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Container Gardening

April 25, 2012

All this talk about gardens and growing your own food… well not everyone has a yard… what is a possible gardener to do?  Container gardening!

I have been doing a little bit of container gardening – I have grown my potatoes in Grow Bags.  I don’t normally show bias on a product but I haven’t seen anything like them elsewhere.  The bags are made from a porous fabric that prevents heat build-up and allows excess water to drain.  This growing season, I will expand my collection of grow bags in order to grow carrots and sweet potatoes.  They even come in color now!  I line up our front walkway with bags.

But you can use any kind of container (just choose to be picky on the soil).  Look around the house for unusual containers.  Old boots?  Ice buckets?  Post a message on Freecycle to get a collection of odd planters.

What are the secrets to successful container gardening?

  1. Soil is extremely important.  Never use plain garden soil or top soil.  I suggest organic potting soil – check out this review of types. I’ve also been told to use a soilless mix.
  2. Lighten soil with compost, perlite or sand.
  3. Potted plants need more water, so check them daily.  Check 2 inches down for dryness and if dry, add water.
  4. Fertilize once a week.  I’ve read compost tea and seaweed or fish emulsion work well.
  5. All your containers need holes to drain excess water.

Personally, I will be paying more attention to these secrets to increase my success! I did subpar with the potatoes (yielded 5 lbs) and blaming the soil (used top soil).  Live and learn.

Just how many vegetables should you plant per pot?  Here is a sample of some popular container crops and their spacing needs:

Vegetables

Plants in a 4-inch pot

Plants in a 8-inch pot

BeetsCarrotsGarlicGreen OnionLoose-leaf lettuce

Mustard greens

Radishes

Turnips

2-4

2-4

2-4

4-8

1

1

4

2-3

8-10

8-10

8-10

12-25

2

3

10-20

4-10

Looking for more resources:

Sources: gardening by the inch by Rodale.

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