Planning a container garden


For the last 2 seasons I have used red emperor beans, morning glory and some annuals to make a trellis gardin that has made a green ‘room’ of my balcony. I get full sun from noon to nine on the longest day of the year.

– What household or commercial products could restore balance to the soil?
– Can you recommend a high climbing, dence plant to replace legumes? If not which plants may improve soil?

Thank you for your time.


Thank you very much for your question.

In terms of restoring balance to the soil, you will need to fertilize the media during the growing season.  If you continue growing only annuals, you may also want to consider replacing a third to all of the compost.  Exactly what product you use to fertilize will depend on the kind of plants you are growing, and there are numerous fertilizers available.  The following links contain useful information on potting media and fertilization:

The beans would indeed be nitrogen fixing, however choosing plants to improve the soil in container gardens is less practical than in dedicated vegetable gardens, where green manures and cover crops can be used as part of a regular rotation.

If you are looking for a climber which is edible as well as ornamental, you could consider nasturtiums, tomatoes, hops or even squash and melons which can also be trained to climb.  If you are looking for a solely ornamental plant to provide privacy, the following links contain some further suggestions for useful container plants:

Good luck with your container garden this year!