new way
story by Shelly Mckinney
“Baskets do better if they are in open spaces and receive light from all sides.”
- 4 x 4 treated posts
- Concrete (for extra security)
- Marine plywood
- Galvanized basket
- Coco fiber
- Potting soil
- Slow-release fertilizer
- 4.5 inch plants
To begin, you’ll need 4-by-4 pressure-treated posts at 3-foot, 4-foot and 5-foot above-ground heights, spaced 3-feet to 4-feet apart. Sink the posts securely in a hole lined with concrete for extra security if needed. Decorative columns tend to be the most visually appealing, especially in dark green hues which blend with vegetation.
Next, cut a piece of marine plywood the same size as the flat bottom of your basket. Nail it to the top of the post, then drill four small holes in the top corners of the marine plywood to run four secure wires connecting the pot to the post.
PREPARING YOUR BASKET
Find a galvanized basket in either a 16-inch, 18-inch or 20-inch diameter. Line the bottom and sides of the basket with loose coco fiber up to the middle of the first square. Spin the pot to make sure no light is shining through. Add more coco fiber if necessary. From there, fill the basket with potting soil to the top of the coco fiber. Don’t press down as you will want the soil to remain light. Add in a couple of teaspoons of slow-release fertilizer.
THE PLANTING PROCESS
It’s best to use 4.5-inch plants for your basket. Be creative. Use colors that complement each other, and be sure to use the correct plants for your light conditions.
Separate plant roots if they are tightly wound and push the roots from the outside of the basket through to the inside of the basket. The plant should be sideways with the roots inside the basket and the plant outside. Continue planting every other square in the bottom layer.
Repeat the process on the next layer. Add more coco fiber, starting with small pieces on top of each stem. Keep adding coco fiber until it reaches about halfway up the top square. Add more soil almost up to the top of the coco fiber. Add more fertilizer. Insert plants in every square of this layer.
At this point, you’ll notice that there is a depression in the center of the basket. This is where you will insert your centerpiece plant. Add extra plants around the centerpiece. Fill in with remaining soil and add fertilizer on top.
SECURITY & MAINTENENCE
Once planting is complete, place your basket on top of your post and wire it to your marine plywood if it will be in a windy location, or if you’re concerned about theft. Note that baskets in windy locations can be hard to manage.
It’s best to water every three days. Baskets do better if they are in open spaces and receive light from all sides. If your basket backs to a wall, either don’t include plants on the back side or spin it every week so it gets sufficient light.
If your plants show signs of wilt, add water. You will have to switch out plants every nine months, however, the coco fiber you can reuse time and time again.
Shelly McKinney is the owner of Elbow Creek Garden & Gift in the Eau Gallie Arts District. Elbow Creek is a part garden center, part boutique, offering beautifying home and garden gifts, as well as gardening workshops. For more information, visit www.ElbowCreek.com.