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Elevate Your Outdoor Space With These Planter-Tree Combos
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Elevate Your Outdoor Space With These Planter-Tree Combos

    For all that your houseplants do for you—like cleaning the very air you breathe—the least you can do is give them a beautiful home. For showstopping indoor planters that won’t break the bank, we turned to some of our most loved ceramists and home decor brands for inspiration. These innovators have been cooking up some truly original house planter designs for succulents, small plants, and leafy greenery that’ll match any decor. Prefer a classic look? O.G. terra-cotta planters now come in sleek modern shapes. Looking for something flashy and modern? Shiny metal planters will add a glow. Just need a pop of color on the windowsill? There’s a hyper blue ceramic planter for that. And may we suggest that, if you do have that itch for a decor update, new plants (and, obviously, plant pots!) are really the best place to start.

    Now that we’re all spending more time indoors, the jolt of green will add some much-needed energy to your space and the lush accents will liven up any living room, tabletop, or DIY office. Even better, our favorite planters of the season range from the cost of a takeout dinner (sans glass of wine!) to a new pair of Vans, so you don’t have to feel so guilty if your green thumb fails and your plant baby doesn’t survive the season. It happens. (But it doesn’t have to!) Ready for the easiest home upgrade of your life? Shop our selection of affordable indoor planters.

    THINK BIGGER THAN a crock of nasturtiums this year. “Potted trees can be magical,” said Andrew Pascoe, a floral designer in Oyster Bay, N.Y. “You can create privacy on a roof terrace. You can use two to flank a front door. A row of them is an instant hedge.”

    Choose a tree that typically attains a height of no more than 10 feet, and pamper it in every season, said Mr. Pascoe, who grew up in England’s mild climate, where potted plants commonly become permanent landscape features. “In spring and summer, trees will exhaust the food supply in the soil of a pot quite quickly, so feed them well with fertilizer, and water them daily,” he said. In winter, move pots out of danger of harsh winds and wrap them in burlap to protect roots from freeze-thaw fluctuations. Paired with the proper planter, a tree can become a living sculpture to artfully transform your garden year-round. Mr. Pascoe matches petite trees with new-to-market planters to make the most of both.

    “There’s something very Gothic about the design of this light planter” with its repeating pattern of pointed arches, said Mr. Pascoe. Pairing it with the frothy, very pale flowers of a miniature Cinderella crabapple tree would create “a classic blue-and-white palette—my favorite,” he said, adding that the planter’s sleek, aluminum surface updates the look. With long, slender branches that reach up and out like thin, curving fingers, Malus x ‘Cinzam’ “still looks enchanting in the winter when it has no foliage,” he said. Oomph Ocean Drive Outdoor Planter in blue, from $1,575, chairish.com

    “This is a very traditional metal planter, with its little feet and the rings on its sides, and would look lovely if you paired it with the formal shape of a holly trained as a topiary,” Mr. Pascoe said. Ilex ‘Castle Spire’ can be clipped to encourage it to spiral upward as it grows, like an evergreen church steeple. “For symmetry, I’d like to see two flanking an entryway.” In summer, its glossy leaves provide a deep green, and in winter, brilliant red berries. Aged Grey Square Planter by the Vintage Gardener, from about $190, societyhouse.co.uk

    For this plump, fluted container cast from a mix of crushed marble, rock and resin, Mr. Pascoe chose Prunus ‘The Bride,’ a flowering cherry tree with bouquet-worthy blossoms. “The shape of the pot reminds me of the shape of its delicate petals. Plus, the rough texture will play nicely against the pretty flowers when [the tree] blooms in spring.” He recommends fertilizing the tiny tree in spring and judiciously pruning its crown to maintain a rounded, nosegay silhouette even when branches are bare in winter. Petal Garden Planter, from $650, pennoyernewman.com

    Third world maize (Zea mays L.) production is characterized by having extremely low yields, attributed in part to the poor planting methods employed. Maize planting in most third world countries involves placing 2–3 seeds per hill, with hills being roughly 30 cm apart. The variability in seeds per hill and distance between hills result in heterogeneous plant stands that are directly responsible for lower yields. Oklahoma State University (OSU) has developed a durable hand planter with a reciprocating internal drum that delivers single maize seeds per strike and that can also be used for mid-season application of urea fertilizer. The hand mountain planter is 1.4 m in length, 5.8 cm in diameter, and weighs 1.9 kg when empty. The seed hopper has the capacity to hold 1 kg of seed and the tip has a sharp pointed shovel which can deliver seed to a planting depth of 5 cm in no-till and tilled soils. The current prototype has been comprehensively tested and evaluated to deliver at least 80% single seeds (singulation), with 0% misses and work well across varying seed sizes (2652–4344 seeds/kg) and different operators. Using the OSU hand planter, third world maize producers with average yields of 2.0 Mg ha?1 could increase yields by 20%.

    Who doesn’t love to grow fresh salad greens, tomatoes and herbs? Unfortunately, growing veggies during the height of summer requires daily watering, which can quickly become a problem when you go away for vacation. In the past, we’ve hired the neighbor kid—sometimes he remembered, and sometimes we came home to withered veggies.

    But it turns out there’s a better way to beat the heat and keep your plants routinely watered- self-watering planters that you can leave for a week without watering. When we tasked our editors with designing some DIY self-watering planters, the results were incredible. The self-watering planter boxes themselves were gorgeous, they kept rabbits and other critters from munching on the greens, and we went for weeks on end without having to water. We watered three times all summer long (no kidding), and we had garden-fresh salads until frost. In this article, we’ll show you how to build self-watering planters for yourself. The secret of self-watering planters is in the perforated drain pipe.

