Do you love the idea of growing your own food, but don’t have room for a garden? Don’t worry! You can still grow vegetables and herbs even if you don’t have a sunny patch of soil to plant them in. You just need some containers! You might be surprised to discover how many of your favorite edibles will grow just fine in a container.
To get started, you must make sure that the container you choose is large enough to hold a full-grown plant. Veggies like lettuce and spinach don’t require a lot of space, nor do many herbs. But beefy tomatoes and peppers will need some growing room. Selecting the Right Containers for Container Gardening
Once you’ve got the right containers, it’s time to purchase the proper potting mix designed for container growth. You will also need to water more often because roots in containers can’t work their way out to reach water. Make sure that wherever you plan to have your containers can withstand their weight. For example, if you plan to put them on your second-floor balcony you’re going to want to check the building code to make sure it can handle heavy pots. How to Place Pots
Here are some examples of edibles that do well in containers:
Herbs do well in containers of all shapes and sizes. You can place them on a patio, in a windowsill or line them along your sidewalk. The trick is to make sure the pot you choose is matched to the adult size of the plant. Smaller herbs like chervil, chives, cilantro, marjoram, oregano, parsley, sage, savory, tarragon and thyme do well in containers that are 6-12 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Larger plants like basil, lavender, and lemongrass need a minimum of 16-18 inch containers, while rosemary and dill need even larger pots.
- Salad Greens
Salad greens like lettuces, lettuce blends, mesclun and microgreens have very shallow roots and only require pots to be about 6 inches deep. Others like chicory, radicchio and spinach need 8 inches.
Strawberries make beautiful container plants. Imagine having one close to wear you sit outdoors and simply reaching over to pluck a ripe, scrumptious berry right off the plant. They also do well in hanging baskets. The berries will be a eye level while keeping pests from getting into them. Strawberries will grow in just about any container as long as it’s at least 8 inches deep. If you do choose to use a hanging container, go a little bigger; at least 12 inches wide and deep.
The advantage of growing peppers in a container is that you can start them earlier than normal, meaning you will also get to harvest them earlier for your dining pleasure. The disadvantage is that they may not be as big as garden-grown versions. But they will be as tasty! And they provide a colorful addition to a balcony or patio garden. You will want a container that is at least 8 inches deep and at least 16 to 18 inches wide.
Tomatoes grown in containers are just as yummy as the ones grown in garden soil, but they have the added perk of avoiding soil-borne diseases. If you plant in containers you start with new soil every year. It’s important to match the tomato size to the container size for optimal growth. Always err on the side of more space. Even the tiniest of tomatoes, like cherry tomatoes, will need planters that are at least a foot deep and even wider.
This gorgeous plant often gets overlooked when considering a container garden, but it shouldn’t! It will brighten up any container garden with its lovely violet spring flowers and shiny purple fruits. While they are not huge plants, they will need some space to thrive. Containers for eggplants should be a minimum of 12 inches deep and 16-18 inches wide.
These are just a sampling of edible plants that can be grown in containers. If you thought you could never have an herb or vegetable garden, think again! Get started on your own edible container garden and you will be enjoying fresh herbs, fruits, and veggies before you know it!
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