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Choosing the Right Pots & Containers To Grow Your Own

Updated on April 4, 2013

Choosing The Best Pots And Containers To Grow Vegetables, Fruits and Herbs

Growing in pots and containers is an excellent way to produce your own food. Many fruit, vegetables and herbs grow very successfully in containers and it does have some distinct advantages over growing in the conventional vegetable patch in the garden. Weeds, pests and diseases are less of a problem, and being able to provide the correct growing medium doesn't require having to manage the conditions of the garden's soil. The edible plants can be grown closer to the house for easy picking, and moved around the garden to maximize the exposure to sunlight and protection from the elements. If disease does take hold, all is not lost. The container compost and affected plants can be exposed of, the containers given a good clean, and the growing can recommence. Not so easy when the disease had affected the soil in the garden’s vegetable patch. Also, growing in containers makes it accessible to the many that don't have access to a garden. Even the smallest outdoor space, balcony, or window sill is sufficient to grow at least a few plants.

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If you do decide to try your hand at growing your own food in containers, some consideration will have to be taken to what pots or containers you will use. The different types all have their good and bad points; the trick is to choose the type that will best suit your needs:

Clay/terracotta

The clay/ terracotta pots symbolize traditional growing. They are attractive pots that have a better appearance when aged. If you are not keen on the brighter orange of new pots, give them a brushing with live yogurt and leave them outside and nature will do its bit, giving them a aged appearance in no time at all. The unglazed pots are porous so will lose moisture; the glazed variety will retain more of the moisture. Terracotta pots provide little in the way of insulation and can crack in cold weather or if care isn’t taken when they are being moved.

Plastic

Plastic pots and containers are cheap to buy and lightweight. Their lightweight quality makes them ideal for using in places where weight has to be restricted or if the grower finds lifting and moving difficult. They are not usually the most attractive of containers though there are types of plastic pots you can buy that mimic other materials quite well. If you are considering using plastic containers originally made for another purpose, ensure they have adequate drainage holes in the bottom and have not contained anything harmful previously.

Metal

Metal pots and containers have become more popular in recent years. Purpose-made metal containers give a modern look to a garden or growing space. The are poor insulators as metal is a good conducter of heat and cold. As with recycled plastic containers intended originally for another purpose, make sure there are enough drainage holes in the bottom and have not contained any harmful substances.

Wood

Wood pots and containers can either have a traditional or modern appearance depending on the style. They provide good insulation. It is possible to make your own containers, with the advantage of making them made to measure, and by lining the inside with plastic to prevent rotting; the longevity of the pots or containers will be improved and water retention will be increased.

Bags

Purpose made bags are now readily available from stores and garden centers. They are ideal for small spaces as they can be packed away when not in use. They won’t last as long as other containers but are ideal if the growing is only on a temporary basis, such as a short period renting a home. They are perfect for when an area in the garden or space is to be used for other purposes when not growing, as the spent compost can be disposed of and the bags folded and stored, taking up minimal space.

Container gardening is an excellent way to be able to enjoy your very own home grown produce even if space is limited. There is nothing better than eating fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs that you have grown yourself. You can't beat them for freshness and taste, and by growing them in pots and containers you can still enjoy them even if you have only a small garden, outdoor space, or just a balcony or sunny windowsill.

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    • jasmith1 profile image
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      Adrian Smith 5 years ago from UK

      So glad - thank you! :)

    • prasonline profile image

      Prasanna Marlin 5 years ago from Sri lanka

      Very Useful article. I don't have a big garden.

      Interesting! Keep on writing