6 Tips for Gardening in Containers
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Growing vegetables in containers is an effective, yet easy way for you to provide fresh & wholesome vegetables for your family. Not everyone has a large backyard or field to grow rows of vegetables in. Because of their size and the fact that they're so readily available, 5 gallon buckets and other gardening containers have become popular spaces for gardening. Container gardening provides an ideal space for most vegetables and herbs.
Tip #1 -Select your Container
Select and prepare your container. You may be able to recycle old 5-gallon buckets, provided you make sure they have only contained food-grade materials; since you're growing vegetables for human consumption, you don't want to use containers that have contained potent chemicals in the past. Home improvements stores often sell empty 5-gallon buckets for storage purposes, as well. Wash your buckets thoroughly with soap and rinse them with water.
Tip #2 -Make Drainage Holes
Depending on the size of the container you're using, drill 5-15 holes on the bottom.
Tip #3 -Choose the Right Soil
Fill your container with garden soil. Depending upon your gardening experience, options include plain garden soil, premixed general purpose potting soil and your own custom-mixed soil, which may contain a range of ingredients, such as peat moss, manure-based compost and vermiculite. Fill the buckets up to within approximately 1 to 2 inches of their tops.
Tip #4 -Use Correct Depth & Spacing when Planting
Plant your vegetables. If you're planting seeds, follow the planting depth and spacing instructions on the packets. If you're planting started vegetables, the University of Maine Cooperative Extension suggests that you avoid planting them within 1 inch of the side of your bucket in order to keep them from getting too hot. Gently mist the soil with your garden hose, allowing the water to soak into the soil.
Want to know more about how to plant using the correct depth and spacing?
View our "Seed Planting and Spacing Cheat-Sheet"!
Tip #5 - Apply Mulch, Fertilize & Water
Care for your vegetables. Provide a balanced fertilizer every two or three weeks if you're not using premixed potting soil, which usually contains fertilizer in it already. Check the soil daily to ensure that it's moist; if not, water it. Remove weeds as they appear, providing a bit of mulch on top of the soil if necessary to discourage weed growth.
Tip #6 -Harvest Regularly
Harvest your vegetables regularly to encourage your vegetables to produce a more bountiful harvest.
(Source: Urban Organic Gardener)