Thursday, April 16, 2009

Gardening in Containers

Many people just do not have the time or resources to plant a traditional garden. Take me, for example. I'd love to have a garden like Abbie's, but my husband and I have literally not had one free day this spring to dig up and prepare our soil (that's what happens with a third year medical student for a husband... he's never home, but when he IS, it always seems to be raining!). Anyway, I would normally just do it myself like I did last year, but this time I'm way to pregnant to even think about working that hard.

That's where gardening in containers comes in. It's exactly what it sounds like - planting your things in containers right on your porch! I did some of this last year and plan on doing it again because it's so easy. It's ideal for people who don't have much of a yard, or just don't have good soil. That's another reason I don't like to plant in our ground. Our soil is made up mostly of sand, and I just don't have the patience or know-how to fix it right now.

Anyway. I was going to have my container garden all finished for this post, with pictures and everything, but with vacation last week and the rain we've been getting, I just haven't had the chance yet. I hope to get it all done this weekend. But it's really easy, I promise!

According to About.com, there are many different types of vegetables that are suitable for container gardening: cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, green onions, leaf lettuce, peppers, radishes, squash, and tomatoes. Just be on the lookout for key words like "bush", "compact", or "space saver". Any seeds with these words should be suitable for containers.

You can use pretty much anything for your containers. I used large plastic round bins, but you could also use flower pots, wire baskets, window planters, etc. Whatever you decide to use, though, just make sure there is a hole (or several) at the bottom for water drainage. Size of the container is also important. Obviously, larger plants need larger containers.

Now for your soil. Of course, you can use your own soil from your yard, but the best choice is to buy a synthetic mix, which has all the components for growing great plants. These can be found at WalMart - just look for bags that say they are for potting plants, and usually they will list "vegetables" too.

Be sure to water your container vegetables frequently. They don't have the luxury of drawing water out from the ground like traditional garden vegetables do.

Good luck with your container gardens! I'll be sure to post some pictures next week when I get mine planted. I'm hoping to do some tomatoes and green onions, at least. Hopefully some leaf lettuce, too. I'll let you know!

Much of this information is from About.com
Image from an article at Howstuffworks.com


Bethany said...

I've had my first attempt at a container garden on my porch for a month now, and it looks pretty good! We are apartment dwellers, so this is the only option if we want a garden. I hope it will last through the dryness of the early summer (southern California isn't exactly tropical) and will give us some tomatoes! Thanks for the tips!

TexasRed said...

My main trouble with container gardening has always been watering. I never seem to remember until things get crispy!

Destiny said...

We use a small childs swimming pool with holes drilled in the bottom. It works quite nicely and looks cute too.

Tori, Jessie, Ria, Kat, and Tea. Who is next? said...

If you have room in your yard, you might like Square Foot Gardening. I started this method about 5 years ago and I cannot foresee a time when I will do regular-in-the-ground-gardening again!

I enjoy your blog. :)

Dede said...

Hannah, can I just say that I LOVE your blog? There is SO much useful information! I can't wait to get the garden in this year.

Carol said...

I did this as well when my hubby was in med school. We didn't have a place for a garden. As far as time. It doesn't get my better either. We schedule a day off for gardening, and now we won't be able to do it because we now have a wedding instead.