Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Vegetable Container Gardening for Beginners

Learn about vegetable container gardening for beginners.  This has container gardening basics like choosing soil, pots, and tips to help you garden like a pro.

Vegetable Container Gardening for Beginners

Even though we have a large garden, I still do container gardening for patio.  Our garden isn't close to the house, so I like to grow my herbs in containers on the patio.

Some years I also plant a tomato or green pepper plant on the patio just so it's convenient to have fresh food growing close to the house to grab for dinner.

Maybe you don't have a yard for a garden or just don't want to deal with a big garden.  You can still learn how to start gardening in pots.

For more gardening ideas, check out these posts:

Keep track of your garden from seed to harvest with a printable gardening journal.

What Do I Need To Start A Container Garden?

Learning how to start gardening in pots does not take a lot of resources, and there are plenty of container gardening for dummies type resources online. You will need pots of course, as well as soil and your starter plants or seeds. 

Additionally, you will need space to set the containers and a way to efficiently water the plants. 

I recommend using heirloom seeds.  Here's a victory garden seed set to get you started.

How Do You Lay Out A Container Garden?

One of the best things about container gardening for patio is that it saves on yard space and lets you garden in small areas. Depending on how much space you have, your container garden should be laid out in such a way that all of your plants receive adequate sunlight. 

Further, it should be laid out in such a way that as the plants grow the tall ones won’t block sunlight from reaching the small ones.

What Can I Plant In A Container Garden?

When it comes to vegetable container gardening for beginners, you have access to all sorts of plants that are easy to grow even for a newbie. You can plant nearly any plant you can think of as long as the container is big enough. 

Some plants won’t work as well in a container garden, such as plants that need lots of space for their roots. Other plants, such as tomatoes, will need trestles in the container as well. However, barring a few exceptions you can plant many different kinds of plants. 

Ultimately,  container gardening for patio or decks does typically mean less space which in turn can affect what plants you can grow, however, there are still plenty of options.

Learn about the best vegetables to grow in containers.

What Vegetables Can You Grow Together In A Container?

There are certain vegetables or plants that work well when you grow them in the same containers. These are called companion plants and typically consist of two vegetables or a vegetable and an herb.

Sometimes plants can change or improve the taste of plants that are grown near them. They are a great tool when you are learning how to start gardening in pots, as they allow for lots of customizability in your garden. 

Learn more about companion planting for herbs.

What Vegetables Can Be Grown In Pots?

One of the benefits of  container gardening for patio or deck use is that what you can grow is limited only by the space you have. There are all kinds of vegetables that you can grow in pots. 

Some of the more popular vegetables include peas, tomatoes, beans, and onions. However, there are a plethora of possibilities for your container garden. 

Should You Put Rocks In The Bottom Of A Planter?

As long as your containers have proper drainage I do not recommend putting rocks at the bottom. Rocks only make your containers heavier which complicates things if you need to move them around.

 Unless you have an explicit reason to put rocks in your planter, I don’t recommend doing it.

What Do You Put In The Bottom Of A Planter Without Drainage Holes?

One of the best things about vegetable container gardening for beginners is getting the containers right. If your container does not have any drainage holes, then you can layer some pebbles at the bottom to help. However, I recommend using pebbles instead of rocks as they provide better drainage overall.

For plastic pots, I use a drill to add holes to my containers.  For ceramic pots, I use some pebbles.

What Can Be Used As A Planter?

Nearly anything can be used as a planter as long as it will support the weight of the soil and won’t get damaged by the sun or elements. I recommend using durable plastic containers or traditional gardening pots as they are more likely to hold up over time.

As much as I try to avoid plastic, I don't like to use ceramic or breakable pots.  Between the dogs running around, high winds, and the kids driving the four wheeler, I don't want to risk cleaning up a mess.  

These 25 gallon grow bags look interesting.  I might grab a pack and plant some in them this year to test them.

Tips to Help you Container Garden like a Professional

As an experience, gardening can be immensely satisfying, and not to mention rewarding. There is simply nothing like growing and enjoying your own food. There are all kinds of foods to grow, from fruit to vegetables or herbs. Even if you just grow flowers, gardening has something to offer for anyone. 

Unfortunately, gardening can consume a lot of time and space. However, you don’t always need tons of land to have a great garden. In recent years, container gardening has become increasingly popular.

Container gardening is a system in which you grow plants in containers or bins. It is a modular take on the classic garden. It might seem a bit complex or weird at first, but with these tips you can learn how to start gardening in pots.

Choosing the Perfect Container

Unsurprisingly, choosing the right container is critical to the process of container gardening. This is because the proper container can make or break your container garden's health.

When you are choosing the appropriate container for your garden, you must be aware of several key factors. The first factor is container size versus the amount of space you have for your container garden, as it is necessary to choose containers that will fit with the space you have.

Second, you must always take into account the plants you wish to grow. Different plants need more space than do others, so it is critical to choose containers that have enough space for your plants to grow. 

