Advantages of Vegetable Container Gardening
Here’s a list. Advantages of vegetable container gardening. Just getting started? It’s a great way to do it. Pots and Containers. And best of all, it will work pretty much anywhere you may live.
What can I grow in a container garden? Just about any vegetable or herb!
Popular, easy container crops include salad greens, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, beans, chard, beets, radish, squash and cucumbers.
Look for “bush” or “dwarf” varieties, especially tomatoes, cucumbers, squash.
The key is to experiment.
List of Advantages for Container Gardening
Container gardening can be done nearly anywhere. Your Patio. Deck. Balcony. Rooftop (flat roof with access?). Simply on the ground anywhere outside. Indoors too!
Especially for the older crowd, or those with disabilities, or even children… container gardening is certainly more accessible than traditional gardening.
A pot or container is fairly easy to move. Some people use a plant container caddy/dolly on wheels. You could move the container garden to locations where the sun may move throughout the day (for example). Or move it if bad weather is coming.
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Vegetable container gardening enables a greater variety of possibilities. Plants may have varying soil needs, among other things. Consequently, pots and containers can be individually optimized depending on what you’re growing.
I do some vegetable container gardening every year. There’s rarely a weed issue at all. Tiny one’s here and there, are easy to pull out. “Oh what a relief it is…”
Saves Your Back
No bending over to ground level!
Utilizing Your Space
Vegetables grow different from each other. Some are tall. Some short. There are the bushy ones. Some will cling to anything and grow up and up… Anyway, as a result, you can tailor where you put your garden container depending on these characteristics.
A larger vegetable garden will invite pests – insects. Well, all gardens do. However, insects are less likely to come upon containers and pots further apart or up higher than on the ground (e.g. your deck or balcony).
Fewer Disease Problems
Generally, vegetables and plants that are in pots and containers may have less disease compared to in the ground soil.
It’s just plain easier to weed and water a vegetable container garden. Although a side note… a container garden may require more watering because they dry out quicker being above ground and exposed to the sun.
Indoor Container Garden
Because you’re growing plants in a pot or container, this opens up the possibility of growing some vegetable plants and herbs indoors. South window!
Rather than having to wait for ground temperatures to sufficiently warm in the spring, you can start your container gardening earlier. Soil warms up quick in the sun above ground.
Apartment and Townhouse Living
No yard? No problem. You likely have a deck or balcony of some sort. There’s your space for a container garden.
Especially Good For Novice or Beginning Gardeners
Everything about a vegetable container garden is easier. The weed problem is minimal. Diseases and pests are quickly noticed and easily remedied. Containers can be moved to protected spots when there is a danger of prolonged foul weather.
Easier on Fertilizer
Container garden plants require less frequent application of fertilizers. It lasts longer because they remain concentrated in the limited amount of soil within the containers.
Different plants may need different amounts of sun. Depending on what you’re growing. Full sun? Partial shade? Etc… A container or pot can be moved to accommodate this.
Best Dirt – Soil For Container Gardening
Select Light and Fluffy growing media for good aeration and root growth.
Why not just use “garden soil” ? Because it is typically fairly compact, which can hold water and nutrients very well, but can drown roots growing in a container.
Add last season’s containers growing media to your regular garden (assuming no signs of disease). Don’t re-use in your containers. Technically it could be re-used for containers, but, nutrients will be depleted and particle size and pore spaces decreased. So, not recommended.
Tip: Next season… Be sure to replace the soil completely if you found any sign of disease in the plants the previous year as it can stay in the soil.
Container Gardening Water Tips
- Quality and yield are greatly reduced by wilting from a lack of water.
- Drought stress will kill feeder roots and slow plants down.
- Small containers dry out more quickly than large containers.
- Use a saucer to catch excess water.
- The limited volume of growing medium available to container vegetable plants makes it critical to keep the root system moist at all times.
- Watering needs will vary depending on container size, ambient temperature, wind, sunlight, and humidity.
- The growing media should always be moist, but not soggy.
- Micro-irrigation with soaker hoses and drip emitters is efficient, convenient, and relatively inexpensive. Consider a combination of drip emitters plus timer for automatic watering.
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this something that i’m going to try this year as an experiment. i’ll still plant my row crops this year but i’m going to experiment with some cucumbers, tomatoes, and squash in containers. going to set them about 5″ deep on a terrace row between two cut’s, holes drilled in the bottom with river rocks and screen wire in the bottom for drainage. ya never know, it may work out better.
you never know until you try.
i’m all for not having to use the garden hoe as much!
