For many reasons, container gardening is a great way to produce veggies and herbs. Maybe you live in a townhouse and just don’t have much room for traditional gardens. Maybe you have a traditional residential lot, but most of the landscape is too shady for an edible garden…most crops need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Or, maybe, your property was flooded, and there are a myriad of issues as a result – residues from raw sewage, silt/sand deposits and the high likelihood of bacterial contamination.
Regardless of the reason that traditional vegetable gardening is not a good option, using containers can help provide healthy food for your family. A few considerations help property owners be successful:
*The container itself must be matched with the size of the root system of the plants being grown. For radishes, beets and leafy greens, a 2-3 ft long, 6 inch wide and 6 inch deep container fits the bill. For peppers, eggplant and tomatoes, a 5 gallon bucket or whiskey barrel size and shape works well.
*The soil is completely different for containers, as the physics of drainage and gravitational pull differ greatly from ground beds. In this case, a 3 way mix of Canadian peat moss or coconut coir, vermiculite or sand and perlite works the best.
*These soils are excellent for drainage, but don’t hold nutrients well, so you’ll need to lightly fertilize every 3 weeks or so. Watering is different too, best determined by sticking a screwdriver (or your finger) into the pot to determine moisture level. Strive for moist, not soggy or dry.
*If the plants start to lean due to size or wind effects, they can be staked or supported with string until harvest.