The best thing about vegetable container gardening is that you can do it anywhere! If you live in an apartment, co-op or just have a yard that’s too small, but still want to grow a delicious crop of vegetables every year, don’t despair – vegetable container gardening is for you!
Finding your Containers
The first thing you need to start your vegetable container garden are containers. You can stop by your local nursery or stores like Target*, Walmart,* etc, or go online to get some suitable containers. There is a wide variety of containers available ranging from the very simple to the outrageously ornate. Think about what kind of style you want for your garden and then select containers to match. Conversely, if you’d rather go a simpler (and cheaper) route, almost anything can be used for a container if you use your imagination. Old flower pots, milk containers (plastic gallon or paper boxes) with the tops cut off, bird baths – basically anything that will hold some dirt in it! The sky is the limit. However, there is one thing that all your containers should have and that is a hole in the bottom to provide proper drainage. Otherwise your plants might drown!
Once you’ve got some containers, the next thing you need is some soil. I would recommend purchasing soil because it is going to have all the vitamins and nutrients you need to start your vegetables off strong. Another option is getting soil from a friend’s compost pile if you don’t have one of your own. Some cities also offer free compost, check with your local municipality. If you do have a small patch of land you could also take soil from your yard, but you run the risk of it being contaminated by undesirable pollutants – like gasoline, PCB’s and who knows what else! You will most likely also need to fertilize this soil in some way.
Tip: Many container gardeners recommend putting some rocks or other filler at the bottom of your containers to create some empty space which will allow excess water to drain out of the pot more easily. It will also cut down on the amount of soil you use – thus saving money as well. Bonus!
Putting it all together
The final step in creating your vegetable container garden is to decide what kind of vegetables you would like to grow. I would recommend planting vegetables you most enjoy eating. No sense in planting turnips if you hate the taste of them! Some vegetables that grow easily and heartily in containers include tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage and squash. You can purchase tiny saplings or seeds to get your plants started. One thing you might want to consider, depending on the climate in which you live and the time of year you are starting your garden is keeping your plants indoors for the first couple of weeks. This will protect them from the elements such as frost, wind and rain while they are getting their start.
What else can I grow?
Container gardening is not limited to vegetables. You can also grow a wide variety of flowers, trees, herbs and fruits in your garden. Flowers can make your garden pop with color and fragrance. Small trees can provide shade where it’s needed. These are just some examples – be creative!
*disclaimer – Vegetablecontainergardening is not affiliated with any of these stores and does not promote them except to suggest where container gardening materials might be purchased.