The top two reasons to start a container garden?
1) You’ll get fresh, great tasting vegetables, which is wonderful for your health and can save you money.
2) It’s enjoyable. Gardening is an excellent hobby with a tangible reward. If you had to give up gardening due to smaller spaces, container gardening is a great way to go back to your “roots”!
Here are a few easy steps to get started container gardening:
- Decide where your container garden will go. Find a section of your yard, porch or balcony that gets plenty of sun. Most vegetables will need six or more hours of sun a day.
- To maximize space, consider a “vertical” garden. This means using a shelf, hanging baskets or structure to grow multiple levels of plants. These can be homemade or purchased.
- Assess the season. Depending on where you live, you may be able to grow vegetables year-round, or you may need to grow them only during the warmer months.
What You’ll Need
Choose pots or containers with plenty of drainage. The size of the pot or container will depend on what you plan to grow. Easy veggies to start with include cucumbers, squashes, peas, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, radishes and eggplant.
You’ll need to purchase potting soil and vegetable fertilizer. An extended release, organic fertilizer can be mixed into the potting soil, or you can choose from many other types of fertilizers. Just be sure to read the instructions to avoid over- or under-fertilizing the plants.
You can also choose between starting your plants from seeds or purchasing seedlings. Seeds are less expensive, but seedlings will produce quicker results.
Keep your seed or plant’s information card or packet on hand, as it can provide valuable instruction as to the light, space and water the particular plant needs. Most vegetables will thrive in damp, but not soggy soil.
Container gardening has become quite popular in recent years, meaning expert advice and resources are never far away.
- Find a local garden center or nursery with knowledgeable staff.
- Contact your local extended education center. Many extended educational centers, such as a community college, have gardening experts and even courses.
- The Internet is also an excellent resource, with sites such as ContainerVegetableGarden.org dedicated to container gardening.
These resources can help you determine the best vegetables to plant in your area at the optimum times and answer any questions you have along the way.
While growing your own vegetables does take time and effort, it’s an enjoyable experience with results you can taste. Once you’ve tried a homegrown, vine-ripened tomato, you’ll certainly want to grow your garden, even if it’s one container at a time!