Lastly, your containers must be durable and able to withstand harsh weather conditions. You do not need the added stresses of your gardening being damaged due to poor weather, so it is imperative to invest in quality containers early on.

Invest in Good Soil

Once your containers are acquired, you will need to get some good soil to use for planting. I recommend investing in quality soil that will afford your plants the key nutrients that they need to grow. 

I also recommend taking advantage of plant nutrient supplements for use in your container garden. Supplements have been known to really help boost your plants health. 

It is also wise to not skimp out on soil either, because plenty of soil means your plants are better able to get the water and nutrients they need to grow.

I really like Fox Farm Ocean Forest potting soil mix.  However, it's on the pricey side.  I usually grab Miracle Grow Potting Mix.  It's less expensive and works great.  

It's also a local Ohio company, and I pass the plant taking my daughter to school each day.  I like supporting local and Ohio owned businesses when I can.

Do Not Forget About Drainage

Like all living things, plants need their water. However, it is possible to overwater your plants. Overwatering your plants can be hazardous to their health, which makes it super important to allow excess water to drain out. 

There are a few ways to go about this. The easiest way is to just cut small holes in the bottom of the container. 

You can also purchase containers that come with the perfect sized drainage holes. As a tip, always be sure to check and see what type of drainage you need before making a final decision.

Fertilize and Water Frequently

This might seem like container gardening basics, but it is never a good idea to overwater your plants, but you still need to water your garden frequently. 

Further, it is always a good idea to fertilize your plants. Even though some soils have slow release fertilizers, it is still recommended to use a liquid fertilizer in addition.

I recommend integrating the fertilization of your plants into your gardening routine. Simply drop a few droplets of fertilizer into your containers once they have been watered. 

When it comes to vegetable container gardening for beginners, a consistent routine is always smart.

Improvise and Adapt

If you are a container gardener on a budget, you don’t always need the top of the line or pricey products to help your plants grow. I recommend checking out garage sales and thrift stores for quality containers, even if they are improvised.

As long as your containers sare durable and have the correct drainage, they will fit perfectly in your container gardener. When learning about vegetable container gardening for beginners, it might seem like you need loads of expensive equipment, but that is not always true.

There are plenty of container gardening for dummies type guides that will help you container garden on a budget, which is super important to learn how to do!

Acclimation is Important

Plants by nature are known to be very finicky. Therefore, if you want them to survive and thrive you will have to learn how to acclimate them to new things in your garden. For instance, abruptly deciding to change the location of the plants can have negative effects.

It is possible to change the location or even nutrients of your plants, it just must be done slowly. After all, most of us probably wouldn’t like it if we had to move across the country at a moment's notice.

Sunlight is Key

Not only do you provide nutrition for your plants, but the sun also plays a key role in the growing of your garden. Therefore, it is incredibly important to place your garden somewhere it will garner lots of natural sunlight.

One thing to note is that because the containers are portable, you can always rotate your plants periodically if you lack the space to keep all of them in the sun.

Plant Tags (Not Just for Show)

Many new gardeners will pitch the tags off of their plants, but it isn’t wise to do so, as those tags can have a lot of great information. 

Some container gardening for dummies guides might say to purchase lots of books for reference, but plant tags give you plenty of information.

Plant tags contain loads of useful information, including recommended sunlight and water. They also tell you the typical height of the plant. I recommend storing the tags somewhere they can be easily accessed as they will help you plan your garden.

Think of this as creating your own gardening guide, tailored specifically to your needs. Creating a comprehensive organizational system for your plant tags and other educational resources is always a great idea.

Know Your Plants

This is one of the first things that all container gardening for dummies or container gardening basics guides should tell you about. 

All plants are different, in that each will have its own unique needs with respect to space, nutrients, expected height, and lifespan. As such, it is critical to research the plants you wish to grow before investing time and money into growing them. 

Further, you should always check and see if there are any good companion plants to the plants you are interested in growing.

Researching and learning about your plants can make the beginning stages of your garden much easier, as you will be able to rest easy knowing that your plants are receiving the right treatment. 

You should also know the difference between annuals and perennials, as you can mix and match them and really bolster your garden.

Prepare Yourself for Dead Plants

When you first learn the container gardening basics, you should know that you will have a few plants die. Dead plants are one of the inevitable evils of gardening, but even experts have plants die from time to time. 

When getting into vegetable container gardening for beginners it is important to reconcile the fact that you may fail from time to time. Ultimately however, container gardening can be done.

What is important is to take a step back and see what went wrong, if anything in specific did go wrong. From there, learn from the mistakes and develop a plan to prevent it from happening again.

Overall, container gardening can be immensely rewarding, but it is not always an easy process. Container gardening requires a lot of dedication, research, and preparation. What's more, it also requires accepting that despite your hard work, some plants will still die anyway. 

With that being said, having these tips in mind, a container garden is not impossible, and you too can have the fantastic container garden of your dreams.

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