I have been container gardening for years. It started back when I lived in an apartment. I had no ground, so I had to plant vegetables in pots on my balcony. The harvest was not huge, but it was very satisfying to pick fresh peppers and lettuce leaves to put in my dinner salads. Gardening in containers can be done anywhere you have sun!
But this was just the beginning of my adventures in container gardening!
My next bout with container gardening was when I moved to a house in the suburbs. It had a rather small back yard, but some nice flower beds, so I got rid of the blooms and planted bell peppers, chives and radishes. I wanted to plant so much more, but I had no more space, so I decided to go with containers! I started with what I call a greens tower. I wrote about that in my post How I Made My Vertical Salad Greens Garden
Then I moved on to planting Romaine lettuce in pots which I wrote about in my post How to Grow Your Own Lettuce - No Land Needed.
After that, I got out my large flower pots, about 10 to 12 inches accross and planted sweet banana peppers, green beans, broccoli and a large tomato plant. This is what the containers looked like after growing for a little while:
This container garden was pretty successful. I had lettuce all summer and fall, enough green beans to feed us and freeze a few bags, not to mention fresh peppers for cooking and salads. I was hooked on container gardening!
Over the years I have made a few discoveries about container gardening, from trial and error. Use these tips and save yourself a lot of grief!
- Never use metal pots, they overheat and can burn and cook the roots.
- Make sure the container has generous drainage holes. Without proper drainage, the soil stays wet and roots will rot. Rocks or gravel, in the bottom of the pot, do NOT take the place of drainage holes and are a bad idea.
- Use good potting soil, never just dig up dirt from the ground. Do not buy top soil!
- Fill the whole pot with dirt, don't put filler junk in the bottom. The more dirt in the pot, the less you have to water and the more medium you have to retain fertilizer, which help promote root growth.
- Mix slow release fertilizer in the soil once a year.
- Save the tags that come with your plants. Read them and take the information to heart. It is very important if you want healthy plants and lots of produce. Stick them in the container, for handy reference.
- Water in the morning or evening, and not in the heat of the day.
- Mix a pinch of fish of emulsion in your watering can once a week to keep the soil nutrient rich.
- Make sure veggies have at least 6 hours of direct sunlight for best produce.
- If a plant looks bad, dont be afraid to trim, Trim, TRIM! If you have a plant that looks like it is dying, cut off all the brown parts and trim back the whole plant. Don't be afraid to cut a lot of it off, it may be the only thing that saves it.
Have fun gardening!