Container Vegetable Gardening

June 29, 2018

Container Vegetable 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.

Even if you want your favorite full-size variety, if you give it a large enough pot and plenty of soil and water, it will grow just fine and reward you with plenty.

Vegetables that take up little space, such as carrotsradishes, and lettuce, or crops that bear fruits over a long period, 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. For more accessories for your garden just visit here: gardensonata.com.au.

How about a Summer Salad container? Plant a tomato, a cucumber, and some parsley or chives all in a large (24-30 inch) 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.

Since your vegetable plants will be making their containers home for the season, you want to start them off right.

Make sure there is enough space for them to grow into and choose your soil and site with care. 


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.

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    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. Vegetable plants will die if left sitting in wet soil.

      Color Considerations:

      You should be careful when using dark colored containers outdoors because they absorb heat which could damage the plant roots.

        If you do use dark colored pots, try painting them a lighter color or shading just the container, not the plants.

        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 water.

          There's more on container size under the tips for specific vegetables. Dont foirget to visit here: gardensonata.com.au

          Soil and Fertilizer

          You can use soil in your container vegetable garden, but potting 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 fertilizerat planting will keep your vegetables fed for the whole growing season.

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            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.

              Wind

              Wind can be a real hazard for any container-grown plant, and tall vegetables - like tomatoes or trellised cucumberand squash - become top heavy as they produce fruits.
                Try to place your containers so that they are not in an overly windy location.

                A breeze will provide nice air circulationand help prevent fungal diseases, but a strong wind can topple plants and containers and can also shred leaves and dislodge fruits.
                  If you are gardening on a raised deck or a rooftop, it may be necessary to provide some type of wind block.

                    How to Grow a Plentiful Container Vegetable Garden

                    Growing vegetables in containers is an easy way to experience the flavor and freshness of home-grown vegetables. 

                    Here's a little-known secret: Most vegetables actually grow really well in containers.

                    And by picking the right plants, you can create your own vegetable container garden and grow a fair amount of food in just a few pots! Dont forget to visit here: gardensonata.com.au

                    Picking a Spot for Your Container

                    Most vegetables grown in a container do best in full sun (at least 6 hours of direct sun a day).

                    Tomatoes, peppers, and other varieties that often get diseases usually stay healthiest in an open spot with plenty of air circulation.

                    If you live in a cold climate, you can give your vegetable container garden a head start by placing the pots near a south-facing wall.

                    If you live in a warmer part of the country, be cautious about setting your vegetable container gardens on a cement patio, which may grow too warm for optimum growth.

                    Put larger containers on dollies or carts; you can move them to various locations depending on the conditions at the time.

                    Vegetable Container Garden Materials

                    Not sure what type of container to grow your vegetables in? Don't fret—typically, you'll care more about this than your plants will.

                    Happily, most vegetables aren't fussy about what kind of vegetable container garden they grow in.

                    The only basic requirements is that the vegetable container garden is large enough to hold the plant and that it has drainage holes so excess water can escape.

                    In general, plants in terra-cotta (clay) need more attention to watering for a vegetable container garden than other types of pots, because of the porous nature of the terra cotta.

                    Also think about the color. Dark colors absorb heat—so they may make the soil too warm for some vegetable crops in summer, especially in hot-summer areas.

                    And avoid vegetable container gardens made of treated wood, as it may contain chemical compounds that could be absorbed by your vegetables.
                    When it comes to size, the bigger the pot is, the better, especially for beginners. The reason for this is that large pots hold more soil—and thus, hold moisture longer so you don't have to water as much.

                    Look for vegetable container gardens that are at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches deep.

                    Large flowerpots, half barrels, plastic-lined bushel baskets, window boxes, planters, and large containers (like 5-gallon buckets) work just fine.

                    Some vegetables need particularly large pots to grow in a vegetable container garden. Standard-size tomatoes and vining crops, such as cucumbers, will do best for you in containers 20 inches or more across. 

                    Peppers like pots at least 16 inches in diameter. In a pinch, most will still grow in a 5-gallon or larger container.

                    Plants that grow tall or produce vines—like tomatoes and cucumbers—will be more productive if grown up a support in a vegetable container garden. 

                    A wire cage, inserted into the container at planting time, will do. Use larger, heavier containers for trellised plants to minimize the risk of tipping.

                    What Types of Soil to Use in Containers

                    While your vegetables aren't fussy about the kind of pot they're in, they do care about the potting soil in your vegetable container garden.

                    As is the case with most other types of container gardens, your vegetable container garden will do best in organic potting mixes made for containers.

                    Ask at your nursery for a mix designed for use in larger outdoor containers.

                    Or save money by blending your own vegetable container garden mix. Use equal parts of peat moss, potting soil, and vermiculite, perlite, or clean sand. Fill the containers to within an inch or two of the rim.

                    To determine how much potting mix you'll need, figure: 

                    • 3 pints of soil per 6-inch pot
                    • 3 1/2 gallons of mix per 12-inch pot
                    • 6 1/2 gallons of mix per 20-inch pot

                    How to Plant Vegetables in Containers

                    Plant your vegetable container gardens the same time you would plant in the garden.

                    Depending on what types of vegetable you want to grow, you can start seeds in your containers, grow transplants from seeds started indoors, or purchase transplants from a garden center.

                    Here's a Hint:

                    Start vegetable container garden crops such as beans, corn, carrots, radishes, and spinach, from seeds sown directly in the container.

                    Regardless of whether you are planting seeds or transplants, thoroughly water the container before you plant. Soak the potting mix completely, then allow it to sit for a few hours to drain excess water.

