How To Grow Vegetables In ContainersUsing Containers For Your Vegetable Growing
- By: Mark Bartley
Learning how to grow vegetables in containers has become increasingly popular over the past few years, particularly amongst home gardeners who may only have a very small garden and not have enough room for a vegetable plot. It is also an ideal way for the elderly or infirm to carry on gardening without having to worry about getting down to ground level. For children too, container gardening makes perfect sense as they can easily identify their own plants, which helps them stay interested in a process that can take several weeks.
What type of container? Garden centres and retail stores stock various options, but many people make do with recycling things they already have. Before you head off for the garden centre and buy troughs, pots and gro-bags, consider what kind of vegetables you want to put in them. If you want to grow root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips, then a gro-bag is not going to be suitable as the plants will need more depth to develop decent underground tubers. Alternatively, surface vegetables such as courgettes or marrows tend to spread more, so will need a large shallow container such as a gro-bag. Plan your vegetbale range and pick a selection of containers that suit the plants, otherwise you'll be battling right from the start.
There are numerous advantages to growing veg in containers. Learning how to grow vegetables in containers is a great introduction to gardening, particularly for children and those new to growing their own. Containers are easy to access, there's no weeding and no heavy digging to do and if you use shop-bought soil and compost, you'll know that the soil has all the required nutrients and structure for optimum growth. You will also avoid any pest problems, which will not be the case if you use soil from other parts of the garden or from containers used the previous year. If you are growing tender vegetables, using containers also means that you'll be able to position the plants in the best position as they develop and grow. It also lets you move them into more sheltered areas if a sudden sharp frost is predicted or the weather turns chilly. If you choose carefully, vegetables in containers can also make interesting 'statement' plants. Hanging baskets filled with cherry tomato plants make a change from summer blooms, and terracotta pots planted with purple sprouting broccoli can add a splash of vibrant and unexpected colour to a patio.
There are however some disadvantages to container growing. These are a few of the drawbacks to growing vegetables in containers. Unless you have lots of containers, crop volumes will be limited, so don't choose vegetables that take up too much space or need a larger growing area such as cabbages or cauliflowers. The size of the crop you can grow will be much less than if you planted a row in a vegetable plot, so choose vegetables that are multi-cropping to make the most of your containers. The other downside of learning how to grow vegetables in containers is that accurate watering and feeding is much more important than a garden plot. Containers can become dry very quickly, especially in sunshine and food resoures will be quickly used up by thriving plants, so you will need to either set up an automatic watering system that can be adjusted to compensate for very hot, dry weather or be prepared to water your containers every day yourself. Using containers allows anyone, regardless of garden size, to explore how to grow vegetables for themselves. It's easy, there is less manual effort involved and a prize pumpkin in a pot on the patio can be something to be proud of a real garden feature.
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Mark puts together all kinds of help for people thinking of growing vegetables(http://www.lovethegarden.com/how-to-grow) at home. Mark has produced a rich selection of home and garden reports providing useful reference material.