Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How to grow Vegetables in Containers:

Vegetables fresh from our containers
Photo by Biswarup Ganguly

Growing vegetables in containers has been practiced for years, but if you are a first time gardener this might be for you.  Container gardening is especially useful if you are an apartment dweller because it doesn’t take up much space, and you’d be surprised how much you can grow with this technique.

The best containers for this are wooden tubs or large terra-cotta pots.  You can buy either of these at a garden center, or even your local supermarket in the spring of the year.  Some of these stores even have used whiskey barrels that have been sawed in half.  These make excellent containers for raising vegetables.

You can grow just about any type of vegetable in a container, but you should pick those that are capable of producing the highest yield in the least space.  One of these is tomatoes.  In a large wooden tub you should be able to plant four tomato plants.  If they are supported on tomato stakes, a wooden stake about four feet tall they will produce several bushels of ripe tomatoes.  If you want you can vary the types of tomatoes you grow, but use separate containers for each breed.

The first thing you have to do is prepare your containers for planting.  Be sure they have a drain hole in the bottom, this is important so the plant doesn’t become waterlogged.  Cover the drain hole with something slightly curved like a piece of a broken terra-cotta pot.  Then put about two to three inches of processed gravel, this is a mixture of sand and gravel, into the bottom of the pot.  Place on top of this several inches or sub-soil, this is what lies beneath the topsoil in the ground.  Leave enough room for from four to six inches of potting soil that can be bought at a garden supply shop.  Now your pot is ready to be planted.

You are ready to plant your vegetables that can be either seeds or plants that are already started.  Seeds and plants are readily available from garden supply shops.  You can start some plants yourself by planting them in flats you keep indoors until the weather warms up enough to replant them outdoors in your containers.

When you first start planting add some fertilizer beneath the seeds or plants and cover it first with a small amount of soil so your plants do not come in direct contact with the fertilizer.

During the growing season you will probably have to fertilize the plants during the end of June, and again during mid-August.  It is best to dissolve the fertilizer in some water before applying.  Just apply the fertilizer with regular watering.  The plants will need regular watering throughout the season. 

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