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Growing Vegetables in Containers

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Growing Vegetables in Containers

My 17-year-old son and I like to grow vegetables (tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers). It has been our project every summer since he was a little boy. The problem is that in my current backyard I have all shade (north facing) but my front yard is full sun (south facing). Container gardening is my answer to this problem. It’s easy, affordable and it offers you greater control. I line my pots in front of my garage. They get protection from the weather and still have a sunny exposure.

I have discovered that large containers are best. Something 12-to-18 inches deep is a good size. I like to plant as deep as possible. There is plenty of space for the root system and it holds moisture longer. I use 5 gallon paint buckets from the hardware store. Drainage is very important. Since I use paint buckets, I drill at least 6 holes in the bottom and 6 holes in the sides about 1”-2” from the bottom. I like to line the bottom of my pots with a coffee filters; this keeps the soil from running out when watering and the pests from crawling in the container.

You have your container with drainage; now the soil. This is where I have learned to splurge. Fafard Complete Container Mix is a light potting mix with perlite, compost, peat moss and a slow release fertilizer. This is my first year using this mix and my plants are very happy.

Now it is time to pick your plants. Most vegetables do well in containers. Think about the crop yield when choosing vegetables. For example, how much will it produce in a container, is it cheaper to buy from a farmer market or grocery store, and space for the containers. When selecting tomatoes, do you want determinate (fruit all at once; bushy) or indeterminate (fruit all summer; vining)? Either will do well in containers. I don’t like to stake so I use determinate tomatoes.

A list of the Top 10 Vegetables for Containers includes herbs, beans, chard, lettuce, radish, spinach, greens, peppers and tomatoes. Some other good for containers are:

Cucumbers Cucumis sativus – Easy to grow and produce a large yield with the right growing conditions. Plant them in early summer  - they hate the cold.

Scallion/Green Onion Allium fistulosum – Easy to grow. Can be grown from seed or saved from a regular onion root section that you removed when cooking.

Zucchini Cucurbita pepo – Fast-growing, part of the squash family. Makes a large bushy spreading plant and big fruits. Plant may need some support.

Strawberries Fragaria ‘Ozark Beauty’ – They need good quality compost, well-drained soil. First year crop will be small but will yield more the following one. Use tomato fertilizer and don’t let them dry out.

| Categories: Spring | Tags: vegetables, containers | View Count: (2973) | Return
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