There are good reasons why container vegetable gardening is becoming so popular!
On this page I will share with you how to grow various vegetables and fruits in a container.
One by one, I will add articles covering more vegetables and fruits. Here is my first article:
Tips For Container Vegetable Gardening
Find a spot for your container garden that has 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. It needs to be a place sheltered from strong wind gusts.
Find a location that is under 100 degrees F, or your produce might not fruit as well.
If you live in a hot climate, consider a spot where they have partial shade during the hottest hours of the day.
Perhaps there is suitable space in your yard or along the south side of your house (if you live in the northern hemisphere), or on a balcony or window sill.
Maybe a doorstep, patio, or even a hanging basket for container vegetable gardening. You have found the space for your own mini-garden!
Choose the type of container
Almost any type of container can be used, including hanging baskets, wooden boxes, bushel baskets, plastic or fiberglass buckets or drums.
If you use a container that has a solid base, it must have adequate drainage to avoid the plant sitting in soggy soil and rotting. If no drainage holes are present, drill four or five ¼” drain holes on the sides about a quarter inch from the bottom.
One half to one inch of course gravel or rock (depending on the size of the container) in the bottom of the container helps to keep the holes draining.
If you are using a container for container vegetable gardening that has been used for other plants, make sure and scrub it well to remove any possible soil-born diseases.
I prefer plastic over clay containers, since clay containers will wick away moisture from the soil, causing it to dry out more rapidly.
Start with good soil
For my container vegetable gardening soil, I choose a good quality organic potting soil. I want a loose soil with a good amount of organic matter.
I never use soil from a garden, since it is generally too compact for a container garden and will not drain properly. It may also be infested with soil pests.
You can mix nutrients in to your potting soil to help supply your plants with food. Items like aged manure and peat moss, or perhaps your own special compost mix. This will provide a steady supply of nutrition throughout the year.
You can add straw or dried grass clippings to supply organic matter to enhance the soil. This will help to hold moisture, and add nutrients as it breaks down.
Another good mixture is 1 part potting soil, 1 part perline or sphagnum peat moss, and 1 part compost.
I love to fertilize my container plants with fish fertilizer and concentrated sea minerals. These contain everything my plants need, including very important trace minerals.
I start with a gallon of water, add in an ounce of Hydrolyzed Fish Fertilizer, and one teaspoon of Ocean Trace sea minerals per gallon of tea. These contain trace minerals that help to improve taste, shelf life and insect resistance.
Depending on whether the plant is a heavy feeder or not, I apply my fertilizer blend once or twice a week with a small watering can. I wet the leaves and lightly water the soil. If you prefer, a spray bottle may also be used.
Using a chemical fertilizer
Some people prefer to use 15-30-15 Miracle Gro®, or Peters® 20-20-20 for container vegetable gardening. Always follow the directions on the label.
In general, add one teaspoon of the fertilizer and one teaspoon of sea mineral concentrate to a gallon of water. Shake well, then put in your spray bottle, wet the leaves, and wet the surface of the soil.
Watering and care
Container gardens dry out more quickly than other gardens. A good rule of thumb is to give them one to two inches of water per week. A good way to tell if your plants need water is to stick your finger into the soil. If the top 1” to 2” are dry, it is time to water.
Never let your plants completely dry out. For fruiting plants, as fruit ripens you should water less, so that they don’t taste too watery.
If the soil is too heavy and you don’t get good drainage, your soil may become water-logged. When this happens, water displaces air in the soil, and your plants suffocate.
Also, when you water, don’t water the leaves, just the soil. This will result in a healthier plant, and help to avoid leaf fungus.
Avoiding insect damage and disease
Check for foliage and fruit-feeding insects every time you fertilize. If you see any, pest eaters like lady bugs or green lacewings can be placed on the plant, or you may use a natural plant derived insecticide like neem oil to kill the pests.
If I find a caterpillar, I crush it or cut it in two with my garden sheers so it won’t return, then look to make sure there aren't any more.
Common problems for
container vegetable gardening
Plants are tall, spindly and don’t produce much fruit.
They need more sunlight.
Plants yellow from the bottom and lack good color.
They have too much water, with too little nutrition.
Plants wilt even though there is enough water.
Soil is water logged, and roots are drowning.
Browning of leaf edges.
Foliar fertilizer applications are too concentrated.
Plants grow too slowly, look sick and have a purplish color.
Air temperatures are too cool.
Leaves have holes, or are distorted.
This is a sign of Insect damage.
Leaves are spotted, have dead areas, or have powdery or rusty areas.
This is a sign of a plant disease.
After extensive research, the items in this right column are ones that my family and I have found useful, and I trust
that they may be helpful to you as well.
Concentrated sea minerals,
blended with herbs,
and olive oils.