don't have the space for a garden: try container vegetable gardening

You want to grow some veggies, container vegetable gardening is your answer. If you don't have the space or inclination for a large garden just choose containers.

You can grow vegetables in containers on your balcony, up the side of the steps, in hanging pots, on your patio, your deck or anywhere you can fit a container.

Container vegetable gardening is very rewarding.Vegetable gardening in containers
Image by Counselling from Pixabay

where to put your container

  • Put your vegetable containers where they have adequate sunlight. Vegetables grow the best with a minimum of six hours of sun per day.

If you live in a city apartment or condo you may do your container vegetable gardening on the rooftop, a balcony, in the alleyway, on the sidewalk or where ever they look good.

Some people do container gardening out of necessity. If your property has poor drainage, container vegetable gardening will solve that problem. Or if you have poor soil, plant your vegetables in good soil in a container.

Originally I planted some fruit and vegetables in tubs in the backyard to keep the dog from running over the vegetables. Then I realized how much easier it is for a senior to take care of plants that are high up, instead of at ground level.


choosing your containers

  • You may choose your containers for appearance. What will look good with the color of your house or what will look good on your patio table.

You can grow vegetables in just about anything that will hold soil; pots, pans, buckets, tubs, whiskey barrels, livestock water tanks, an old sink or bath tub, a wheel barrel or build your own containers.

Grow your vegetables in any container large enough to hold the roots.You may choose your containers for appearance
Image by Engin_Akyurt from Pixabay
  • Choose containers that are large enough to hold the roots system of your vegetables. Large plants like tomatoes and zucchini squash need at least 12". Smaller plants can get by in shorter pots.

If the container is used, fine out how it was used previously. We don't want to plant our vegetables in a container that contained toxic things like paint, pesticides or other chemicals.

Five gallon buckets are great for container vegetable gardening. They are readily available and they are easy to move around with their handy handles.

Smaller container will be easier to move around. If you have large containers you may want move, consider putting them on wheels or casters.

  • Make sure your containers have adequate drain holes. This may mean drilling holes in the bottom of plastic buckets and tubs.

Use a 1/2" or 3/4" auger bit and drill several holes in the bottom of a bucket. A larger tub should have at least a 1" hole every six inches. Some people like to drill the holes on the sides, just above the floor of the container.

Some of the clay or ceramic pots for sale don't have any drainage holes in the bottom. Use a masonry bit to make their drain holes. Drilling into a ceramic pot with a regular drill bit may cause it to crack, so use a masonry bit.


container soil

  • Your best bet for soil is to purchase commercial 'potting soil' mixes.

With good soil you can grow your vegetables in any container.Good soil can grow plants in container, even dishpans
Image by Dieter_G from Pixabay

Apart from sun, the soil for your container vegetable gardening is the most important aspect of your gardening.

The container's soil must both drain well and be able to retain moisture. It should not compact and become soggy causing the roots to rot.

Bagged topsoil does not work well in containers. The natural soil from your yard will not work well in containers, unless you mix it with plenty of organic matter; compost, peat moss or vermiculite.

  • Some people make their own containers soil mixes. But if you a limited number of containers, your best bet is to purchase commercial 'potting soil'.

The commercial soil mixes have also been sterilized to kill any pests, diseases and weed seeds.

Fill your containers with the potting soil. Small pots can be filled to about 1" below the rim. Larger pots should be filled to 2" or 3" below the rim. Then when you water, the soil won't wash out of the pot.


what can i grow?

  • Most any vegetables that are grown in a full size garden may be grown in containers.

You may want to start your vegetable seeds indoors.You may start your seeds indoors
Image by FotoRieth from Pixabay

Container vegetable gardening is very rewarding.

Today the plant breeders are coming up with more compact sized vegetable plants. Any of the leafy vegetable such as lettuce, spinach and kale, etc. are naturals for a container.

The larger vegetables like tomatoes and squash now have compact, bush or dwarf varieties that fit very well into a container.

The sprawling vegetables like cucumbers, winter squash and even the melons have bush varieties suitable for container vegetable gardening.

The vine-like plants like cucumbers or beans may be planted next to a trellis, a fence or grown on tomato cages.

vegetables for your containers

beans
beets
carrots
Swiss chard
cucumbers
eggplant
green onions
herbs

kale
kohlrabi
lettuce
melons
mustard
parsley
peanuts
peas

potatoes
peppers
radishes
turnips
spinach
squash
sweet potatoes
tomatoes

  • You can grow fruit in containers, too. You can grow strawberries, figs, bananas, blueberries, raspberries plus more, all in containers.

container vegetable gardening care

watering your vegetable containers

  • Check the soil with your index finger in the soil up to the first knuckle. Does the soil feel dry? If so, it's time to water.

As a general rule container plants require daily watering, with some variations.

Large containers are watered less often. Small containers don't have as much soil, so they dry out faster.

During hot or windy days, the soil can dry out very quickly. So they will probably require extra watering.

During cool or cloudy weather you won't have to water so often.


You may want to build some raised beds for your garden.You may build your own containers
Image by JennyJohansson from Pixabay

fertilizer

How does a plant get its nutrients out of the soil?

A plant picks up the nutrients that are in solution. Dry nutrients have no way to get into the plant.

When we water our containers, we are washing the nutrients out of the container. More about fertilizer

Originally when we planted our container vegetable garden there may have been time-released fertilizer in the mix. Maybe we added compost or rotted manure. These nutrients last from 3 to 4 months.

So after 3 or 4 months we need to give the plant more nutrients - fertilizer.

Since the plant can only pick up nutrients that are in solution. We should fertilize with a soluble fertilizer.

  • Fish emulsion is good or any other liquid fertilizer with equal numbers. Apply the fertilizer every 2 weeks.
  • To prevent burning the vegetable, make sure the soil is moist before applying the fertilizer.

The vegetables can take the liquid fertilizer into the plant for immediate use.

  • This makes happy, healthy plants.

the joy of gardening is fresh garden veggies!

more about vegetables

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  • Cruciferous Vegetables

    Cruciferous vegetables of the cabbage family are keto friendly vegetables, full of good nutrition. They are cool season vegetables grown in the spring and fall.

  • Are Tomatoes a Fruit?

    Are tomatoes a fruit or vegetable? Who cares, fresh tomatoes from our garden are wonderful! Tomatoes are the most popular and simple to grow crop from gardens.



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