If you want to grow your own food but have too little time and space in the garden (or too much pain for weeding and other backward bending jobs), don’t despair. There is a solution to your dilemma and it is simpler than you think.
It’s called container vegetable gardening, but with a little twist. Not just any vegetable seeds are suitable for containers. The trick to container vegetable growing, said Renee Shepherd, owner of Renee’s Garden in Felton, California, is to use seeds from exclusive varieties that have been bred specifically for potted cultivation. These are one of the specialties of the family, wallet and back friendly varieties. Described by:
“What we’ve done is we’ve found varieties of vegetables or herbs that have been bred into solid and produce full-size fruit. It’s easy to grow them in containers, and while they may fall off their sides, don’t spread them everywhere.”
Another benefit, he said, is that the fruit is easily accessible. He pointed to the green beans of the French Mascotte as an example. “It’s perfect for containers because it’s compact, and the beans on top of the plant grow so it’s easy to harvest,” he said. Mascotte, from which Shepherd describes the first true container green bean variety on the seed package, is also extremely resistant to disease, gives a high yield and is an attractive plant because it produces plenty of purple flowers that will become slender and crispy beans.
5 Tips for Successful Container Gardening
Don’t think it’s hard to grow vegetables from seed. He encourages both young and older gardeners, “It sounds complicated, but it’s not.” To succeed, you need to follow a few simple rules, he said:
1. Use a properly sized container
Using a Mascotte, it recommends a tank that is at least 18 inches high and 18 to 20 inches wide. Almost anything you can imagine – large clay pots, wine barrels, various recycled pots – will work. He advised that the small pots would not work. The reason for that, he said, is that there won’t be enough space for production and all he can do is keep them moist.
2. Thin seedlings thoughtfully
Shepherd calls this the most common mistake in container vegetable gardening. “What makes our varieties special, in addition to the right varieties for the containers, is that we give instructions on the package on how many containers to use and how much to place between the plants,” he said. “In other words, they need to be thinned, but we’ll tell you how much.”
As an example of the importance of thinning seedlings, the compact Astia uses zucchini, which has bright speckled green leaves and the zucchini wears in the middle of the plant. “I’ll give you 20-25 seeds. If you planted all of them in a pot and all of them came up and let them all grow, you would probably get almost nothing from the fruit because all the plants would compete for space and nutrients.” So how do you decide which one to keep and which one to throw away? Shepherd says to leave the best-looking plants that are already at a sufficient distance from each other as instructed in the package and discard the rest. As long as they are evenly spaced, it doesn’t matter where they are in the pot, ”he said.
3. Add fertilizer when needed
Shepherd says that although the information on the containers in the flower pots shows that the mixture also contains fertilizer, he should still add the fertilizer after about the first six weeks. He believes this is the time when the fertilizer in the mixture wears out. Plants also need feeding because they are in small volumes and the roots cannot reach out and search for nutrients. He recommends using a good universal fertilizer for vegetables and feeding the plants frequently, about every two to three weeks.
4. Planted with quality soil
Good potting soil is critical and the soil you buy should work well, Shepherd said, especially when supplemented with organic supplements. Do not use garden soil in containers, he advised. This is because it is likely to condense in the summer heat. He said the commercial soil provides even drainage and is free of weeds and pests.
5. Look for signs of irrigation needs
The pots dry out as the days lengthen and the temperature rises. Shepherd’s test to determine if irrigation is needed in the pots by placing your index finger in the ground. If the soil is dry during the first gap, water it immediately.
Diversify your container garden
“You could have a patio garden where you would grow containerized cucumbers, pumpkins and green beans. It’s pretty endless if you take proper care of the plants,” Shepherd says. It encourages you to diversify what you put in your containers.
Vegetable options for container gardening
In addition to beans and zucchini, Shepherd also offers other vegetable seeds that are grown specifically in containers. These include carrots (Chantenay Carrot Short Stuff), cucumbers (container cucumber bush slicer), eggplant (container eggplant little prince), sweet peppers (Container Sweet Pepper Pizza My Heart) and tomatoes (Container Roma Inca Jewels), and several heads and leaves salad. Container Lettuce Garden Babies is a new kind of baby butter salad that twists slowly, is heat-resistant, and makes compact 5-6-inch heads when ripe. Cut and Come Salad Again Renee’s Baby Leaf Blend is a blend of green and red salads in a variety of colors, flavors and shapes. Shepherd gave them the name Cut and Come Again because if they cut them off and leave the base, they will produce a second wave of growth that you can cut for another salad.
Herbs that thrive in containers
Shepherd also offers a wide range of potted herbs, including basil, coriander, dill and parsley, as well as a number of small flowering plants, including edible nasturtium. In fact, he said, “If I had a very small outdoor crop area, like a balcony, and only had room for three or four pots, I’d start with a small herb garden because nothing gives food a taste like fresh herbs. They don’t take up much space. and they taste awesome.I would make an herb garden and possibly a pot of Cut and Come Again to make my own little salad.
Use quality seed and follow the instructions
Shepherd knows that his seeds grow and grow as described in the package because he gets the seeds and because he grows everything he sells in test gardens. The seeds are sourced from all over the world, from countries where producers are experts in certain varieties.
“We buy everything from very small family farms that specialize in one plant,” he said. “I buy a lot of seeds from Europe. So I buy basil from Italy because I think Italians make basil the best. And I buy parsnips from the English and salads from the French. Then I make sure it’s [right] quality and the desired germination rate before packing the seed. ”
He also puts tremendous effort into the descriptions and instructions on the packages, which he himself writes. “These descriptions are based on my growth experience. I’m proud to be writing really complete instructions. That’s why we can write on the Garden Babies salad pack to use such a pot and plant them at such a distance from each other – because we did it!”
If you decide to create a time- and time-saving container garden, Shepherd encourages you to choose something you really want to eat. “Just the right size container and soil, thinning and feeding the plants. I don’t think it’s that complicated and very fun. That’s the most important thing. Besides, it’s a really satisfying experience,” he added. , “you will get in touch with the environment and notice things you would not otherwise have noticed.”