Growing vegetables in containers

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Container gardens are fun!

For some folks, having a traditional garden is not feasible; whether because of space limitations or because it’s just so much work! There are simpler ways to grow and enjoy your own fresh veggies!

Things You’ll Need:

  • Several suitable containers
  • Garden soil
  • Garden tools
  • Vegetable seeds or starter plants
  • Places to setup containers for adequate sun and access to water.

The traditional garden:
We have, in the past, had regular gardens in our yard. We’d hire someone to come in and till the soil so we could plant potatoes, tomatoes, peas, radishes, squash, cucumbers, beans, peppers, and other tasty veggies. Then we’d spend a lot of evenings and weekends maintaining the garden; weeding, raking, mulching, etc.

Almost worth it:
Traditional gardens, for some, are the only way to go. Some people love to get down on hands and knees and take a lot of pride in keeping their gardens neat, weed-free and productive. But traditional gardens are usually quite a lot of work, and not everyone has time or ambition for all that.

One alternative that we have successfully used is to grow our veggies in containers. Last year, we grew cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and peppers. This year we’re growing potatoes, radishes, lettuce, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, and more!

OK, veggie gardening in containers is not without some effort. You will have to come up with enough garden soil to fill your containers. You could have a local landscaping company dump a small load of topsoil, or you could purchase bags of garden or potting soil at most home centers. Then, of course, you will have to fill all your containers; and you will need to water the plants frequently; unless it rains a lot! You might need to pull a few weeds now and then, since those weed-seeds find their way into any garden, container or otherwise. The good news is that weeds don’t normally take over in containers like they sometimes do in traditional gardens.

Selecting containers:
This year, we purchased three 18 gallon wash-tubs from our local home center to try growing our potatoes, plus we already had several large containers from before, which we are planting our pepper, tomato, cucumber and squash plants in. We also are using some long, narrow window-box type planters for growing lettuce, radishes and spinach.

The Process:
1. Procure containers–sized according to planned use.
2. Procure garden soil–enough to fill containers to appropriate levels.
3. Prepare containers–drill several drainage holes through the bottom of the containers, if no holes are already present.
4. Place containers–set your containers in locations according to sun exposure; follow seed packet instructions; and convenience to water source.
5. Fill containers to appropriate levels with soil.
6. Plant seeds; follow seed packet instructions; and/or starter plants.
7. Water daily, or as needed.
8. Remove weeds if any begin to grow in your containers.
9. With potatoes, occasionally add and mound soil around plants.
10.Harvest when veggies ripen!

The rewards:
You will be pleased with your accomplishment of growing your own veggies, but more importantly, you will be able to enjoy those fresh, tasty organic foods as long as your container garden produces them!
Happy dining!

Tips & Warnings

  • Placing your containers near your outside faucets makes watering easier, as long as sun-exposure is also adequate.
  • Be sure containers are not made from or coated with any toxic materials, such as lead paint or other hazardous materials.
  • Read and follow manufacturers’ guidelines for safe use and handling of products, tools and equipment.

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