If you do not have a place for a garden outdoors, perhaps you can grow a lot of things in window boxes, planters and tubs. The basic needs of the plants are the same regardless of where they are grown.
If the plant needs full sunlight, it will not perform well in the shade. If it doesn't get enough water, it will wilt and die regardless of where it is planted.
Soil in containers outdoors dries out faster than the soil in a regular garden. The soil surface and the sides of the containder are all exposed and subject to quick drying. The smaller the container, the more frequent the need for watering and fertilizing.
The containers should have drainage holes in the bottom so that excess water can drain. For each 50 square inches of bottom area, make a drain hole one-fourth inch in diameter. Then it is possible to wet all of the soil in the container when you water without risk of accumulation of water in the root zone.
A petunia should have at least a 6-inch pot (6 inches in diameter and 6 inches deep), a cherry tomato a 10-inch pot, a regular tomato a bushel basket and a rose bush a 12-inch tub.
If the container is too small, it may be necessary to water two or three times a day. Sometimes the foliage may lose water faster than the roots can replace it and the plant wilts. high humidity tends to reduce wilting and humidity can be increased to some degree by sprinkling the foliage with water.
Some gardeners believe that spraying leaves with water in the hot sun may cause scalding. Instead, studies have shown that the water reduces the temperature of the leaf tissue from 8 to 20 degrees.
Use of wooden tubs for containers and tree bark for mulching can lessen the need for watering and reduce wilting. In general, dark-colored surfaces absorb more of the sun's heat than do light-colored surfaces. Black plastic, for example, absorbs much of the sun's energy, while aluminum foil reflects the heat.
Do not depend on a rain, sometimes even a heavy one, to provide enough water for container plants growing outdoors. The foliage of the plants may cause the rain to run off without saturating the soil.
As plants grow they will use more water, increasing the need for watering. on the other hand, sun patterns change throughout the growing season and plants may not be exposed to as much sun during late summer and fall as during spring and early summer.
If your location faces north or has considerable shade, very few vegatables can be grown successfully. Some of the best flowering plants for subdued light include wax begonias, coleus, impatiens and fuchsia.
Drainage holes may become stopped up and accumulation of water and exclusion of oxygen may cause root rot. The plant wilts during the heat of day and recovers overnight. This is an indication of damaged roots being unable to provide enough moisture. Root rot is favored by high soil moisture and high soil temperatures of 80 degrees F. or more.