Want to have more control over growing conditions and enjoy higher yields with a lot less work? Garden in containers. Container gardening is an easy way to garden, especially when you lack yard space.
Plant Pots: The Bigger, the Better
- Large plants need lots of space, and most roots need room to grow. Avoid small containers as they often can’t store enough water to get through hot days. Plus, the bigger your container, the more plants you can grow!
- Use barrels (a wooden half-barrel can yield an amazing amount of food), buckets, baskets, boxes, bath- and other tubs, and troughs—anything that holds soil. Just be sure that it has drainage holes in the bottom.
Care Tips for Container-Gardening Vegetables
- Clay pots are usually more attractive than plastic ones, but plastic pots retain moisture better and won’t dry out as fast as unglazed terra-cotta ones. To get the best of both, slip a plastic pot into a slightly larger clay pot.
- Black pots absorb heat when they are sitting in the sun.
- Many plants grown in pots must be watered as often as twice a day. To keep plants adequately cool and moist during hot summer days, double-pot: Place a small pot inside a larger one and fill the space between them with sphagnum moss or crumpled newspaper. When watering the plant, also soak the filler between the pots.
- Hanging baskets make good use of extra space, and herbs, cherry tomatoes, and strawberries grown at eye level can be easily tended and harvested.
- Add about 1 inch of coarse gravel in the bottom of containers to improve drainage.
- Vegetables that can be easily transplanted are best suited for containers. Transplants can be purchased from local nurseries or started at home.
- Feed container plants at least twice a month with liquid fertilizer, following the instructions on the label.
- An occasional application of fish emulsion or compost will add trace elements to container soil.