Nearly all types of vegetables that you grow in a backyard garden can be grown in a container. A window sill, a patio, a balcony, or a well-lit area of the house are all well-suited areas for container gardening. Some plants that have vining properties (such as pole beans and cucumbers) will require more space than others, but good candidates are listed below:
- Green Onions
- Green Beans
- Parsley (or any herbs)
- Leaf Lettuce
The first thing you’ll need is a good soil or growing medium. Synthetic soils are much better because they’re composed of sawdust, wood chips, peat moss, perlite, vermiculite or any other medium free of disease and weeds. The superiority of this type soil for container gardening is that it is light weight, holds moisture, but also drains well.
You can make your own synthetic soil by mixing the following ratios:
- 1 bushel of vermiculite
- 10 Tablespoons of lime
- 1 cup of a garden fertilizer (such as 6-12-12 or 5-10-10)
- 1 bushel peat moss
- 5 Tablespoons of 0-20-0 (superphosphate)
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and wet the soil down before planting any transplants or seeds. When planting transplants from seeds you’ve started, make the transition from the starter pots to the larger container when there are two or three true leaves on the plant.
Fertilize your plants with a growing solution or time-release pellets like Osmocote®. It’s very easy to burn your tender plants with too much fertilizer, but container plants need fertilizer on a more regular basis than those out in a garden bed. Watering your plants once a day should be sufficient, but if they’re in a fast-growing cycle, twice a day may be necessary. Monitor and adjust as needed. Remember, all vegetables need full sun for growth (although leafy vegetables tolerate a little shade better than other crops).
Next time we’ll discuss some of the common problems that you may run up against in container gardening. Until then, get started and see what kind of bounty you can grow in a limited space!