Container vegetable gardening is becoming very popular nowadays. As more apartment buildings are erected, open spaces are declining. Therefore, it has become convenient and affordable to turn to other forms of gardening.
Use of containers in gardening has a couple of benefits. First, it enables you to create a mobile garden which you can move around based on the prevailing conditions. Your balcony, porch, patio and the deck, are great candidates for keeping the containers.
Besides, it gives you an opportunity to plant either rare vegetables or those that can supplement your supplies. Pest control is also easier with this method. What’s more, it is a great way of introducing your little ones to gardening.
How to get results with container vegetable gardening
Choose large containers
One of the problems associated with container vegetable gardening is watering. Soil in containers tends to dry up faster than in the garden. Fortunately, there is a way you can correct this problem if you choose large containers. The principle is that large volumes of soil do not lose water quickly. To save on water and space, you can place similar plants in the same pot. Another thing, always select a porous pot or one that has a few holes. The excess water will drain through the holes, leaving your vegetables with the right amount of moisture.
Use high quality medium for potting
For efficient growth of your vegetables, you need to have the right medium. The ideal mixture should contain perlite and peat moss. You can also add chemical fertilizer or any natural organic matter. You can also use a controlled fertilization system, which releases nutrients for a certain period. If you will be watering the plants by hand, you might have to add soil polymers to the planting medium. The crystals lock in moisture as the soil dries.
Make plans for watering
As mentioned earlier, pots tend to dry up quickly. Hence, you have to plan on when to water so that the soil stays moist. Today, we have self-watering containers. The cans feature a water reservoir, which is covered by a grid through which your vegetable plants can take up the water via their roots. These containers do not require frequent watering, but you will need to ensure that the reservoir has water.
In summer, when the temperatures are high, you will have to water more often. If you want to water less, place some mulching material in the pots. When you intend to have a holiday during the summer, you should stick to vegetables that grow in the Spring and Fall like radishes, greens and peas.
Fertilize regularly according to your plant needs
If you apply organic fertilizer when you are planting crops, you should supplement it every week with another organic fertilizer. You could also use fish emulsion, especially when you are using the controlled-release fertilizers. The emulsion will boost your vegetables and help them grow efficiently.
For beginners start with herbs
Herbs are useful in many home-based recipes. You can grow rosemary, among other common herbs, in containers. The plants are easy to grow and they are low maintenance. Just ensure that you provide them with all the conditions they require. Most herbs thrive in full sunlight. Rosemary does well in soils with scant nutrients and those that are dry. Basil is quite a sensitive herb. It requires more watering and fertilizer.
Move your mobile garden to capture the sun
The beauty of container vegetable gardening is that it is possible to move the containers with the plants around. This enables you to move the containers around with the sun’s rotation. You can place the containers in the sun during the morning hours and then remove them when the sun gets hotter.
Try lettuce and spinach
Lettuce and spinach, or “baby greens” as they are commonly called, are the easiest vegetables to grow in containers. You can plant them during the Spring since they are tolerant to cool temperatures. Instead of buying the seedlings of the lettuce and the spinach, purchase seeds and plant them in the containers. A week or so will be enough for them to sprout. When the plants have reached about 3 to 4 inches in height, you can harvest them. However, only pick the largest leaf of them all. This way, you will be able to harvest from the plants for a long time.
For tomatoes, use the dwarf varieties
It can be quite a task to raise tomatoes. Hence, it is advisable to plant dwarf varieties. Instead of starting with the seeds, use the transplants. These are available in garden centers near you. Tomatoes will need frequent watering. You can reduce the number of times you water your vegetables by employing self-watering cans. These containers ensure that there is an even circulation of both fertilizer and water.
Control pests safely
The good thing with container vegetable gardening is that it makes it easier for you to control pests. For aphids and mites, you will need to spray them. Use the horticultural oil or the insecticidal soap, for safe application. You can handpick large worms such as hornworms, which have a high affinity for tomatoes.
Where to buy vegetables for container gardening
Most garden centers and nurseries sell seedlings and seeds for vegetables. Just ask for those vegetables, which are suited for container vegetable gardening. Here you can find a variety of vegetables from eggplants, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, kale, and the like. However, get to know the requirements of each of the vegetables including soil. You might have to buy the topsoil to fill up your containers, depending on the plant you want to grow.
Container vegetable gardening is not a new technique. However, recently, experts are encouraging people to embrace the method so that to increase food security. There are a couple of additional benefits from using this form of gardening. You can grow your own veggies to supplement your food and in a world where healthy living has become the wish of many.