Container gardens are a viable alternative to growing in the ground for many plants. Even vegetables do well in pots and the set up pays off in winter when you can extend the growing season by bringing them indoors. Summer fruiting plants will need grow lights for winter gardening, but whether you plan to grow all year or just need the space, container gardening is easy to do.
The first consideration is to make sure your container is large enough. Dirt supports the plant and it’s also where they obtain all the nutrients needed to go from seed to vegetable or flower. Plants in the yard might grow roots several feet deep but the most important are the first foot or so. This means a container is sufficient for most depth needs.
Vegetables like tomatoes can be grown in 12 inches of soil as far as the root needs. But the total soil amount for good nutrition is a five gallon pot. Peppers need about the same. Lettuces on the other hand, need so little depth that a shallow window box will do fine. Make sure it’s about eight inches deep and the lettuces will be happy. Parsley can go in this size too along with several other shallow root herbs like oregano.
Watering consistently is another item to focus on. The soil in pots will dry out much faster than in the ground. The ground can hold water a few feet down even if it has not rained in a while. Plants that grew in the yard will have roots that reach this depth for the same reason. But in a pot, it’s up to you to emulate mother nature. Never let the pot dry out and pay close attention if using clay pots. These can dry from the outside in since they are porous. Check the containers daily, if possible, in high heat weather.
Pollination is something that’s often overlooked in vegetable gardening since so many varieties are self-fertile. But some need insects so containers indoors might need time outdoors. Read the seller’s or seed packet instructions to see if there are pollination needs. Some larger plants like fruit can be difficult to move, so be aware ahead of time.
Nutrition for plants varies by type. The best way to start your container plants off is to use fresh soil made specifically for the plant type and organic mulch. Apply fertilizer throughout the growing season, again, based on the grower’s instructions.
Container gardening is both easy and rewarding. It’s also space efficient and has the potential to extend your growing season. With only a few steps, you don’t need to live on acres of farmland to have luscious plants and garden fresh food for your table.