by Debra Wyatt
(last updated May 8, 2020)
When you are limited by space and still want a vegetable garden, consider gardening in a container. Whatever space that you have available you can grow a garden in a container such a doorstep, balcony, patio, hanging baskets and even a window sill can still produce plenty of vegetables.
There are plenty of reasons for planting a container garden. One of the great things about container gardening is that it allows you more flexibility with your gardening than traditional gardening does. The plants are also moveable; this can come in handy if there is an early frost. All you need to do to protect them is to move the plants inside at night. Container gardening also comes in handy if you want a garden but plan on moving before the end of the season; just move the plants with you.
When trying to decide on what type of vegetables to grow in containers, almost all of the typical vegetables that grow in a backyard garden will grow well in a container. There are, however, some vegetables that grow better than others. Some of the choice vegetables to grow include tomatoes, green onions, beans, lettuce, peppers, squash, parsley, radishes, and eggplants.
Most anything can be used for your gardening containers: buckets, wooden boxes, wire baskets; you really are only limited by your imagination. It doesn't really matter what is used as long as the container holes at the bottom allow for proper water drainage. One hole is adequate as long as it is at least 1/2 inch in diameter. Using a newspaper to line the bottom of the container will keep the soil in the container while allowing for adequate drainage. Place the containers on something that will not block the drainage; blocks work great for this. There is one thing that you need to be sure of: that the container never held products that were toxic to plants or people.
The size of the container does matter. For large plants that require more space (like tomatoes) you will need to use a larger container; something that will hold five gallons for each plant. If you need to you can use a two-gallon container, but the plant will require a lot more attention. Smaller plants can get by in a gallon container. The one thing that you will want to avoid would be using containers that have narrow openings.
The color of the container should also be a light color. Darker colors absorb heat which gives the potential of harming the roots of the plants because the container will get too hot.
When doing a container garden, remember that the plants need to be watered more frequently than a traditional garden. As the days get warmer and the plants grow, the need for more water grows as well. Check the container every day to see if it needs water.
When gardening in containers a synthetic mix works better than soil. The synthetic mix can be purchased at the garden store. The synthetic mix allows the plants to get the air and water that they need.
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