Container Vegetable Gardening Tips and Ideas for Patio Gardens
Tips and Ideas for Small Space Gardens
Do you rent your home, live in an apartment, or have very little yard space? If so, you may feel that growing your own food is impossible, but not so! Container gardens are great for small spaces and they aren't just for flowers and herbs either. With some solid planning and a little ingenuity you can find great ways to grow your veggies in containers on a patio, porch or in a small spot in the yard.
Container Garden Benefits
Smaller and Less Time Consuming
Container gardens can be great for those who only want a few plants and who don't have all the spare time required to keep a full garden. Container gardens require less weeding and don't take long to water and feed.
Easier to Control
Container gardens are easier to control. Many of them are portable, allowing you to move containers as needed to get them out of harsh weather. Since they are not directly in the ground, it is easier to manage weeds and control the amount of water.
They also make organic gardening easier due to the lack of weeding and the ability to better control fungus, disease, and pests naturally.
Creative and Fun
You can use almost anything for a container in a garden, the only requirement is that there is proper drainage. Use old pottery, cans, plastic bins, pots, pallets, etc. There are so many interesting ways to grow a great container garden. For vegetables, nothing is cheaper or easier than 5 gallon paint buckets. They are the perfect size for nice deeply rooted tomatoes. Throw a cage around the edge and your tomatoes have plenty of room to grow and thrive.
Peppers and herbs can be grown in more shallow containers and you can really get creative. There is no better way to up-cycle a lot of things that would otherwise hit the landfill. I've even seen flowers grown in old shoes – how fun.
Tips for a Successful Container Garden
If you are growing in containers, invest in a good soil with good organic compost or all-natural fertilizer. Since containers gardens tend to have smaller yields, a great soil will help ensure you get the most out of your plants. Potting soil tends to have the ideal consistency.
If you are regrowing plants in a container from the previous year, toss the old soil and start fresh. This helps ensure that the soil is disease free. It also makes sure the soil is aerated so that plants can grow well. Old soil and root matter can become compacted and negatively impact the growth of your current years plants.
Your container vegetable garden should get several hours of direct sunlight per day – at least 6-8. Be sure you are placing your containers in the best locations, where there is plenty of sun and also near a water source. If you have areas that are more shady than sunny, don't fear there are plants like lettuce that can work there also. Lettuce is a great container plant – who doesn't want to pick a fresh salad for dinner?
Small spaces are great for companion planting. Throw a basil plant in with your tomato plant and you will have the best tasting tomatoes ever. There are several varieties of plants that thrive when they are placed close together, look for strong companion plants when planning your garden.
Great Vegetable Container Garden Ideas
This guide has everything you need to know about growing great plants in containers!
Container Garden Challenges
Vegetables grown in containers will not have the same yield as those grown in the ground. That doesn't mean you won't still get plenty of veggies, but if you are used to growing in the ground and decide to go to containers, be prepared for the reduction.
It is easy to over-water plants in containers and experience root rot. Water does not disperse as well through the soil when you grow plants in containers. When water pools around the roots of plants for extend periods of time, root rot and plant death may result. When you grow vegetables in containers, you want to water gently and less often than you would with plants in the ground.
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© 2013 Christin Sander
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