Just because you live in an apartment, a town or even the city and don’t have a lot of room, there is really no good excuse for not growing your own vegetables. You could even grow an entire herb garden in a spot no bigger than a windowsill.
We all know that vegetables are tasty and good for you, as well as the satisfaction you’ll feel when you grow vegetables on your own. Herb gardening is great for those with really tight spots but want to liven up their cooking accomplishments. A small herb garden can be grown in tiny spaces or even hanging from a ceiling hook; anywhere a window shines sunlight through.
Container gardens need at least five hours of full sun. If you have decided on a sunny window or any location for your container garden you can now put some thought into choosing the proper containers.
Your containers can be made of anything such as ceramic, wood, plastic or clay. They also come in any array of sizes or shapes and you can even match them to any décor. Any container you do choose needs to have plenty of holes for drainage. If you notice that your container drains slowly after watering you should punch some additional holes in it.
You should set containers off of a solid surface, such as the floor or ground. Just place it a couple of inches off the ground with some blocks of wood or a brick.
Choosing the size of the container depends on what vegetable you want to plant in it. Plants with shallow roots like lettuce and most herbs can be planted in smaller containers. Larger containers can be used to plant tomatoes, cucumbers and even pole beans. You only have to remember that the container needs to give the plant lots of root space for it to thrive.
Now that you have your containers and have decided which plants to put in each, it’s time to get the soil mix ready.
For container gardening new gardeners, and even seasoned garden veterans, choose soilless potting mix or just potting soil. These can be purchased from any garden center or nursery. It takes the real guesswork out of soil problems that could potentially arise. Later on you can do it yourself by mixing equal parts of loamy garden soil, peat moss and sand once your gardening hobby has become a passion.
The seed packages will inform you how deep to plant and the adequate spacing. This is important and depends on your container size. A container that is only 6 inches in diameter won’t be hardly big enough for more than one really hearty tomato plant. Of course when you’re planting from seeds you’ll want to add more because it is rare if there is 100% emergence of plants. Once you have seedlings you can thin out container plants.
Fertilizing is important, especially if you have used the soilless mixtures as you planting medium. Time release fertilizers are easiest for beginners. These will allow nutrients to be released over time with no effort on your part and the numbers to look for on the fertilizer are 14-14-14 for a good mixture.
Adequate watering is the most important part of container gardening, or any gardening for that matter. If you have the plants in a sunny location they will likely need to be watered everyday. The best way to check is by feeling the soil. If it feels dry you need to water. If soil feels damp and will form a ball when squeezed in your hand you can wait for another day. Use cool water and mist lightly, rather than drenching new plants. Cool water will help stimulate root development. Water your plants before the sun comes up or after it has went down in the evening. Watering plants in the heat of the day will burn them up.
Because container gardening has grown in popularity, there have been many plants developed with compact growing in mind. So almost anyone can grow a container crop and expect great results.