How to avoid common problems with containerized vegetable growing

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Sometimes there are simply not enough resources to grow vegetables in a traditional garden. Lack of time or space or poor soil conditions can make container gardening a more realistic solution. And there are some benefits to container gardening – you can fully control the soil conditions, solar radiation and irrigation order.

On the other hand, there are common pitfalls that gardeners encounter when using containers to grow vegetables. Learn more about common mistakes in container gardening and try to avoid them this summer.

Common problems

  1. Select the right size containers for the right plants. The biggest problem for novice gardeners trying to grow vegetables in containers is that they choose containers that are too small for a mature plant, leading to growth retardation and a lack of fruit production. Use Texas A&M Agrilife Extension guidelines to select the right size containers for your vegetable plants – * Name (tank size, number of plants) – Types:
    • Broccoli (2 gallons, 1 plant) – Packman, Bonanza and others
    • Carrots (1 gallon, 2-3 plants. Use pots 2 inches deeper than the length of the carrot) – Scarlet Nantes, Gold Nugget, Little Finger, Baby Spike, Thumbelina
    • Cucumber (1 gallon, 1 plant) – Burpless, Liberty, Early Spicy, Crispy, Salty
    • Eggplant (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Florida Market, Black Beauty, Long Tom
    • Green beans (minimum 2 gallons, space plants 3 inches apart) – Topcrop, Greencrop, Contender, (Pole) Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder
    • Green Onions (1 gallon, 3-5 plants) – Beltsville Bunching, Crysal Wax, Evergreen Bunching
    • Lettuce (1 gallon, 2 plants) – Buttercrunch, Salad Bowl, Romaine, Dark Green Boston, Ruby, Bibb
    • Parsley (1 gallon, 3 plants) – Evergreen, Washing Ruffled
    • Pepper (5 gallons, 1-2 plants) – Yolo Wonder, Keystone Resistant Giant, Canape, Red Cherry (hot), Jalapeno
    • Radish (1 gallon, 3 plants) – Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe, (white) icicle
    • Spinach (1 gallon, 2 plants) – Any kind
    • Squash (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Dixie, gold neck, early fertile straight neck, Zucco (green), diplomat, senator
    • Tomatoes (5 gallons, 1 plant) – Patio, Pixie, Tiny Tim, Saldette, Toy Boy, Spring Giant, Tumbling Tom, Small Fry
    • Turnips (2 gallons, 2 plants) – Any kind
  2. Select the appropriate type of tank. All types of containers have advantages and disadvantages, but some work better than others in vegetable gardening, and some should not be used at all. Terracotta pots are a favorite, but it should be noted that the soil dries out faster and needs to be watered more often to properly water the plants. Plastic containers retain water much better; however, they are not very forgiving when we overwater the plants. All plastic containers used in the container garden must have drainage holes. If they are not there yet, drill some. Containers containing lead or other toxic substances should be avoided as these substances may seep into the soil and food. In addition, black and metal pots should be avoided as they retain heat and can fry the roots of plants in the sun.
  3. Water your plants often. Plants in containers dry out much faster than in traditional gardens because there is not enough soil to retain moisture. If it is hot and dry in mid-summer, inconsistent watering can cause the plants to wilt and die, or cause other problems such as end-of-flower rot due to insufficient nutrient uptake. They may need to be watered in the morning and evening to get enough water.
  4. Do not water too much. Too much watering can cause root rot and destroy the entire plant. If the leaves of the plant start to turn yellow, their roots are too wet and soaked. Read more tips on the water requirements of each plant How to irrigate our vegetable garden.
  5. Optimizes the soil. There are a few things to consider when choosing a soil. First, you need to consider what the goal is – fruit production. Many potting soils contain a lot of nitrogen and stimulate stem and leaf production. Soil suitable for vegetable crops contains a better nutrient balance to encourage fruit production. Choose soil that is designed for vegetable gardening or vegetable gardening in raised beds. The second aspect is the consistency of the soil. Because of this, you don’t have to worry so much about buying soil instead of using the soil from your yard. Heavy clay soils do not condense easily and can cause water retention problems. If you plan to mix your own soil, be sure to add plenty of compost and some fertilizer to ensure good drainage and a healthy start to the plants.
  6. Fertilize regularly. As mentioned above, too much nitrogen can actually hinder fruit production because it stimulates growth in other areas of the plant. Choose a fertilizer that contains more phosphorus and less nitrogen to help produce fruit. Also, make sure you fertilize your plants regularly, as container plants can use the nutrients in their soil regularly. Apply liquid fertilizer twice a month.
  7. Choose plants that thrive in the available sunlight. If you only grow vegetables in an apartment, balcony, patio, or outdoor area where there is less sunlight, choose plants that thrive in these conditions — leafy greens and many herbs prefer partial shade. Similarly, if you have a sunny spot, choose plants that prefer full sunshine – tomatoes, pumpkins and cucumbers enjoy all day.

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Sara Welch

Sara is an online content producer for Farm and Dairy. Growing up in Portage County, Ohio, he graduated from Kent State University with a degree in journalism. She loves spending time with her daughter, traveling, writing, reading and spending the outdoors.

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