• Container Gardening for Vegetables
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at

  • Many living spaces do not have ample room to plant vegetable gardens. One option is container gardening. Nutritious and fresh vegetables can be grown in containers on a balcony, patio or windowsill.

    Crop Selection

    Containers are ideal for almost any vegetable that would thrive in a backyard garden. Vegetables that are specifically suited for containers are peppers, green onions, tomatoes, beans, radishes squash, parsley, cucumber, eggplant and beans. Carrots also grow well in containers if the container is deep enough (eight inches).


    Ideal Soil For Container Gardening

    Container-grown vegetables do best in soil made of woodchips, sawdust, perlite, vermiculite or a variety of other materials. The four most important criteria regardless of the soil mixture are that it 1) be free of weed seeds and disease, 2) can retain nutrients and moisture, 3) can drain well and 4) is lightweight. Many products contain nutrients in the soil so fertilizing is unnecessary.

    Containers

    You can use just about any container to plant your vegetables including bushel baskets, wooden boxes or containers specifically designed for container gardening. Green onions, parsley and herbs thrive in pots from six to 10 inches in size. Peppers, tomatoes and eggplant are best suited in larger containers.

    Adequate drainage is very important for container growing. Place about one inch of gravel in the bottom of the container before adding soil. This will help improve drainage. If your container doesn't have drain holes, drill them yourself-- about 1/4 to 1/2 inch on the bottom.

    Seeding and Transplanting

    You can purchase transplants from your local garden center or nursery to place in your container, but you can also grow the plants from seed at home. Use a baking pan to germinate your own seeds. Fill the pan with soil and plant the seeds to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.

    Place the baking pan in an area that receives adequate warmth and sunlight about four to eight weeks before planting them in the final container. The general rule is to transplant the seeds once they show their first two or three real leaves. Be careful when transplanting so you don't injure the root system.

    Light

    Full sunlight is ideal for almost all vegetables. However, some plants can do well in partial shade: lettuce, greens, cabbage and spinach. Root vegetables actually prefer more shade than those that bear fruit. An advantage to container growing is that you can move the containers as needed.

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