Lots of good tips in the article and I do believe this is the way to go. Here’s a couple more tips, as Ken stated the soil does dry out quick due to using a lighter type of soil for containers. First, apply a light cover of wood chips etc., on the top of your soil to keep it from drying out too fast. Second, double pot with some type of slightly larger container on the outside of your soil filled inner pot, this cuts down A LOT of heat drying out your soil and also “cooking” your roots.
On indoor plants use ice cubes to drip irrigate your plants. Since the melt water goes into the pot slowly, the water doesn’t rush through and makes a big mess. Never had a plant get affected by the colder water tempature…
I grow lots of vegetables in containers! Easier for me to manage, plus very little weeding. I live in the desert now and it’s the only way to go, unless all you want to grow is cactus. We grow our gardens from late September until March.
We are very fortunate to have like minded neighbors directly behind us. Moving to a place where you know no one, it gave me a little piece of mind to know we have people we can team up with in these very scary times. But of course we don’t share how much we have stored away with anyone. Better safe, than sorry.
Good point regarding geographical areas that are not particularly favorable for growing an in-ground garden! That’s certainly another advantage.
In the past we converted our tiny front yard into a flower garden. Last year we grew pots of potatoes, carrots and herbs within the flowers and it worked very well (though a farm would be better☺). We grew enough cucumbers on the rose trellis to can four dozen pints of pickles. We grew beans all around the garden and had many satisfying fresh beans & canned ham meals. This is a very small amount of food (no illusions) but it is satisfying to do what we can with what we have. For food to rely on there’s the storage… yesterday we were doing the math on those beans & rice buckets after Ken’s article! I was encouraged here a few weeks back to try winter sowing and there are now many jugs out in the melting snow.
MNruby, Good for you! Regardless of one’s ‘yard’ space, it’s great to do what you’ve done – growing some of your own food. And you chose well, potatoes, one of the more calorie dense vegetables. That is my primary survival crop choice. It’s also good to experiment.
I took some inspiration from hermit us (Ken published a photo of his yard showing concrete planters with gravel walkways in between) I am setting up my yard to have multiple oak wine/whiskey barrels filled with potting soil. I have grass growing between the barrels. There is enough space between the barrels and bird baths for me to get through with a mower. There is enough open space for my dog to run and play. My perimeter fence has seed feeders and suet blocks for birds and the neighbor behind me is retired and likes to feed hummingbirds. My yard is chemical free as much as possible and I like to raise a balance of flowers and vegetables to bring in and maintain habitat for the native bees around my neighborhood. Most flower beds and vegetables are being raised in the wine barrels which are…big containers.
In the coming weeks I will be breaking up the soil, removing weeds and old stuff. I will be mixing in an organic fertilizer with the dirt in a wheelbarrow and returning the new soil to the wine barrels ready to plant seeds and starts. I cover the seed beds with hardware cloth because the birds I like to feed will gobble up the seedlings if they have no protection.
My timeline for the garden? Right after I return from my annual squirrel hunting safari in Eastern Oregon in mid April. Right now, if not at work, I am practicing hitting quarter sized targets at 100 yards.
Years ago, I bought a magazine/book on container gardening and I followed some of the advice given within. One piece of advice that has served me well was to be selective about the variety you plant in a container. (ie. Cherry Tomatoes do very well planted within a container. I did not have good results with some other varieties).
I also grew flowers within containers and placed them within a group at the base of a plant shade and shade of a tree when I lived in a hot, windy desert region in California. The back yard had walls to block the wind. The trees and shade I built provided protected the plants from too much sun. By grouping the plants in clusters, I was able to water by sweeping a watering wand over the plants oncer per day. This created a cool, shaded microclimate within my small back yard for many years. The neighborhood cats enjoyed hopping the fence and hanging out back there.
I do all of my vegetable gardening in containers on my deck. An added advantage is that there is no way for rabbits to get up there, since there are no steps down to the yard. I use chicken wire and bird netting to deter the “tree rats,” but some of the most curious still find a way in. They like to bury walnuts in the nice soft soil of the containers, and they love to eat my strawberries. The worst thing is that once they manage to get in, they are stuck, unable to figure out how to get out!
Having containers extends the season for me, because I can plant earlier in the spring and also have them out later in the fall. Whenever we’re going to get a freeze, I can pull them inside for the night and put them back out the next day. I can’t do this with ALL of the plants, but it’s nice to have a few out earlier, ready to produce sooner.
I do not replace all of my soil, and I haven’t found it to be a problem. I do mix in compost and sometimes other fertilizers before I plant. While it would be great to replace all of the soil every year, that does get expensive. I’m sure you’re correct that if there is any disease, that soil should be replaced, but I haven’t, otherwise.