Container Vegetable Gardening 101

Build a container garden for vegetable gardening using full sun perennials and root vegetables.

| March/April 2015

Freshly harvested garden vegetables — you can’t beat ’em. You might think you need a good garden spot to grow them, but you don’t; you can grow delicious vegetables in containers almost anywhere. For people who live in the city, or even in an apartment with a deck, a container garden can supply fresh vegetables during gardening season. And even if you do have that garden plot, you can expand the variety of plants you are growing by establishing an additional container garden.

I have a full-size, in-ground garden, but it gets a bit of shade in the afternoon. The sunniest spot on my property is my driveway, so I’ve used container gardening to grow a lot of veggies that do best in full sun. These include tomatoes, peppers, corn, pole beans, squash, hops, and all sorts of herbs — basil, coriander, mint, etc.

Pick perfect containers

When planning an in-ground garden, you first decide on the layout. With a container garden, you can worry about that later, since the containers are movable. As the growing season progresses, you can arrange them to account for changes in the patterns of sun and shade, or if one plant begins to shade another.

Your first step when planting a container garden is to decide what you’re going to grow, and then select appropriately sized containers. With the right-sized container, you can grow almost any common garden vegetable. Root vegetables or tubers can be more difficult, as they require containers large enough to hold both the vegetable and the roots. Likewise, large cucurbits like pumpkins and watermelons produce vines that root at every node, and growing full-sized pumpkins or melons in containers is difficult. However, the vast majority of common garden veggies are easy to grow and will turn out great.

Choose the right container

From the standpoint of plant health, the best solution is to select a container large enough so the roots just barely reach the sides and bottom when the plant reaches maturity. However, for most vegetables, this would require large containers and limit the amount of plants you could grow in a given area. In practice, you can grow vegetables in containers that restrict root growth somewhat, as long as you pay attention to watering and fertilization.

For upright plants or trellised plants, you can get some idea of how much space their roots require by reading seed catalogs and noting the recommended row spacing for the plants. Take the distance between seeds or transplants in a row and divide by two to yield the diameter of a container that should be a good compromise between crowding the roots and taking up too much space — and potting mix, soil, fertilizer, compost, etc. — in your container garden.

2/23/2015 9:51:03 PM

What a beautiful container garden along with its lovely fencing that has created a secured and greenery ambiance for your yard! First, I would like to give thanks to those architects who have done this striking project. I am absolutely in love with the work that was done. I deal with California Fence Company that delivers only highest quality products with discount pricing in and around California. Nice share.

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