Now’s a great time to try your hand at growing your own vegetables.
There’s something very wholesome and comforting about preparing a meal with fresh vegetables picked right from your backyard. And, the planting and nurturing of your garden can be quite therapeutic – especially when everything else seems to be going nuts around you.
If you have a little spare time and a desire to eat organic, fresh, and nutritious vegetables without a trip to the farmers market or grocery store, check out this beginner’s guide to get started growing your container vegetable garden.
Container Gardening basics – what to know before you begin
While container gardening can be very rewarding when your plants start budding, it can also be a little frustrating at times when your plants don’t flourish. Get off to a good start with these quick container gardening basics:
Best pots for growing vegetable container gardens
Picking the right pot for your vegetable babies is key for your veggies to flourish. The pots should have plenty of room for your vegetable roots to expand and have large drainage holes. Note: many pots sold have holes that are too small, which causes root rot when the soil becomes too wet. Look for holes that are at least ½” in diameter for smaller pots, and one inch for larger pots. Some pots that are great for vegetable gardens include:
- Earthbox – These are gardening systems designed for growing vegetables. The kits make it easy for beginners because they contain sub-irrigated, self-watering planters, mulch fabric, and fertilizing pads. They are a little pricey but great for those who may tend to over or under-water.
- Smart Pots – Made of a breathable fabric called polypropylene, these pots are lightweight, economical, and great for preventing your veggies from getting root-bound. Plus, the flexible fabric can be easily cleaned, folded, and stored away when not being used.
- Upcycled containers – Like the idea of ‘upcycling’ and using other items around the house for a new purpose? You can also use wicker baskets, hanging baskets, fabric grocery bags, wooden crates (with netting to contain the soil), laundry baskets, toy boxes, even plastic buckets for your containers. Just make sure you create properly sized drainage holes then, be as creative as you like!
As a sidebar on containers for vegetable gardening, clay or terracotta pots work fine but tend to let the soil dry out faster than plastic pots. Also, while metal containers are perfectly safe for vegetable gardening, they do attract the sun’s heat and may end up burning the plant’s roots, so be careful when using.
Pick a sunny, temperate spot for your veggies
Most vegetables will thrive with lots of sun, at least 4-6 hours a day. If you are not sure, check the area throughout the day and time when the direct sunlight starts and stops.
Use the right fertilizer and potting soil for container vegetables
Start with a good potting soil made for growing vegetables – splurging on high-quality soil will reap rewards when it’s time to pick and eat your bounty. Go organic if possible as organic soil is more nutrient-rich and will result in better-tasting, healthier vegetables.
Like all container plants, your veggies want to be fed nutrients that help them grow. When planting your vegetables, mix a granular fertilizer made for vegetables into the container soil from bottom to top. Then, add a fertilizer every 2-3 weeks to make sure they stay healthy. Try diluted liquid fish emulsion (yes, it stinks but it is so healthy for the plants!), or something along the lines of Miracle Grow for vegetables.
Water your vegetables until moist
For eager gardeners, overwatering is usually more of a problem than underwatering. While many veggies like plenty of water, overwatering can lead to root-rot and failure to thrive. Self-watering containers can help minimize guesswork.
Going out of town and worried your vegetable garden will go thirsty? We found this DIY ‘self-watering’ trick on Pinterest and had to share. (Yes, it’s a wine bottle!)
Best vegetables for container gardening
Some vegetables are just better suited to container gardens. Here’s a list of many popular veggies that are ideally suited for contained spaces:
- Green Onions
Don’t have a green thumb? If vegetable container gardening isn’t your cup of tea – check out this article on farm-fresh veggies delivered right to your door.
Ready to try vegetable container gardening? Let us know how it goes! Connect with us on Facebook and show off your prize veggies.
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine thirteen times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly eight times. Judi is also a Company-Wide Top Performer with Ebby Halliday, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate.