Friday, November 27, 2009

Container Gardening


You don't need a plot of land to grow fresh vegetables. Many vegetables lend themselves well to container gardening. With some thought to selecting bush or dwarf varieties, almost any vegetable can be adapted to growing in a pot. Vegetables that take up little space, such as carrots, radishes and lettuce, or crops that bear fruits over a long period of time, such as tomatoes and peppers, are perfect for container vegetable gardens.

What you can grow in a container vegetable garden is limited only by the size of the container and your imagination. How about a Summer Salad container? Plant a tomato, a cucumber and some parsley or chives all in a large (24-30") container. They grow well together and have the same water and sun requirements. By late summer they might not be very pretty, but they'll keep producing into the fall. This makes a great housewarming present, too.


Containers and Pots for Vegetable Gardens
Selecting Containers: Containers for your vegetable gardens can be almost anything: flower pots, pails, buckets, wire baskets, bushel baskets, wooden boxes, nursery flats, window planters, washtubs, strawberry pots, plastic bags, large food cans, or any number of other things.
Drainage: No matter what kind of container you choose for your vegetable garden, it should have holes at the base or in the bottom to permit drainage of excess water.

Color Considerations: You should be careful when using dark colored containers because they absorb heat which could possibly damage the plant roots. If you do use dark colored pots, try painting them a lighter color or shading just the container.

Size: The size of the container is important. For larger vegetables like tomatoes and eggplants, you should use a five gallon container for each plant. You can grow these plants in two gallon containers, however you need to give the plants considerably more attention.


Soil and Fertilizer
You can use soil in your container vegetable garden, but the synthetic mixes are much better. Peat-based mixes, containing peat and vermiculite, are excellent. They are relatively sterile and pH adjusted. They also allow the plants to get enough air and water. Mixing in one part compost to two parts planting mix will improve fertility.
Using a slow release or complete organic fertilizer at planting will keep your vegetables fed for the whole growing season.


Watering
Pots and containers always require more frequent watering than plants in the ground. As the season progresses and your plants mature, their root system will expand and require even more water. Don't wait until you see the plants wilting. Check your containers daily to judge the need for water.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

AmpleHarvest.org is a national campaign to diminish hunger by enabling farmers/backyard (patio-rooftop-kitchen too) gardeners to share their bounty with neighborhood food pantries.

The site is free both for the food pantries and the gardeners using it.

More than 1,150 food pantries nationwide are already on it and more are signing up daily.

It has received backing from the USDA, Google, many faith and service organizations, bloggers, writers, etc.

You can help diminish hunger in America... without spending a dime.

If you are a gardener with extra produce, please use the site to share what you wish with a community pantry.

If you belong to a house of worship that hosts a food pantry/bank/shelf, please let them know about AmpleHarvest.org and encourage them to
register on the site (remind them it is free).

Please print the flier at http://www.ampleharvest.org/InformingTheGardener.php and ask your local nursery/gardenshop etc. to post it in a conspicuous location. You can also post it on the bulletin board of your local supermarket and library.

Lastly, please email/call/Tweet your friends around the country and let them know about AmpleHarvest.org.

AmpleHarvest.org enables people to help their community by reaching into their backyard instead of their back pocket.

Growing Tomatoes said...

Container gardening is ideal for gardening-newbies or people who don't have space. It important to use big enough container (the bigger the better) and to water properly!