Easy Container Vegetable Gardening in 7 Simple Steps (Part 2)

Ok, I admit it…the reason I’m blogging about container gardening is because I received (drum roll, please) the summer 2012 issue of the Gardner’s Supply Company catalog!!

I also admit that after I put my daughter to bed last night, I sat, with my furry orange cat, and read the entire catalog cover to cover.  What fun!!  I’m already dreaming of those tasty tomatoes and veggies!

Here in NC, I don’t usually begin to plant early summer veggies until after tax day.  By that point we are usually safe from having a frost AND I view getting the garden started as a reward after doing taxes.

As I mentioned last week, here is part 2 to our post on Easy Container Vegetable Gardening….enjoy!

Below are steps 5-7.  If you didn’t catch steps 1-4, click here.

5) Plant your seeds

Cover Drainage Hole

In order to prevent soil from blocking water flow away from your plants, use Styrofoam peanuts, rocks, mesh screen, or broken pottery to loosely cover the bottom drainage hole.

Fill container 3/4 full with soil

You want your container to be 3/4 full, but remember that a small layer of Styrofoam peanuts can be added to the bottom of your container to decrease the amount of soil (and weight) needed for your container.

Pour water onto soil and mix

Adding water allows the soil to settle. You may need to add more

soil such that the container is 3/4 full with material.

http://thebestgardenideas.onsugar.com/tag/Garden-Patio-IdeasPlant seeds according to instructions on seed packet

Individual seeds have different growing requirements and seed packets come with instructions which provide information on how deep to plant your vegetables.

6) Water you plants

Watering will be the most important and time consuming part of raising a container garden. Containers can dry out very quickly, especially outside on a sunny summer day. Daily or even twice-daily watering may be necessary.

Check your soil daily

Feel the soil to test its moisture level. If the soil is damp, no more water is needed but be sure to check again tomorrow!

Water your plant

If the soil of your plants feels dry, apply water until it runs out the drainage holes. The soil should never be soggy or have water

standing on top of it. Be careful not to overwater!

7) Fertilize your plants

If you use a soil mix with fertilizer added, then your plants will have enough nutrients for 8 to 10 weeks.  If plants are grown longer than 8 to 10 weeks, add a water-soluble fertilizer (such as Miracle-Gro) in the amount recommended on the package. Repeat every two to three weeks.

Happy Gardening!!

A special thanks goes to Lauren Paynter, co-author.

Easy Container Vegetable Gardening in 7 Simple Steps (Part 1)

Hi Friends!  Here in North Carolina the trees are beginning to bloom and we are gearing up for Spring.  As I walked outside this morning to get my daughter loaded in the car for school I glanced over at my vegetable garden.  It looks so sad and ready for me to get in there and get to work.

Do you love the feeling you get when you work in a garden? I do.  There is something about growing your own food that is extremely rewarding.

When I visit my Grandma C we like to stroll around outside and look at the the LTC’s garden and flowers. We have the best time talking about what she remembers about gardening from her childhood. We shouldn’t let various life changes can get in the way of planting and maintaining the  large garden most of us are used to.

The good news is that  anyone with a windowsill, soil, seeds, a lot of love and a little bit of hard work can still enjoy freshly grown vegetables by starting a container garden!

Here are  Steps 1-4 of 7 easy “how to” steps to a successful container vegetable garden.  My next post will be Steps 5 – 7.  Have Fun!!

1) Assess your space:

Size

Container gardening can take on many forms and almost any sized space can be utilized to produce a

successful container garden. A space as large as a balcony or as small as a doorstep or windowsill

can be used to grow fresh vegetables.

Light

It is important to know if your space has access to full sun or partial sun. While some plants can

thrive in either environment, fruiting plants (such as tomatoes) require at least 5 hours of direct

sunlight each day.

2) Choose what to grow:

Small vegetables

Carrots, Radishes, Lettuces

Fruiting plants

Tomatoes, Peppers

Herbs

Basil, Parsley, Thyme

3) Pick your container(s)

Material

A large variety of containers can be used to start your garden: clay, plastic, wooden planter boxes, and even old tires!

Size

Your container needs to be large enough for your plants and their roots to grow throughout the season. For

most plants, the depth of your container is of most concern.  Below are some rules of thumb for choosing an appropriately sized container:

Plant Pot Diameter
Peppers, Chard and Dwarf Tomoatoes  8-10” (per plant)
Full-sized tomatoes, cucumbers 14-16” (per plant)
Lettuce, radish, onions, beets 6-10”
Herbs 4-6”

Drainage

Any container chosen must have a bottom hole for adequate drainage.  Place containers on legs, bricks, coasters, or saucers to allow drainage and to protect the surface underneath.

Ease of movement

One benefit of container gardening is that plants can be moved from one location to another fairly easily. This is especially helpful during season changes when lighting may change.  If it is important to be able to move plants without too much effort consider using a light weight container. Placing containers on wheels is a great way to make a future move much easier. Also consider filling the bottom of a container with light weight Styrofoam peanuts to reduce the amount (and weight) of soil.

4) Find your soil

Type

Use a lightweight, well-draining potting soil for container gardening. Pre-packaged soil can be purchased at a local garden store. Most soil varieties will work for container gardening; however, it is important to stay away from clay soils and soils made of primarily peat. Clay holds too much moisture when watered and can prevent your plants from getting the air they need. Contrastingly, problems can alsoarise if using a peat soil since it is  too lightweight and has difficulties retaining moisture.

Amount

Here’s an estimate for the amount of soil you will need based on the size of the container you are using:

Container Size

Amount of Soil

4”

1 pint

6”

3 pints

8”

1.5 gallons

10”

2.5 gallons

12”

3.5 gallons

14”

4.5 gallons

16”

5.5 gallons

20”

6.5 gallons

As I mentioned earlier, stay tuned for steps 5 – 7.  We’ll discuss planting seeds, watering and fertilizing.

Thanks so much to my co-author:  Lauren Paynter