by Sharon Quercioli
Not everyone has the acreage of land that is needed for an elaborate vegetable garden. Nor, does everyone have the time for it. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your own vegetables – even if you live in an apartment.
There are many different type of vegetable gardens, from open pastures to urban gardening. Urban gardening consists of you, a few big pots, and an imagination. You can build a potted, urban garden just about anywhere: rooftops, sidewalks, porches, balconies, alleys, etc.
Looking past the challenge of “space”, there are other hindrances to vegetable gardens as well. Like soil conditions. Places all over the country can have problems with stone, permafrost, sand, and clay. Even here in Florida, the clay that is in the soil can make it difficult to grow vegetables.
Potted vegetable gardens are one of the ways that you can work around all of those problems. If you are new to growing veggies in containers, here are a few tips to aid you in a successful harvest.
- Don’t forget to plan for how often you can water.
“Self-watering” containers are built with a little reservoir underneath a grid. The soil is packed on top of that grid and the roots of your plants weave their way through in order to tap into that water. These containers are great if you are unable to tend to your garden every day. Work, children, and pets can really cut into your spare time, after all. You just have to remember to keep that reservoir filled (especially in the summer, when your plants will be extra thirsty).
- Herbs are the easiest so start with them.
Transplanted herbs are the easiest potted plants to tend to. Build your confidence in your green thumb by picking some basil and rosemary to try first. Whichever herb you choose, read up on their perfect conditions before you buy them, to make sure that you’ve got the supplies and environment that they need to be fruitful.
- Greens are the next easiest.
After herbs are baby greens like spinach and lettuce. These will be the simplest vegetables to grow in a pot. Make sure to start in the spring because they’re pretty good about tolerating the cool spring temperatures. You can sow those seeds in the pot. It should take about a week for them to sprout. Since they are baby greens, it won’t take them long to reach about four inches – which is harvest size for these little bitty things. Snip off the largest leaves only so that you can keep the rest going for a few weeks. After a couple months, pull the plants out, compost them, and then re-sow new seeds.
- Don’t forget that they’re portable! Move them around!
The sun moves in the same direction every day so make sure that you move your plants around in order for them all to be able to get the most out of the environment. If you can, place your pots on a pot trolley and just cart them around to follow the sun’s movements.
- The bigger the container, the better.
Generally speaking, you should select the largest container that you can afford (as far as price and that you have room for). It is good for the veggies and it will also be a time saver for you. Small containers dry out pretty easily and will need to be watered on a daily basis.
Do you have some ideas, thoughts, or questions that you would like to add? We would love to hear from you! Please feel free to add your thoughts in the comment section below!