Container Vegetable Gardening Ideas – Inexpensive Organic Gardening
Container growing your vegetables has probably gone through your mind quite a bit during these difficult economic times. Now you have made the decision to start container growing at little at a time to see how you like it and the amount of money you can save. Vegetable container growing can be a very rewarding project.
However, container vegetable gardening can be a little discouraging if your plants will not survive and produce crops. We just need to follow a few basic guidelines to help our vegetable seedlings get a good head start. We are going to touch a little on the containers, drainage, fertilizer, heat, soil, sun, and water to begin.
Type of Container
We can use just about any type of container as a garden planter as long as it has drainage and it is large enough. The larger the container is the easier it is to maintain. The larger amount of soil our container can hold the more moisture it will hold onto.
A container that is eighteen inches or larger is the better choice. Choosing these containers can sometimes be a bit intimidating. Growing vegetables in containers that are self-watering could cause problems when you receive a lot of rain; other than that problem they work quite well. It would be better if the self-watering container had an overflow hole or a way for the excess water to be drained.
Self-watering containers are an excellent solution for those people who are unable to water on a daily basis. Glazed ceramic containers or plastic containers will also work well.
You can also use terracotta, but because the clay in the container will absorb all the moisture from the soil, it is better to have a draining tray under the container and keep it filled with water to help solve the problem.
For a container that is inexpensive try to find something around the house or garage such as a large plastic pail or an old toy box. Just make sure that they have drainage holes in the bottom.
Important Factors for Container Vegetable Gardening
Proper drainage for your containers will keep your vegetables from drowning. You want the excess water to drain out the bottom of the pot so the plants will not be sitting in soggy soil.
In order to release only water from the containers, you can place rocks or marbles in the bottom so you will not lose any of the soil.
Your vegetables are going to need food to survive and that food is fertilizer. If your soil does not already have fertilizer in it you will need to add some. For soil that does not contain fertilizer, you can add organic fertilizer and mix it in the soil before you add it to the containers.
Then every few weeks you can add liquid fish emulsion that has been diluted to give the vegetable nutrition.
If you live in a hot climate zone you will probably need to give your plants shade during the hottest part of the day or they will fry. It is also a good idea not to use dark colored containers or metal containers as they will heat up and probably cook the plants roots.
If you live in the parts of the country that get cold weather your vegetables really do not like cold soil so keep them indoors at night until you know that the temperatures will be warmer. Most plants do not like the soil any colder than 60 degrees F.
A good quality potting soil is very important for growing vegetables. You do not want to use the soil that is in your garden for container growing because it has a tendency to compact and drain poorly.
Chances are if you use the garden soil you could end up with weeds and one of the reasons we grow vegetables in containers is so we will not have weeds. Organic potting soil is better to use for the simple reason that organic produce tastes better and contains more phytochemicals and antioxidants.
Most of our vegetables will need full sun and that is usually about 6 hours of sunlight a day. This is another reason why it is better to grow vegetables in containers, if the area they are in does not get enough sun during the day they can easily be moved around to other areas.
In order for the vegetables to grow to maturity they are going to need plenty of water. You want to keep the soil moist not wet. If you are not sure if they need water just stick a finger in the soil as deep as you first knuckle. If it feels dry it is time to add water.
During the hottest days of the summer you will probably need to water once a day or sometimes twice. Proper watering is going to be the most important part of container vegetables.
You can grow your vegetable container garden by using seeds or seedlings. Starting from seeds is less expensive than buying seedlings but can be more difficult. Planting seedlings is must easier and both can be grown organically. Some of the vegetables that are easy to grow are carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, peas, potatoes, peppers, radishes, and tomatoes. For the beginning gardener of container growing vegetables it is probably to start off with only one or two vegetables to see how you enjoy it.