Vegetable Garden Day 7

5 Gallon cloth containers. these dry out FAST.
5 Gallon cloth containers. these dry out FAST.

Getting tired of this yet? Hope not, because today is only day 7 of Garden Tribe’s 21-day Vegetable gardening Boot Camp.

Today’s topic is nice and simple, Container Gardening. I’ve written quite a few posts on container gardening, so you’re probably all experts by now.

Growing vegetables in containers is exactly the same process as growing anything else in containers. And offers the same advantages. Your containers can follow the sun Put your large pots on castors), they can fit in the smallest of spaces, they can create a doubly colourful focal point, they can create height…

Here are the chief principles in growing your veggie garden in containers:

1. Drainage. More holes in the bottom than you think you need. Some perennials and shrubs tolerate soggy soil, but virtually NO vegetables will. Coffee filters over the holes will keep the soil in.

2. Size: Bigger is better. The container soil is the entire reservoir for food and water for your plants, so whereas in the ground the reservoir is unlimited (sort of), in the container it’s very limited. Even plants that have a small root system, like lettuce, still need lots of food and LOTS of water.

3. Potting “medium”: Don’t use garden soil in your containers. There are a lot of reasons that I won’t go into here in detail, but it has to do mainly with drainage and weight. Buy a “soilless” potting mixture (inconveniently called “soil”!) It will have peat or coir, perlite for  drainage,and compost, and might have some fertilizer that will get used up quickly.

4. Feeding: A granular (aka “slow-release”) fertilizer at planting, and then liquid fertilizer every week or so once the plant really gets going. Remember the container is the entire reservoir, compared to an in-ground garden that has a vast reservoir. As Doug Green says (Rule #1), if you want roots, fruits, or flowers, fertilize.

5. Water more often than you think you need to. Remember “reservoir”.

Container-grown tomato from last year. No idea what variety.
Container-grown tomato from last year. No idea what variety.

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