Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can still enjoy produce from your own garden. There are plenty of vegetables that grow well in containers on your patio or balcony. Read on to learn some tips for container gardening.
The Benefits of Container Gardening
Growing your own food is rewarding and easy. It’s convenient to step outside and grab a few peppers for the spicy salsa you’re making. When you grow food on the porch, patio, or balcony, your harvest will be in easy reach of the kitchen. With planters, you can garden almost anywhere, in any size space.
Container gardening also reduces the likelihood that your plants will be harmed by bad weather. If the temperature drops, simply carry the pots inside. Another benefit of growing food in containers is that you won’t have to tear up the lawn to have a garden. This is especially important if you rent your home.
Gather Your Supplies
For successful container gardening, you’ll only need a few basic supplies. Purchase several planters, depending on how many different types of vegetables and herbs you are planting. Opt for larger pots to give your plants room to grow strong and healthy. You’ll also need potting soil, a few small gardening tools, and a watering can.
Best Foods for Container Gardening
Lettuces are easy to grow, even in smaller containers. You can grow greens in a pot as small as 10″. Most salad greens need moist soil and partial to full sun. They grow quickly so you’ll be able to enjoy fresh greens early in the season.
To grow tomatoes in a container, you’ll want a larger pot; 18” – 24” is a good size. Tomatoes need the sun to ripen, so make sure your plants get six to eight hours of sun every day. Wait until after the last frost and plant tomatoes deep in the soil. Use stakes or tomato cages to support the plants as they grow.
Choose cherry tomatoes for salads or snacking, Roma varieties make great pasta sauce, and if you’re wanting a good slicing tomato for your burgers or a sandwich, Better Bush or Early Girl varieties are nice choices.
Peppers are delicious and decorative and easy to grow in a container. All types of peppers need sunlight and a lot of water. Place the pots in an area that gets a minimum of 5 hours of full sun every day. Peppers do well with stakes or supports, especially the varieties that produce larger fruits.
You can grow carrots in containers if you choose a variety that has shorter roots. Your container should be at least 12” deep and have good drainage. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and don’t let it completely dry out. To prevent rot, water the soil rather than the leafy greens that sprout from the dirt. If you’re starting carrots from seed, be patient, it can take three weeks for the seed to germinate.