                    Plant seeds according to the package directions. Because not all seeds will germinate, plant more than you need, then thin the excess later. 

                    Set transplants at the same level they were growing in their pot (except for tomatoes, which you can strip off their lower leaves and plant them deeper in the container).

                    After planting, water gently but thoroughly to settle the seeds or transplants. 

                    Keep the soil in your vegetable container garden from drying out as fast by mulching with straw, compost, leaf mold, or a similar material.

                    Care Guide

                    Watering is the most important thing to watch for in your vegetable container garden.

                    So inspect your vegetables regularly to make sure the potting mix hasn't dried out.

                    Here's a hint:

                    Make watering your vegetable container garden easier by installing a drip-irrigation system.

                    It can automatically irrigate your vegetables for you. Starting about a month after planting, feed your vegetables about once a week with a water-soluble fertilizer, following the package directions.

                    Also keep an eye out for weeds and other pests. While plants in containers usually aren't as susceptible to disease as varieties grown in the ground, you'll still want to watch for problems. Remove or treat any plants that show signs of disease or insect damage.

                    Harvest Tips:

                    Harvest is the most satisfying step, and all it takes is a few harvesting tips to get it right.

                    Pick your vegetable container gardening crops as soon as they reach a size where you will enjoy them.

                    Most vegetables are more productive if you harvest early and often. Letting plants "go to seed" will often cause a drop in fruit set. Dont forget to visit here: gardensonata.com.au.

                    At the end of the season, add the vegetable container garden soil to your compost pile.

                    Reusing soil from year to year can spread infections and insect infestations. Thoroughly scrub the container to remove all soil.

                    Rinse in a solution of one part bleach to 10 parts water, then rinse with clean water and store in a dry spot.

                    Top Vegetables for Containers

                    Below are the basic instructions for growing a variety of vegetables in containers. Note that the suggested planting instructions are for optimal growth. You can often grow vegetables in small containers with acceptable results.

                    Beets: Direct seed into a 2- to 5-gallon window box.
                    Broccoli: One transplant per 5-gallon container.
                    Cabbage: One transplant per 5-gallon container. Or with small varieties, one plant per gallon container.
                    Carrots: Direct seed into a 2- to 5-gallon deep container. Thin to 3 inches apart.
                    Cucumber: Two transplants per 5-gallon container. If using vining types, grow on trellis or cage.
                    Eggplant: One transplant per 5-gallon container.
                    Green Beans: Sow directly into a 5-gallon window box.
                    Kohlrabi: Direct seed into a 5-gallon container. Thin to three plants.
                    Lettuce: Direct seed or transplant into 1-gallon or larger container.
                    Onion: Direct seed into 1-gallon or large container. Thin to 2 inches between plants.
                    Peas: Direct seed into 5-gallon container. Grow taller varieties on a trellis.
                    Pepper: Two transplants per 5-gallon container.
                    Radishes: Direct seed into 2-gallon or larger container. Thin to 3 inches apart.
                    Spinach: Direct seed into 1-gallon or larger container. Thin to 3 inches apart.
                    Summer Squash: Direct seed or transplant, two plants per 5-gallon container.
                    Swiss Chard: Transplant or direct seed
                    Tomatoes: Transplant one plant per 5-gallon container.
                    Winter Squash: Direct seed one plant per 5-gallon container.

                     

                    Growing Vegetables in Containers - The Pros and Cons

                    There are a handful of advantages and disadvantages to growing vegetables in containers. For gardeners with a limited amount of space, such as an apartment, growing vegetables in containers may be the only option.

                    You can also get creative with the placement of containers, such as hanging baskets or indoors gardens near the windowsill. This article outlines some of the major pros and cons of starting a container based vegetable garden.

                    The Benefits of Growing Vegetables in Containers

                    Containers require very little space

                    You can start growing vegetables in containers with as little as 1 square foot for space.

                    It’s the ideal choice for people living in small urban spaces such as apartments, townhomes, and condos.

                    Containers are Movable

                    Growing veggies in containers allows you to move your garden as needed. If your plants require more sunshine, you can easily adjust their placement to as the sun changes paths.

                    You can easily protect your plants if adverse weather becomes a problem.

                    Fewer Weeds to Pull

                    Containers require far less maintenance than a full vegetable garden.

                    When your plants are isolated, they do not have the level of weed growth you have with a full blown garden.

                    Less Physical Effort Needed

                    If you suffer from back problems or any other physical disability, growing in containers will limit the amount of tilling, weed pulling, and shoveling needed. This can be a huge benefit for gardeners with physical limitations.

                    Creative Options

                    With containers, you can easily change the arrangements and design of your garden. 

                    You can experiment with different plants, arrangements, and even grow flowers among your veggies.

                    Changing this in a traditional garden requires ten times the effort.

                    The Disadvantages of Growing Vegetables in Containers

                    Constant Water Required

                    Containers to not retain water for long periods of time.

                    Unlike a backyard garden, vegetable roots in containers cannot tap into water present in the soil.

                    You can expect to water every single day, and sometimes twice per day in the spring and summer.

                    Containers can be Expensive

                    If you plan on buying the aesthetically pleasing containers, expect to shell out a decent amount of cash. 

                    Most higher end containers will run you $50 to $200, depending on size and

                    Soil Needs to be Replenished

                    The soil in containers need to be replenished every year. Fertilizing the existing soil is not sufficient to maintain optimum growing conditions in contains.

                    This can be a tedious task, and may be a great deal of work with large containers.