I have decided that my garden this year will be a container garden. I find several reasons for taking on this endeavor in containers as opposed to an actual plot of land.
In my yard, I constantly see “critters.” With a container garden, I can put my containers on the screened in porch. I will not need to fence in a garden plot or plant additional items to help prevent deer, rabbits and other animals getting at my growing vegetables throughout the growing season. This reasoning is both a monetary consideration and a space consideration.
Containers can vary in size, shape and material. All of these factors need to be considered when deciding on what container you will use. Along with size – some plants need deep soil for roots or because they “grow down instead of up” – the material a container is made of is vitally important. A clay container will need to have more attention paid to watering. Clay is porous and the moisture in your soil will evaporate out the pores of the clay container. Another consideration is cheaper plastic. Since the containers will hopefully be in sunlight frequently, containers need to be made of a plastic that will not degrade in UV light and will not leach chemicals into the soil your plants call home.
Be sure that the container you choose has adequate drainage. A good idea is to put newspaper in a layer at the bottom of the container. This minimizes soil loss through drainage holes. Also, if you can, put the container on bricks so that the drainage is allowed freely. If you are new to a container gardening, the free drainage of your containers is important so you do not overwater your plants. Also, be careful to plant similar vegetation in a container. All the plants in one container should have similar moisture requirements and similar sun needs.
Once you have decided on your containers, think carefully about the plants you wish to grow. Some plants require a lot of soil space. Specifically, carrots need 10 – 12 inches of soil for growth. Ideal items for container gardening are tomatoes, lettuces, spinach, peppers, green beans. Some of these will require staking but that is a minor detail.
Whether you are growing a garden to increase your family’s vegetable intake or to help cut your food costs, enjoy picking out containers for your plants. Then, take some time and plan your garden, enjoying the fruits of your labor throughout the summer and fall.