    The total cost of this 3 x 6-ft. cedar planter was $330. If you use treated wood, the price would drop to about $250. And we used a thick EPDM pond liner, which cost $120. (You can buy thinner versions at home centers for about $35. All the other materials are available at home centers or garden/landscape centers.) To give the box a nice finished look, we routed the boards and sanded the faces and cap. We left the cedar unfinished, but you could seal yours. After we built the basic box, we moved the planter to its final position and then added the self-watering system, soil and plants. Even without the soil and plants, this DIY planter box is heavy!

    Self-watering planters are sometimes called “sub-irrigated planters” or SIPs, because your plants get to “sip” water whenever they want. Our version uses inexpensive perforated drain pipe with a fabric sleeve in the bottom of the planter. Once you fill the drain pipe reservoirs, they allow air to circulate and water to wick up to your plants’ roots whenever they need it. When plants are watered from below, the roots stay consistently moist, there’s less evaporation and you don’t need to water as much. The vinyl tubing allows any overflow water to drain. There are many commercial self-watering planters available—the EarthBox is a great optiom, but you can also easily make your own.

    For Material List, Cutting List, and Plant choices for containers, see Additional Information below. It's also important to note that we notched the flooring to fit. You can also fit the floor within the 2x2s as shown and let the liner span the gap.

    Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of sun. If your planter is against a wall, you can get by with less sun because of the reflected heat.

    A 4-ft.-wide planter is ideal for harvesting from both sides. Keep it to 3 ft. wide if you’re placing your unusual planter against a wall or fence.

    Line your planter with a “fish-safe” rubber membrane. It will prolong the life of the wood without leaching chemicals into the soil (and your food). You can buy fish-safe pond liners in different thicknesses and materials at home centers, garden centers and online retailers.

    Don’t use garden soil or a heavy potting soil in your raised garden. Use a light, fluffy “soilless” blend that will retain moisture without compacting or becoming waterlogged. You can also buy potting soil specifically formulated for self-watering planters.

    Mulch your containers to keep weeds down and to slow evaporation.

    For more great ideas for building sub-irrigated planters (SIPs), visit insideurbangreen.org.'

    Screw the horizontal end cleats in place first and then the center joists. Notch your deck boards to fit around the vertical supports. For greater strength, use 2×2 horizontal cleats (33 in. long for our planter) for each end and 2x4s for the center two joists.

    Several factors affect the choice of corn seeding depth. Although many areas have received late winter precipitation, dry soil is still a concern in areas where tillage allows significant surface drying or precipitation has not occurred. Corn Seeding Depth:  Back to the Basics, a recent ICM News article, discusses how to select appropriate seed depth. This article focuses on planter adjustment settings and considerations if seed is planted deeper than normal due to dry conditions in the upper two inches at the surface.

    Dry surface soil suggests deeper planting depths to obtain moisture for rapid germination. The seed depth adjustment on planters controls the distance between the bottom of the double-disc seed opener and bottom of depth-gauge wheels. Most planter row units have the ability to adjust this difference to at least 3 or 4 inches. Simply adjusting this depth difference between gauge wheels and seed opener, however, will not automatically mean seed is placed at the adjustment depth. A certain amount of weight or down force is required to push the seed opener into the soil before the adjacent depth wheel comes into contact with the surface. The down force required increases with increasing penetration depth. This is similar to increased force required to drive a spade deeper into the soil. 

    It’s always a good idea to make sure depth-gauge wheels are in contact with the soil surface. This check is particularly necessary when planting at deeper than normal depths or if dry soil increases penetration resistance encountered by the seed opener. If gauge wheels are not on the soil surface, extra weight must be transferred to the row unit via the down force system on the parallel links attaching the row unit to the planter frame. In some cases, extra weight may be required on the planter toolbar frame to allow penetration of the seed opener. This last issue is more commonly encountered when a large number of row units are used on a given multi level planter toolbar (e.g., narrow- or split-row planter use) or separate fertilizer injectors are used on the planter.

    Rather than relying strictly on depth adjustment between the bottom of the seed opener and bottom of depth-gauge wheels an alternative approach to increasing planting seed depth to a zone of adequate moisture is to create a furrow ahead of the planter by setting row cleaner depth deeper than usual. This concept loosens soil for easier penetration of the seed opener. More aggressive or deeper depth settings may remove an inch or two of surface soil before insertion of the seed by the seed opener and depth-gauge wheels. 

    Creating a furrow with row cleaners may be the simplest method to insert seed deeper than ordinarily capable with the planter’s seed depth adjustment (typically 3 to 4 inches).  This approach has worked well for some operators in previous planting situations with dry surface soil. As mentioned in the article above on corn seeding depth, this approach also carries potential risks if rains occur during early germination and growth. Rainfall can puddle and seal tilled soils affecting the ability of corn to emerge. Even if corn has emerged, excessive water runoff erodes soil and can wash seed and plants from furrows if rows are sloping. 

    Contrary to planting in moist or wet soil, increasing down pressure somewhat on closing wheels can help seed-to-soil contact. Some extra down pressure on depth-gauge wheels slightly increases seed depth and increases emergence rate, bringing additional moisture into the seed zone by increasing capillary action on the soil water.
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