Container Gardening 101

Space isn't the only advantage of container gardening, though. Container gardens are ideal for people with limited mobility, limited time, small quantity requirements and more. There is something to be said for the convenience of having fresh vegetables within reach and gardening in containers is the ideal way to do it.

Container Garden A container vegetable garden can be planted almost anywhere. There are as many sizes and types of containers as there are vegetables to grow in them. However small or large a space you have to work with, you can create a garden to fit it.

Containers can be made from plastic, terracotta, ceramic or wood. Plastic and terracotta are not ideal - plastic will deteriorate in sunlight (which will be important to your garden) and terracotta containers dry out quickly. Ceramic plant containers are a great choice, but make sure they have proper drain holes.

Wood planter boxes can rot, but if you use cedar or redwood they will be fairly rot-resistant. The nice thing about wood pots, especially if you make your own, is you can make them to any size and shape to fit your container garden space. Your gardens can be as small or large as you want.

Gardening in containers has some challenges

Gardening in containers has some challenges compared to a full-size garden but if you do it right, your container garden can out-produce much bigger ones.

An important thing to remember when gardening in a container is that proper watering is essential. Because the containers are relatively small, they can dry out much quicker than soil in a larger garden would. Containers will likely need to be watered daily, possibly even twice daily in drier, hotter climates. You also need to make sure they are located somewhere that gets enough sunlight. It depends on the crop, but some crops like tomatoes will need a few hours of sunlight each day.

When gardening in containers, drainage is also important. Your plant containers need to have enough drainage so they don't become waterlogged. If they become waterlogged, this can cut off the oxygen supply to the plants. There should be holes in the bottom, each about 1/2 inch across. Line the bottom of the container with newspaper to avoid soil loss. If you set the containers on bricks or wood blocks, it will help them drain properly.

When gardening in a container, you will usually be using some kind of potting soil. Many potting soil mixtures are actually "soiless" - they are made up of a number of different ingredients but contain no actual soil. This is an advantage because they will not contain any weeds or disease, however they do not always contain the nutrients necessary to grow vegetables. You will need to fertilize your container garden in order to replace these missing nutrients. Using a diluted liquid fertilizer on a regular basis (according to its recommendations) is the best way to keep your garden properly fed.