Golden Rules For Growing Vegetables In Containers

Published: 19th March 2012
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Can you have your own vegetable garden if you live in an apartment with tight spaces? Absolutely! Growing vegetables in containers is the answer for gardening enthusiasts who do not have space for a garden in their home. Think of your balcony, window sill, patio or even a bright, sunny corner in your living room. All these are potential locations for creating your indoor vegetable garden..

Container vegetable gardening is fast becoming popular not simply because it has made it possible for apartment dwellers to own a piece of green sanctuary. Even gardeners who have an outdoor garden are also getting into container gardening for the following reasons:

a. Portability makes it easy to arrange the plants
b. Better control over the spread of diseases across different plants.
c. Ability to personalize your little garden with a variety of containers
d. No need to patch the lawn if the plants donít work out

These are only some of the reasons that encourage garden owners to get into container gardening. It doesn't matter if you are having your container vegetable garden indoors or outdoors, there are five golden rules of growing vegetables in containers that will help increase your success in vegetable gardening.

Tips for Growing Vegetables in Containers

1. Selecting a container
Before you embark on your shopping spree to buy gardening supplies, ask yourself Ė what kind of vegetables do I want to grow? Being clear about what you want to plant will give you a better idea of the type of containers you should be buying. If you are going for big plants, you will need bigger, deeper containers that cater space for strong roots to develop.

Generally, it is advisable to use bigger containers to grow vegetables. Both the diameter and the depth of the container should be taken into consideration. For vegetable plants to be robust and healthy, deep containers are needed as it provides the space for strong, good root system to develop. The material which the pots and containers are made of is not as important. Plastic, terra cotta and timber planters are all suitable for indoor vegetable gardening. Just remember that size and depth are more vital.

For vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, spinach, zucchini, lettuce and cucumbers, a 3-5 gallon container will suffice. Larger containers of 15 gallon will be needed for the bigger plants.

2. Location of your container
The availability of sunlight is a key consideration when it comes to positioning your container vegetable plants. Your vegetable plants need to have sufficient sunlight if you want to have healthy plants and a bountiful harvest. Majority of vegetable plants, especially beans, peppers and tomatoes need a good 6 to 8 hours of sunlight everyday.

The location of your containers plays an important part to the survival of your vegetable plants. Apart from sunlight, you also have to consider if the location is windy. Strong winds have the tendency to dry up plants; hence you should avoid positioning your container plants at windy areas. If you are unable to avoid the strong winds, you can construct a windbreaker around your vegetable plants to shield them.

Having sufficient space between the containers is just as vital as it allows good air circulation for your plants. While positioning your containers, ensure that the taller plants do not shade out the shorter ones. In this way, all of your plants will get good amount of exposure to sunlight.

3. Choosing soil
Using the right kind of soil will provide your vegetable plants with a good foundation for healthy growth. Heavy potting soil or garden soil is unsuitable for planting vegetables in containers. A better soil option would be container mix that has better moisture retention capability and can resist compaction. You can also consider making your own compost with manure added. This is probably a better option than buying readily available garden soil from the nursery.

Do take note of the vegetable type as well when you are selecting the soil. Potatoes prefer rich, loamy soil while carrots prefer sandier, more free-draining compost.

4. Watering
Container plants generally absorb more heat, hence they usually take in quite a bit of water. To prevent your vegetable plants from drying, it is vital that you water them frequently. Take this into consideration when positioning your containers. Having easy access to water points will make it more convenient for frequent watering.

How can you tell if your plant has enough water? First of all, you have to determine the moisture level of the soil. The soil in your containers should not be soaking wet as it can cause the roots to rot. Use the finger test to determine the moisture level of the soil. Dip your index finger into the soil. If it feels hard and dry, you need to water your plants. If the surface, or just below the surface of the soil feels moist, you can water your plants the next day.

If you donít wish to use the finger test, get a soil moisture meter to do the job. In fact, this is a more accurate means than the finger test to measure soil moisture level.

5. Adding fertilizers
Since container plants require watering frequently, the fertilizer will get diluted faster too. You should feed your container vegetable plants with fertilizers twice as often. Doing so will ensure your plants of a healthy supply of fertilizers for strong and healthy growth.

Growing vegetables in containers at home allows you to enjoy fresh home-grown vegetables at any time. Nothing beats the satisfaction of being able to savor the fruits of your labor and to share it with your loved ones. Indoor vegetable gardening is such a pleasure when you have the know-how and tips to grow a bountiful harvest.

Discover practical tips for indoor vegetable gardening and learn the tricks of container vegetable gardening at the Indoor Vegetable Gardening Blog. Get gardening secrets and learn how to grow vegetables effortlessly in your home.



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