Container Vegetable Gardening

Written by Sarah Provost
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If you've always wanted a backyard vegetable garden but don't have a backyard or even a square foot of dirt to call your own, don't despair. If you have sunshine, you can still have veggies. New strains of vegetables have made container gardening a practical alternative.

Finding a Place for Your Garden

A patio or open deck is a perfect place for container gardening. You can use large containers without worrying about weight, and adequate sun is not usually a problem. In apartment buildings, balconies and fire escapes are possible garden sites, if they get full sun for at least a few hours a day. Even if all you have is a sunny windowsill, you can still grow an herb garden.

Use the largest containers your space will permit, since it's easier to keep them watered. A half-barrel makes a wonderful planter. Choose your plants from among the midget, compact or bush varieties, rather than climbing or spreading types. Be careful not to crowd the container, as the plants will grow rapidly and choke each other.

If you can't support the weight of a large container, spread around smaller pots. Plant cherry tomatoes in a hanging basket, or lettuce in a window box. You'll need to water small containers more frequently than large ones, and porous ones such as clay or wood more frequently than plastic. Be sure there is a drainage hole in the bottom of your container to prevent root rot. Add fertilizer to the pot when you plant, and once a month thereafter.

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