Many living spaces do not have ample room to plant vegetable gardens. One option is container gardening. Nutritious and fresh vegetables can be grown in containers on a balcony, patio or windowsill.
Containers are ideal for almost any vegetable that would thrive in a backyard garden. Vegetables that are specifically suited for containers are peppers, green onions, tomatoes, beans, radishes squash, parsley, eggplant and beans.
Patio, Pixie, Tiny Tim, Saladette, Toy Boy, Spring Giant, Tumbling Tom, Small Fry
Yolo Wonder, Keystone Resistant Giant, Canape, (Hot) Red Cherry, Jalapeno
Florida Market, Black Beauty, Long Tom
Dixie, Gold Neck, Early Prolific Straightneck, (Green) Zucco, Diplomat, Senator
Buttercrunch, Salad Bowl, Romaine, Dark Green Boston, Ruby, Bibb
Beltsville Bunching, Crysal Wax, Evergreen Bunching
Topcrop, Greencrop, Contender, (Pole) Blue Lake, Kentucky Wonder
Cherry Belle, Scarlet Globe, (White) Icicle
Evergreen, Moss Curled
Burpless, Liberty, Early Pik, Crispy, Salty
Note: Consult your local garden center, or horticulturist for more information.
Ideal Soil For Container Gardening
Container-grown vegetables do best in soils like Agromin’s Container Mix. The four most important criteria regardless of the soil mixture are that it 1) be free of weed seeds and disease, 2) can retain nutrients and moisture, 3) can drain well and 4) is lightweight.
Ideally, look for drums, gallon cans, bushel baskets, wooden boxes or tubs to use as containers. Green onions, parsley and herbs thrive in pots from six to 10 inches in size. Peppers, tomatoes and eggplant are best suited in larger containers.
Adequate drainage is very important for container growing. Place about one inch of gravel in the bottom of the container before adding potting soil. This will help improve drainage. If your container doesn’t have drain holes, drill them yourself–about 1/4 to 1/2 inch on the bottom.
Seeding and Transplanting
You can purchase transplants from your local garden center or nursery to place in your container, but you can also grow the plants from seed at home. Use a baking pan to germinate your own seeds. Fill the pan with potting soil and plant the seeds to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
Place the baking pan in an area that receives adequate warmth and sunlight about four to eight weeks before planting seedlings in the final container. The general rule is to transplant the seeds once they show their first two or three real leaves. Be careful when transplanting so you don’t injure the root system.
Full sunlight is ideal for almost all vegetables. However, some plants can do well in partial shade: lettuce, greens, cabbage and spinach. Root vegetables actually prefer more shade than those that bear fruit. An advantage to container growing is that you can move the containers as needed.
Diseases and Insects
Growing in containers doesn’t keep all insects and pests away, but it generally keeps them in check. Inspect your plants regularly for anything that looks out of the ordinary.