don't have room for a garden, or only want to grow a few vegetables,
planting in containers is the best way to go. Almost any vegetable can
grow in a container and with a little care can produce abundantly.
Here's how to get started.
Tools and Materials
•Containers of various sizes
•Sterilized potting soil
•Drip or hose irrigation
It's All In the Pot
When selecting a container, remember that bigger is better as far as
ease of maintenance and size of harvest. Half whiskey or wine barrels or
similar-sized pseudo terra-cotta containers are large enough to
accommodate vegetables such as large tomatoes, eggplant, and squash,
with room to spare for companion plantings of smaller choices such as
carrots and lettuce. Five-gallon containers can hold dwarf tomatoes,
peppers, beans, and many small leafy greens. A window box is even large
enough to grow radishes and arugula.
And In the Soil
For proper drainage, containers need to have holes in the bottom. Also,
use only sterilized potting soil. Garden soil may contain diseases and
may not be well drained. Because you're planting in such a small space,
you'll have to be very conscious of watering and fertilizing regularly.
Water with drip irrigation or by hand whenever the soil is dry 4 to 6
Fertilize every two weeks with a water-soluble fertilizer for
vegetables, or add controlled-release fertilizer at planting time,
supplemented with a water-soluble fertilizer when needed. For large
containers, mulching with straw or bark conserves moisture.
Best Plant Combinations
Containers allow you to plant combinations that are both edible and
attractive. For example, try creating a salad container with different
colors of leaf lettuce, a bush cucumber, a dwarf patio-type tomato, and
even herbs such as parsley. How about a tomato sauce barrel with a
tomato plant in the center, herbs such as oregano and basil on the
sides, and onions interplanted between the herbs? Or a root crop roundup
container with beets, carrots, radishes, onions, and parsnips in a
•Choose bush varieties of large vegetables such as squash.
•Production may be less than with full-sized kinds, but plants will be
much easier to care for.
•To save space, consider growing some plants up. Choose pole beans over
bush beans, and trellis them along the back of a container. This leaves
space in front to plant other vegetables.