Vegetable Container Gardening in Texas
There are a number of reasons that you may want to try vegetable container gardening in Texas.
- In many parts of the state the soil is unsuitable and difficult to work with; containers can be filled with rich soil from the garden center.
- In the summer the baking heat of the sun can cause the hardiest of plants to succumb to the sun’s rays: containers can be moved to a shadier spot.
- If you live on a zero lot, or in an apartment, it can be impossible to find space to garden; containers thrive almost anywhere.
In fact the only downside to container gardening in this state is that you will have to watch that the plants don’t dry out too quickly.
Selecting the Right Variety for Vegetable Container Gardening in Texas
It is important to make sure that the varieties that you select will not only withstand the rigors of container gardening, they will also do well in Texas’ extreme climate conditions.
Some of the varieties that are suggested for container gardening by Texas A & M agricultural department are:
- Toy Boy
- Small Fry
- Yolo Wonder
- Black Beauty
- Gold Neck
- Top Crop
- Kentucky Wonder
There are many other types of vegetables suitable for growing in containers. Always check the seed descriptions and packages. Generally if the seeds are good candidates for container gardening it will say so in the description.
Organic potting soil from your local garden center is a great way to start your seeds and keep them growing. Be sure if you are using your own composted soil that it is free of weed seeds and disease. Materials that work well for vegetable container gardening in Texas are made from combining the following:
- Wood chips
- Peat moss (not a sustainable choice)
- Well rotted manure
If you wish to make your own potting soil that is similar to what you buy at the garden center mix a bushel each of vermiculite and peat moss or coir (Coir is sustainable whereas peat moss is not.). Add to that mixture ½ cup of limestone, ¼ cup 0-20-0, and 1 cup of your favorite garden fertilizer. Mix thoroughly.
Wet down before planting your seeds.
Tips for Preparing the Container
- Any type of container can be used to plant your vegetables. Do be sure that it has not held a toxic substance. Large barrels that have held chemicals, for example, might be inexpensive but are not suitable for container gardening.
- Large plants like tomatoes will need five gallon containers while radishes and other small crops may do well in a crate.
- The container should have good drainage. If the pot does not have drainage holes cut or drill several holes in it.
- Place an inch or two of gravel at the bottom of the container.
- A simple way to container garden is to simply buy plastic bags of potting soil at the garden center, poke drainage holes in the bottom, and planting holes in the top. Now plant your vegetables directly into the bag of potting soil. No weeds!
Growing Vegetables in Containers
Once the vegetables are up and growing they will need to be watered with a liquid fertilizer on a daily basis. This solution can be a manure tea, a foliar fertilizer like Miracle Gro or another fertilizer of your choice that is specifically for container plants.
Texas A & M also suggests that you leach the built up fertilizer out of the soil about once a week by watering the plants until water runs freely out of the drainage holes. If you do this, be sure to allow the plants ample time to dry out a little before resuming your watering schedule.
Follow the recommendations for sun and shade. If your plants seem to be scorching, or the summer is a particularly hot one, try moving the plants to a shady area in the afternoon. In this way you can have fresh, organic vegetables no matter where you live.
Container Gardening in Texas
Vegetables to Grow in Partial Shade
Some vegetables do well in partial shade, especially in the unrelenting heat of the Texas climate much of the year.
- Brussels Sprouts
Vegetables that Require Full Sun
There are a number of vegetables that require full sun to grow and produce well. In Texas, however, it can get too hot for many of them and you may need to put them in a partially shaded area from 3 to 5 p.m. or so, during the worst of the heat. Keep an eye on your plants; they will let you know if you need to do this.
Vegetable container gardening in Texas can be as rewarding as any other type of gardening anywhere. Be careful of which plants you choose, plant them in the best containers and keep them watered and you will have a harvest to be proud of.