Best Veggies to Grow in Containers
Garden Clippings for April 27, 2019
Wannabee gardeners who don’t have space for a legitimate backyard vegetable garden have no excuse to stay away from seeds, soil and fertilizer. Containers allow for ample opportunity to get dirt under the fingernails.
Containers need not be fancy. Choose the right size container for your crop. Herbs and lettuce won’t need a large deep pot, but if you want to grow tomatoes and peppers, you will want a pot that allows for room to grow, probably a minimum of 18 inch diameter and 12 inch deep.
Use good soil growing medium. Garden dirt will be too heavy, but the soilless mixes will work fine. Make sure your container has good drainage so excess water can run off.
Lettuce and other salad greens are perhaps the easiest and most rewarding veggies to grow in pots. Lettuce will satisfy the most impatient gardeners because they sprout quickly and can be harvested a month after seeding. Lettuce is a cool season crop preferring to grow in May and June rather than July and August.
Start lettuce by seeding directly in shallow containers. Start anytime in April or May. Lettuce can handle a light frost but if heavy frost is expected, bring the pot indoors overnight. For best flavour, harvest lettuce early.
Spinach is just as easy as lettuce to grow in containers but will take a week or two longer and will require a deeper pot.
Herbs of all kinds grow well in containers. Some keen gardeners suggest that herbs are more flavourful if grown in containers where they might experience the stress of draught and crowded roots. Grow herbs where they can capture as much heat and sun as possible. Many herbs are quite forgiving and will allow you to forget watering if you go away for the weekend.
Tomatoes, the most popular vegetable for home gardeners, will happily grow in containers. Choose varieties that are geared to containers and will remain compact. All cherry and grape tomato varieties will grow nicely in pots and will also grow well in hanging baskets. Tomatoes want lots of summer heat and sun. Fertilise faithfully with controlled release plant food as well as water soluble plant food. Be generous with the water hose especially as the tomato plant matures and becomes thirsty.
Peppers want the same growing conditions as tomatoes. Make sure your pot is large enough and give plenty heat and sun. Get a head start on growing peppers and tomatoes by starting them indoors in April. When May arrives put the container outside as weather allows.
Strawberries are fun to grow in containers and will grow equally well in a good-sized hanging basket. Choose an everblooming variety and you can expect to pick strawberries through most of the summer.
Growing strawberries in containers will not give you enough to harvest by the basket but will give you enough for dessert every weekend.