Need some tips on vegetable and container gardening? If you've never tried planting your vegetables in a container then you might want to consider this excellent space saving option!
I remember the time when I didn't have acres of land to work with. It was a challenging bit especially if you want to grow vegetables. If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn't have considered space as a challenge. So if you don't have the land but still want to grow a vegetable garden, container gardening is the answer. Get some tips on how to get started here!
Container Gardening Tips
Gardening in pots and containers is a great way to experiment with garden design. Keep these rules in mind to ensure that your potted plants survive.
Disinfecting your containers
To avoid bugs and plant diseases make sure all plant containers are clean. Wash containers with soap and water, rinse, and let air dry.
A good potting soil contains organic nutrients and should be able to drain well and keep the soil at optimum moisture levels.
Filling your container
Using filler materials in the bottom of pots require less soil and your plants will still flourish. Materials such as packing peanuts, pop bottles, plastic containers, aluminum cans and other recycled items can be used.
Cover Drain Holes
Place a screen over holes to prevent soil and filler material from draining out.
Simple Vegetable Garden Tips for Your Container Garden
Get your vegetable garden going with these tips:
A special thanks to Fix.com for these vegetable gardening tips!
Fruits and vegetables that are best suited for container gardens:
- Green beans/ Runner beans
- Sweet corn
- Green onions
Fruits and vegetables that are not suited for container gardens:
- Fast growing trees
Choosing a Container
In general, plants aren't affected by container choice.
Should be large enough to hold the plant and have drainage holes.
Containers to Avoid:
Porous nature of pots means more attention to watering.
- Dark color
Absorb heat, making the soil too warm for some plants.
- Treated wood
May contain chemical compounds that could be absorbed by plants.
Look for a soil mix designed for outdoor container gardens.
- Make your own by mixing equal parts:
- Peat moss
- Potting soil
- Vermiculite, perlite or clean sand
- Determine how much potting mix you'll need:
- 6″ pot = 3 pints
- 12″ pot = 3 1/2 gallons
- 20″ pot = 6 1/2 gallons
TIP: Fill the containers to within 1-2 inches of the rim.
Plant at the same time you would in the garden
Water the container before planting.
- Soak potting mix completely.
- Let sit for a few hours to drain excess water.
- Water to settle seeds or transplants.
- Keep soil from drying using mulch with straw, compost, or leaf mold.
- Place containers in full sun for at least 6 hours a day.
- If in a cold climate, place plants near a south-facing wall.
- If in a warm climate, plants may overheat if placed on cement.
If plant has deep roots, build bed up higher.
Shallow Rooting (12 – 18″):
- Brussels Sprouts
- Chinese Cabbage
- Kohlrabi, Bok Choy
- Onions, Leeks, Chives
Medium Rooting (18 – 24″):
- Dry Beans
- Pole Beans
- Snap Peas
- Summer Squash
Deep Rooting (24-36″+):
- Lima Beans
- Winter Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
- Use wood, brick, rocks or cement blocks to frame the beds.
- Look for naturally rot-resistant wood like cedar, cypress, or locust. Avoid chemically-treated wood.
- Have long side of the bed face south for equal light exposure.
- Build narrow beds—about 4 feet wide—to easily reach either side, about 4 feet.
If garden has burrowing pests:
- A layer of 1/4 or 1/2-inch hardware cloth (galvanized mesh) can be laid across the bottom, before soil is added.
- Mesh should continue at least 3 inches along the insides of the bed and be stapled in place.
- Add mesh lower if growing root crops.
- Spread the soil evenly across the bed.
- Water bed with an even, fine spray to settle the soil.
- Add more soil. Add lots of organic matter like well-rotted manure, compost, and shredded leaves.
- Mound soil as the organic content increases.
- For difficult soil, mix trucked-in topsoil, organic matter, and mineral amendments.
- Rake the bed once more to even out the soil, then plant.
- Plants may be spaced close together as fertilizer and manure are more concentrated in the small space.
- Water immediately after planting.
- Set stakes or pokes and trellises for tall crops in early spring.
- May require an irrigation system.
1 plant per square foot:
4 plant per square foot:
- Swiss Chard
9 plant per square foot:
- Bush Beans
- Summer Squash
16 plant per square foot:
- Small Beets
Raised Bed Gardening Tips:
- To extend the growing season, place hoops with draped plastic over beds.
- When harvesting, add compost into the empty space, mix, and replant based on the season.
Consider companion planting.
- Some plants hinder nearby plants by hogging resources.
- Pairing plants with an adequate companion can increase garden yields.
Guide to Companion Planting:
Companions: Tomato, Parsley, Basil
Companions: Most Herbs & Vegetables
Companions: Aromatic Herbs, Celery, Beets, Onion Family, Chamomile, Spinach, Chard
Incompatible: Strawberries, Tomato, Dill
Companions: Peas, Lettuce, Onion, Sage, Tomato
Companions: Nasturtium, Onion, Cabbage, Tomato
Companions: Beans, Peas, Sunflower, Radish
Incompatible: Aromatic Herbs, Potato
Companions: Carrots, Radish, Strawberry, Cucumber
Companions: Beets, Carrot, Lettuce, Cabbage
Incompatible: Beans, Peas
Companions: Tomato, Asparagus
Companions: Carrots, Radish, Turnip, Cucumber, Beans
Incompatible: Onion, Potato
Companions: Beans, Cabbage, Horseradish, Marigolds
Incompatible: Sunflower, Cucumber, Tomato
Companions: Peas, Nasturtium, Lettuce, Cucumber
Companions: Strawberry, Fava Bean
Companions: Onion, Marigold, Asparagus, Carrots, Parsley, Cucumber, Basil
Incompatible: Cabbage, Fennel, Potato
Building a Garden Plot
When selecting a location for your plot look for:
- An area that gets 5 to 6+ hours of direct sunlight daily.
- A flat spot of land.
- Mark corners of plot with a stick, rock, or stake.
- Dig as deep as your shovel will allow.
- Till the plot multiple times to break up chunks of dirt.
- Remove unbreakable chunks or rocks with rake.
- Till repeatedly until soil is fine in texture.
- Before planting, you should be able to dig down 6 inches with your hands.
- Sandy loam is the most desirable soil type.
- Test for sandy loam by squeezing a handful of soil into a ball; soil should crumble.
- If soil is sandy or clay based, use comport.
Good soil, sunshine, and drainage are key for a successful garden,
A 10×10 feet plot can yield a variety of vegetables. Here's a sample layout:
Whether you have ample space for a garden plot or just a sunny window for a container garden, homegrown produce can add a fresh, delicious element to your meals. Get growing and try one of these garden this spring.