Growing Vegetables in a Container Garden – Why Your Small Space is Perfect For It

Growing Vegetables in a Container Garden – Why Your Small Space is Perfect For It

Growing Vegetables in a Container Garden - Why Your Small Space is Perfect For It

Many people want to grow their own vegetables but believe that in order to do so they require a lot of space. Traditionally vegetables were grown in gardens where there was plenty of space.

However large gardens, may not be an option depending on your yard size. Some areas may have a community garden where you can purchase a plot, but those sell out quickly and cost a lot depending on the city. But this shouldn’t put you off if you want to try growing vegetables. There are many very good reasons for home growing vegetables even if you have a small space:

  • they taste better and being fresher will have greater nutrient content
  • you can plant whatever variety you wish, not just the commercially profitable types supermarkets sell
  • the exercise is good for you
  • it’s cheaper, especially if you preserve your produce and save seeds
  • it connects you to the ‘cycles of nature’ and gets you outside in the fresh air; it’s fun.

If you don’t have the space for a traditional vegetable plot there is another possibility – grow your vegetables in containers. There are good reasons to grow in containers:

  • you can grow veg in very small spaces – many manufacturers produce ‘veg/potato/strawberry bags’
  • raised bed sets that can be used on cement/paving
  • ‘vertical veg gardens’ etc
  • you can control the growing environment better – protecting the plants from pests and weeds, controlling heat, water supply and soil conditions
  • they look attractive – especially pea and bean flowers
  • there is less work involved – you don’t have any digging to do, which is very useful if you have mobility problems or just don’t like digging clay soil or tilling.

Many vegetables are traditionally grown in the ground after being propagated in trays. However, they can just as easily be grown in a pot. It is possible to purchase varieties developed for growing in containers and smaller vegetable gardens, for example, Leek ‘Electra’ (which grows well as a garden vegetable, if you have the space). However, this isn’t necessary, unless you want a ‘dwarf’ variety, as many varieties will grow in containers if the container is big enough.

You can grow lettuces in window boxes, tomatoes in hanging baskets, potatoes in old compost sacks, apple trees in large flower pots, climbing squash like zucchini around a tripod. With a bit of imagination, any space can be productive. Your container could be anything that is sufficient for the number of plants you are planning to grow and which appeals to you.

What do you do once you’ve got your seeds/plants and a suitable container?

The plants should be propagated according to the instructions provided on the packet and then planted out when they are the recommended size into your chosen pot.

If the container is free-standing, put it on a few bricks to help it drain properly. This prevents the plants from drowning. Add some broken crocks or broken-up polystyrene to the container for further drainage. Fill with good quality compost and add plant food, such as ‘fish, blood and bone’ or proprietary chemical fertilizer. If you are using a hanging basket, fill with compost and add fertilizer, but don’t bother with the crocks, it’ll make them too heavy.

Watch the plants and water regularly, protect from pests and frosts, weed if necessary, and in a few weeks (for salads) or months (most other vegetables) you will have a supply of fresh produce to feed yourself and your family.

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