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Growing Vegetables in Containers

Posted by Andrew Holsinger -

Vegetables don't have to be grown only in the ground; they can also be grown in containers. When it comes to growing in containers, start by thinking inside the pot. Does the container have adequate drainage? Whatever kind of container is used, drainage is very important. Excess water needs to drain. If the container has holes located on the bottom it should be slightly elevated to accommodate the drainage.

Remember the cultural requirements of the vegetable when growing in containers. Consult with the seed pack to determine spacing requirements as well as how large the selected vegetables will ultimately grow. The variety chosen can influence the size of the container you will need.

Size does matter when growing vegetables in containers. Beginner gardeners often underestimate the size of container needed to accommodate the growth of the plant. Dwarf varieties are ideal for growing in containers. A small trellis can be installed in the container for vertical support of some climbing varieties, or bush varieties can be used, such as bush cucumbers.

Vegetables that are popular to grow in containers include cabbage, lettuce, Swiss chard, peppers and tomatoes. You can create an edible landscape by including vegetables in containers with a variety of colors.

Most all-purpose potting mixes are low in nutrients. Additionally, drainage from the pot also allows for nutrients to escape over time. A water-soluble fertilizer is commonly recommended to provide nutrients as the plants grow. Make sure to follow the fertilizer's label instructions on quantity and frequency of application. Soils in pots also tend to dry out more quickly; therefore they will need to be watered more frequently, possibly even twice a day (or more) during dry, hot weather.

For those interested in growing organically, compost can be added to the potting mix at a ratio 3 to 1.

Most vegetables require at least six hours of direct sunlight to produce a healthy crop. Fruiting crops typically require more than six hours.

Whether you have ample area for a garden or are limited to a small space, a creative vegetable planting can be achieved with containers.

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