Do you have a small yard or garden, but really want to grow those delicious, fresh vegetables?
Container vegetable gardening may be the only solution. You can specify the space you need for a fertile vegetable garden in containers on any sunny windowsill, balcony, patio, or even front or back door.
Container vegetable cultivation can also be a solution if your soil is poor or you are worried about diseases or insects spreading from the soil. Let’s see what you need.
First, select the right vegetables; choose plants that don’t take up too much space, such as carrots, radishes, and lettuce, or plants that bear fruit for a period of time, such as tomatoes and peppers. If you choose these varieties, you will make the most of the space and containers in your garden.
Although you can choose dwarf varieties or those that produce an early crop, nurseries and plant companies now offer many choices that are only bred for containers.
It can also affect how much sunlight reaches the plants that are best grown in the garden; vegetables grown for their fruit need at least 6 hours of full, direct sunlight a day, and 8-10 hours is optimal. Root plants like carrots and leafy plants like spinach and lettuce are good for partial shade.
Any type of container can be used for vegetables; clay, wood, plastic and metal pots all work.
However, there are additional requirements for containers: they must be large enough to keep the plants mature; they must have adequate drainage and sufficient soil without spillage; and if you reuse containers, they must not contain substances or products that may be toxic to humans.
Ideal containers include barrels, cut-out milk jugs, window boxes and even plastic-lined clothes baskets.
If you want to build your own wooden containers, redwood and cedar are the most rot-resistant. Whatever type of tank you use, make sure it is properly drained; pierce holes in the bottom to allow the water to drain. Finally, make sure the containers are at least 6-8 inches deep to leave enough space for the roots.
Fill your pots with a light flowerpot mixture – never use land from your yard or garden because it contains too much clay to provide too little air for the roots.
Ideal for any packaged potting soil from the local garden center. Now plant your container plants, at the same time plant them in your garden and sow the seeds or plant the transplants, just like in your garden.
Label the crops and thin the seedlings for the right distance if your plants have two or three leaves.
For crops like tomatoes or even peppers, be sure to place stalks or cages when the plants are small to avoid later root damage.
Container plants need to be watered and fertilized more often than if they were planted in a normal garden; this is because there is less soil to retain water and nutrients, and if watered frequently, it can also wash out some of the nutrients.
Follow the instructions on the tank to apply the fertilizer; Miracle Gro is a great option for container plants.
What are some of the common varieties of our favorite vegetables that are grown in your containers?
For tomatoes, Bush Early Girl, Celebrity and Jetstar are all good varieties, or try Patio Hybrid or Little Sun Yellow for smaller tomatoes.
For peppers, Bell Boy or Lady Bell are great choices, and if you want to grow hot peppers, try Cajun Belle.
Try Patio Picklet or Pickle Bush for cucumbers and Pic-N-Pic or Zucchini Elite for summer squash.
But don’t limit yourself – try growing eggplant, radish, spinach, green beans and beets. There are even a number of corn cobs, On Deck, which was only developed for potted cultivation; available from Burpee.
Try growing some vegetables in pots; they arouse interest in the deck or patio and offer a great alternative to planting an entire garden.