There’s nothing quite like fresh produce harvested at its peak. Even if you live in a space with only a small patio or balcony, containers provide a wonderful way to enjoy your favorite foods year round.
Make The Most Of The Space You Have
Most plants require between 5 –7 hours of sunlight a day to thrive. Choose a location that receives adequate sunlight, is protected from too much wind and temperature extremes, and is in a convenient location for care and harvesting. One of the benefits of container gardening is mobility. Placing your containers on platforms with casters will allow you to move your crops to the best location throughout the day or season. Also, keep aesthetics in mind. Vegetables and herbs can be quite lovely. Think of your edible plants as design elements by placing them in locations where you can enjoy their beauty.
Clay or wooden pots are commonly used, but explore wine barrels, kiddie pools, dresser drawers, salvaged window boxes, old toy bins, and buckets. The only requirements are that containers are large enough to hold the full-grown plants and their mature root systems, and provide sufficient drainage and air circulation. Choose healthy soil, seeds, and seedlings Container plants require a good quality potting soil that provides both essential nutrients and adequate drainage. It’s also wise to replenish the soil each season.
Whether planting directly from seed or transplanting seedlings, it’s important to know your seed company or nursery. Research companies who offer open pollinated non-GMO selections that grow well in your area.
Many vegetables and herbs dislike having their roots disturbed and do best when planted directly from seed. These include arugula, beans, beets, carrots, cilantro, corn, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, radishes, and spinach.
Others crops do best when transplanted as seedlings. You can either grow the seedlings yourself on a warm windowsill or in a hothouse, or purchase them at your local nursery. Basil, brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower), chives, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, perennial herbs, squash, and tomatoes all do well when transplanted into gardens as seedlings.
Caring For Your Container Plants
Container plants require more attention than plants in the ground, so be sure to water your crops regularly. In the heat of summer, plants may need daily watering.
Feed your container plants with a liquid fertilizer solution, applying it to the soil about every three weeks. I recommend equal parts of diluted liquid fish emulsion and kelp.
Enjoy Most importantly, plant what you love to eat! An edible garden of any type should serve the primary purpose of providing you with fresh food to nourish you and your family.