No garden? No problem. Container gardening is enjoying a resurgence as people all over the world get involved in vertical gardening, rooftop gardening, urban gardening and even xeriscaping (the concept of replacing a lawn with a garden). Growing edible plants in containers allows you to stretch your grocery dollars through the spring summer and early fall, but it can also allow you to supplement your emergency food supplies year-round. If you’ve never had a container garden you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive and easy it is to start and maintain. Container gardens are useful for those with little or no garden space, for urban residents with a small sunny patch or bright window, and even for condo and apartment dwellers with small patios or window boxes.
Containers you use for gardening can be recycled from virtually anything. As you are looking for containers remember that it’s easier to grow plants in large containers because the soil stays moist longer. The ideal container is at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches deep All of your containers must have drainage holes, even if you have to drill them yourself, because plants can become waterlogged and die if they sit in stagnant water.
Most herbs and vegetables require full sun (6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day). Check the tag, ask the nursery attendant, or go online to find out the specific requirements for your container plants. All plants need good air circulation so they don’t fall prey to the diseases and pests that thrive in damp stagnant environments.
While it’s tempting to shovel any available free dirt into your pots, fill your containers with good quality soil designed especially for container gardening. The soil will hold moisture better and will enable your container plants to grow quickly and produce more. Use this formula to determine how much you’ll need:
- 3 pints of soil per 6-inch pot
- 3 1/2 gallons of mix per 12-inch pot
- 6 1/2 gallons of mix per 20-inch pot
Fortunately most plants don’t care what kind of container they’re in. Good plants for container gardening are:
- Green beans
No matter how much space you have, your container garden doesn’t have to look like a hodgepodge. Check out these links for some beautiful examples of container gardens that produce throughout the entire spring, summer and fall.