Container Gardening

container-winebarrelYou can grow more vegetables with container gardening than you might think. Below are tips from
Types of containers: Half wine barrels lined with some gravel and set on bricks or blocks (for drainage) are a great choice for dwarf trees and larger plants.  Glazed ceramic pots work well, but require several drainage holes.  Redwood and cedar boxes are relatively rot resistant and can be used without staining or painting. Avoid wood treated with toxic compounds since the vapors can damage the plants. Clay Pots: If you choose clay pots, remember that clay is porous and water is lost from the sides of the container. Plants in clay pots should be monitored closely for loss of moisture.

Size: Your containers should be at least 15 –120 quarts capacity (small pots restrict the root area and dry out very quickly). The size and number of plants to be grown will determine the size of the container used. Use deep pots for deep-rooted plants.

Drainage: Make sure your pot has adequate drainage. Holes should be 1/2 inch across. Line the base of the pot with newspaper to prevent soil loss. Set containers on bricks or blocks to allow free drainage.

Color: In hot climates use light-colored containers to lessen heat absorption and discourage uneven root growth.

Hanging plants: Line hanging baskets with sphagnum moss for water retention. Keep baskets away from afternoon sun.

Soil: Make sure your soil drains quickly but retains enough water to keep the roots evenly moist. Compost makes an excellent potting soil. Check the requirements of the plants you grow to determine whether you will need to add sand. If compost is not available, purchase a good quality potting mixture or make your own from equal parts of sand, loamy garden soil, and peat moss. Commercial potting mixes are usually slightly acidic, so you may want to add a little lime. Most container gardeners have found that a “soilless” potting mix works best. In addition to draining quickly, “soilless” mixes are lightweight and free from soil- borne diseases and weed seeds. When you add your soil to your container, leave a 2 inch space between the top of the soil and the top of the container, leaving room to add about 1/2 inch of mulch later.

Water: Container plants can lose moisture quickly. Some plants will need to be watered daily, especially during hot, dry weather, but spreading mulch on any exposed soil will help to slow evaporation of moisture from the soil.

Sunlight: Your container garden will need at least five hours of direct sunlight each day. Typically leafy vegetables like cabbage and lettuce can tolerate the most shade, while root crops such as beets and carrots will need more sun. Fruiting vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers need the most sun.


Planting: Use layers and companion planting to maximize space in your container garden. For example, in a half wine barrel, you can plant potatoes that occupy a layer below the surface and squash climbing up a lattice on top.  Dwarf fruit trees in combination with crawling herbs can work well in a half wine barrel too.

Organic Container Gardening | Edible Container Gardens
Edible Container Gardening | Container Gardening Vegetables | Container Gardening Ideas