Could container vegetable gardening be on your self-reliance list this year? If not, it should be! I can help you to get started and to grow more food than you ever thought possible.
How would you like to grow an amazing vegetable garden this year? Without a yard? Yep! Without gardening experience? Yep, yep! Whether you live in an apartment, suburb, or aren’t able to dig in your backyard, I am going to teach you “Container Vegetable Gardening the Easy Way”!
So, exactly what does that look like? How does one start a vegetable garden from scratch? What if you can’t keep a house plant alive?
I’ve been there…seriously.
But if you’re willing to learn and do a little work, you can absolutely have a successful garden this year! The experience you get from this year’s garden will allow you to build even better subsequent gardens in the years to come!
Best Container for Gardening
1. Containers – You do not need to purchase containers, there are plenty of them that are free if you’ll just look around! The qualifications for your containers are this:
a) It must hold soil and not be biodegradable.
b) It must not have held anything toxic like paint or solvent.
c) It must be able to drain excess water. (You may need to drill a few holes)
Here are a few more container gardening ideas…
-Used ceramic pots
-Large plastic ice cream containers
-Hanging pots leftover from last year
-Discarded pots from local nurseries, just ask if they have any! FREE!
-Older sand buckets
-Old 5-gallon buckets
-Recyclable grocery bags
-Wicker baskets with a liner
-Barrels that didn’t contain anything toxic. Barrels can be cut lengthwise!
-Metal containers aren’t recommended due to the fact that they hold more heat and can burn your plants
If you are someone who prefers containers that are more ecstatically pleasing, here are a few ideas.
2. Best Soil for Vegetable Container Gardening
Depending upon how large your containers are, you’ll need a good amount of good quality, organic potting soil for containers, specifically.
Do not use potting soil for seedlings, this will not work with container gardening.
3. Container Friendly Vegetables
Your garden’s location is important.
First, let’s talk about direction. The BEST way to place your containers is south. This way, the plants get the same amount of sunlight during the day.
However, this isn’t always possible.
Tall trees in your yard or neighbor’s yard can block the best of the sunlight! Or, your garden location faces East or West, which limits your full sunlight to about 5 hours per day.
So, this presents you with a couple of options.
First, if your garden can only get 5ish hours a day of full sun, these are the best vegetables for container gardening that will grow in partial shade:
The second option is to move your containers around during the day to capture the sun. I’ve done this to grow tomatoes and peppers, and it can be done.
What if You Get Full-sun in Your Container Gardening Location?
Awesome! Here are the best vegetables for container gardens that grow well in sunny locations:
*Cucumbers (Cucumbers, cantaloupe and watermelons can grow in containers, however, they need room for their vines to grow. This is usually not feasible for container gardeners, just letting you know!)
Best Seeds for Container Gardening
It’s important to buy the best quality seeds you can afford.
I recommend open-pollinated, non-GMO and organic seeds. There are many reputable seed companies out there and I order from several, but I really like Territorial Seeds right now.
Territorial Seeds guarantees their seeds and their products and also has a high germination standard. Their website offers growing guides and everything you need to be a successful gardener!
The best way to ensure success with any seed is to read the back of the package. Everything you need to know is there, from seed depth to spacing seeds to the amount of sun needed!
Choosing a container with good drainage, preferably with factory-drilled holes in the bottom, is critical. If your container doesn’t have drainage holes, you can make some with a screwdriver or a drill.
Fill the container with your organic potting soil, about an inch or two from the top.
I’m planting sunflower seeds in this container so that I can get a head start on planting them outside.
Here, I’ve planted the sunflower seeds about 6″ apart. I pushed them down 1/4″ into the soil, as the package said, and covered them. Water your seeds lightly and set them in a sunny window or on your patio, if it’s warm enough!
It’s a good idea to label your seedlings with the name and date that you planted them so that you’ll know when it’s fully mature.
Within a few days, you start to see your little sprouts popping up!
Follow the directions on the seed package and soon, you’ll be harvesting your own fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables, whatever you choose to grow!
Be creative with your containers, use different shapes and colors! Don’t be afraid to try different seeds and varieties. You’ll make mistakes, we all do and that’s how we learn, but don’t let fear stop you from growing your favorites foods in containers this year!