Incorporate planter boxes into your landscape and expand your available growing space. Commercially available boxes come in various shapes and sizes to suit specific needs. Designs and plans for do-it-yourself planting containers are available as well in bookstores and home improvement centers. Container-grown plants often need frequent watering, especially during hot and windy weather.
Use planter boxes to grow garden vegetables. Using planter boxes may be helpful in reducing garden problems such as nematode, which is a tiny, worm-like organism, and poor soil conditions. Vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes and peppers are well suited to container gardening and provide fresh food for an extended period. Choose determinate varieties of tomatoes if space is a concern and use a tomato cage for support. Use a trellis set inside or behind a planter box to grow climbing vegetables like green beans.
Dwarf varieties of vegetables are available, but most do not perform as well as standard varieties, according to Virginia Cooperative Extension literature. Choose a location with full sunlight when growing fruiting vegetable crops. Leafy vegetables like lettuces and spinach tolerate partial shade locations.
Use fence planters like window boxes, to liven up otherwise drab locations. In sunny locations, annual bedding flowers add color and seasonal interest. Use plants like begonias, small fuschsias, impatiens and torenias in shady areas. A Texas A & M University extension tip sheet suggests conserving soil moisture with the use of a disposable baby diaper lining the planter before adding soil and plants.
Use patio planter boxes not only for horizontal, floor-level interest, but to add height as well. Hanging basket planters easily bring the eye upward and add interest to a porch or patio, but if there is no porch roof for hanging baskets, planters on the ground, or planter boxes on porch railings or lining stairways work similarly. Use supports for climbing plants to train them vertically. Ornamental plants are an obvious choice, but vegetables and herbs grown in planter boxes on porches, patios and balconies enable almost anyone to grow fresh food for much of the year.