The single most important thing for any container you plan to garden with is drainage.
Plants will not grow in soil that stays waterlogged. If you growing medium is waterlogged then there is no space for air, and roots need air. Plant’s won’t grow underwater.
So the most important thing for any container you want to grow a vegetable or herb or pretty much anything other than lily pads is drainage.
Most store bought pots you would buy have great drainage but there is a very important exception which is called a caster pot. What is a caster pot? Well basically its any pot without drainage, because these pots aren’t meant to be used directly for planting, rather they are a decorative disguise for an ordinary plastic pot. So you put your plastic pot in the caster pot, and you take it out when you water and let it drain for a while before placing back in the caster pot.
Many an inexperienced, beginner gardener have used caster pots as containers for gardening with disastrous results. You end up with gross, moldy mess and a dead plant.
So if you ever want to use some sort of found item or miscellaneous container for gardening, get out your electric drill and be very generous with the drainage holes!
There’s seems to be a lot of speculation on the web whether Epsom salt is really useful for container gardening or whether it boils down to some sort of old wive’s tale. There really needs to be no mystery about its usefulness, the primary ingredient is magnesium sulfate, and plants definitely need magnesium.
Now if you are growing in the ground a magnesium deficiency may be less of an issue, but since this blog is geared specifically towards container gardening magnesium is pretty much essential. If you are gardening in containers you need to provide all of the nutrients and especially micro-nutrients the plant needs to thrive. Not many of the fertilizers I have seen contain magnesium which is why Epsom salt can come in so handy.
You just add a tablespoon per gallon of water, and may use it in foliar feeding as well. Adding magnesium can prevent nutrient lockout as well, so the nutrients already existing become available.
This is part of the reason it is good to feed your plants their scheduled fertilizer right after you provide them with the Epsom salts.
Cucumbers are one of my favorites to grown in a container. Cucumbers need support so you need to get a trellis or tomato cage for them to grow in. Usually it says they do well in full sun but I do a lot better with them in at least partial shade.
How to prevent powdery mildew on your cucumber plants? Powdery mildew is a problem I have always encountered when growing cucumbers in containers. The best way to minimize powdery mildew is to avoid getting the leaves wet when you water, and to water in the morning as opposed to night time. This ensures the leaves have time to dry off.
Vegetables and herbs are my favorite things by far to grow in containers, so that is definitely the primary focus of this blog.
Here’s a mustard green. One of my favorites to grow, they get a bad rap because they can be pretty bitter, but they are delicious with the right recipe!
What are some of the things beginners need to know to get started growing vegetables in containers? It’s not rocket science, but you need a good container and a good growing medium, or dirt. But you’re not going to do very well if you just dig up some dirt from the ground. A common soil mix for container gardening is equal parts peat moss, perlite or vermiculite and compost. I personally prefer perlite.
As for picking a container, bigger is usually better. This is particularly for vegetables that produce fruit like tomatoes, cucumbers, squash or beans. The size of the plant above ground is directly related to the size of the root system below ground, so bigger containers yield bigger plants and bigger harvests. Some herbs and leafy greens will only get so big, so they can be grown in smaller containers. Other greens like kale can grow into monsters if they have large enough containers.
Some vegetables do great in container gardens and others really not so much. So its important if you’re getting started to know which vegetables typically do well in containers.
Tomatoes are definitely a favorite to grow in containers, although I guess technically they are a fruit . . . With the variety of tomato hybrids on the market you can even find tomatoes that are particularly bred for compact, container growing. But if you have a big container you can grow a ton of tomatoes and see great results. My personal favorite tomato for growing in containers are cherry tomatoes, especially the super sweet 100 hybrid.
Cucumbers, beans and peas do great in containers with trellises are a very impressive plant once they grow 6 or 8 feet tall.
Bell Peppers and hot peppers work very well in containers and they can last multiple years and keep producing.
Obviously other things like corn really don’t work in containers. Or could it . . . I wonder?
One of the nice things about container gardens is you can always move them around later. This has a lot of benefits. Your container garden plan is not going to be set in stone so its easy to play around and make changes to your container garden layout. This has aesthetic benefits obviously as well as practical benefits, you can move plants around if they need more or less sun. And the position of the sun obviously changes over the year so being able to move your containers around gives you maximum flexibility.
Something to take into your container garden plans whether you’re doing an herb container garden or vegetable container garden is that your fruit bearing plants will need the most sun. Your leafy greens and such can do just fine with much less sun. If your plants are ever stretching where the nodes are spaced much further than they normally should be this indicates the plant is getting enough sun. Anything bearing fruit like tomatoes for instance, you really want at least 8 hours a day of sunlight.
Herbs are one of my favorites to grow in containers. Having a kitchen garden with some common herbs is so nice if you like to cook, and growing herbs in containers is a great solution for any patio or backyard. Some of the herbs I have personally grown in containers so far are rosemary, mint, cilantro, basil, oregano, thyme and lavender.
All of these except cilantro and basil last for a very long time in the same container, so you can always harvest fresh herbs for your cooking whenever needed. Its always nice to save a few bucks on over-priced herbs from the store but much more importantly, fresh home grown from your own herb container garden always tastes far superior
Hopefully this blog can provide some container garden ideas. There’s a lot of stuff you can grow in containers and with big containers and plenty of sun you can have a very high yielding garden all made up of containers. What are the best plants to grow in containers? How can you use companion plants in the same container to benefit each other?
The focus of this blog leans more towards ideas for vegetable container gardens and herb container gardens. One cool thing about container gardening is re-purposing different things to use as garden containers.
Anything can be used as a gardening container. Poke a few holes for drainage and you’re good to go.
Container vegetable gardening has a ton of benefits for anyone looking to grow plants. The reason I garden with strictly containers is I rent a house and the soil is very poor in the backyard. There is no drainage at all and it is all clay with a lot of rocks, so container vegetable gardening is a great solution.
One of the most important things with container gardening to take into consideration is the size of your plant is going to be very directly related to the size of your container.