Are you a gardening newbie? Container gardening can be a great way to get started with growing your own vegetables. Here are a few helpful tips for growing vegetables in containers…
As any gardener knows, growing your own vegetables can be both fun and rewarding. The sense of pride you feel after successfully growing your own produce is amazing – especially when you are feasting on a delicious home-cooked meal made from things you grew yourself – yum!
However, if you’re new to gardening, you’ll quickly discover that growing your own veggies isn’t quite as straightforward as you initially thought – and this can particularly be the case if you’re growing vegetables in containers. That said, container gardening is often the easiest way to start, since you don’t need a lot of outdoor garden space, and you can more easily control the environment for your plants.
Here are 5 steps to help you get started off on the right foot with growing vegetables in containers:
1. Pay Attention To the Soil
One of the main things you need to get right in order to grow veggies successfully an any environment is the type of soil you use.
When planting them in a container, you likely will not want to use just any soil out of your yard. Not only can regular soil be extremely heavy when wet, making it hard to move your containers around, it also may not contain the specific nutrients they need. It’s much better to invest in proper potting mix soil which may be slightly more expensive, but it will also be much more effective at helping you grow healthy and productive plants.
2. Select the Right Container
Once you’ve determined which soil to use, it’s then time to focus on the container. There are a lot of different types of containers out there – and not all of them are suitable for growing vegetables.
Ideally, you want to choose the biggest pot you can find space for – at least if you are growing any sort of large crop like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc.. However, keep in mind that larger containers are obviously a lot heavier, so you may need to invest in casters or place them on a plant caddy to easily transport them from one place to another if you plan to move them around at all.
3. Understand Which Veggies Can Be Grown In a Container
While technically, all vegetables can be grown in a container, some will do better than others. It’s easier when you’re just starting out to focus on those that are designed to grow in smaller spaces.
Some of the best veggies to start out with include peppers, eggplants, onions and herbs. Of course, whichever veggie you do decide to grow, you should research as much as you possibly can before you start.
4. Remember to Water Frequently
It’s important to realize that veggies grown in a container will require more frequent watering than those grown in regular soil garden beds. This is because they tend to dry out quite quickly – especially in hot, sunny, summer weather.
As for how much water you should be using, it will all depend upon the type of veggies you’re growing, along with the climate in your area, as well as the container and the soil type you’re using. Check your plants frequently by poking your finger down into the soil. If the soil is dry for the top 1/2 inch to 1 inch or so of soil, they probably need to be watered.
5. Always Add Mulch
Mulch is one thing that container gardeners often forget about, but it’s a really important step. It helps to keep the soil moist between waterings. Ideally, you should avoid using hardwood mulches, which take a long time to decompose and may even deplete some nutrients from the soil. Cypress or cedar are much better options for use in containers – and grass clippings (from a chemical-free lawn) also work well, and can help nourish the soil as they break down.
These are the 5 basic steps to growing vegetables in containers, but keep in mind you will want to do some research first on which types of vegetables you want to grow, as well as which types of containers are best for your situation. Check out our archives for lots of helpful tips on container gardening to get you started!