Spring and planting season is here. You look out your window and sigh. There is simply no room in your yard to plant a vegetable garden. Don’t despair! You can grow edible plants in containers and have great success (plus, you don’t have to work about violating pesky HOA regulations)! Many vegetables and herbs will thrive in containers. There are a few things to know in order to have tasty fruits, veggies or herbs.
Choosing the Right Container
What you want to grow can determine what kind of container you will need. You may choose to plant a variety of vegetables and herbs in one container, or you can plant individually in different size containers and arrange the containers beautifully. Consider the depth a plant will need to thrive. Plants like lettuces and certain herbs will do great in a shallow container, but plants like tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers need a deeper container. If you aren’t sure what depth a plant might need, just check with one of our associates.
How large the plant will grow also determines the size container you need. You may have more success if you plant vegetables and herbs that don’t grow to be too large. For example, choose cherry or grape tomatoes for a container garden instead of a Big Boy variety. If you want to grow vegetables that will be very large, just make sure that you have a container that will accommodate its growth!
Choosing the type of planter can determine how well your container garden will do. Plants that require excellent drainage (like rosemary or other Mediterranean herbs) will be happy in clay pots. Clay draws moisture out of the soil, so they are a great choice.
Plastic can get the job done and they are often very affordable. Just keep in mind that plastic containers tend to keep the moisture in. To avoid drainage issues, you may need to add a few extra holes in the bottom of your planter.
Since metal absorbs heat, metal containers are a great choice for heat-loving plants.
When choosing a planter, don’t feel like it has to be a traditional container. Many non-traditional planters can be used–just make sure that whatever you choose can drain well. Go to your local thrift or antique store and you may be inspired.
Choose the Right Soil
Don’t go cheap when it comes to the soil you choose. The soil you would use in your garden is not what you should use in your containers. Choose soil that is mixed specifically for containers. And–Feed your soil! Don’t forget that plants are living things and need nutrition, too! Follow mixing directions on any fertilizing item you choose. Some options to mix your soil with include worm castings (yes… that is earthworm poop), seaweed fertilizer, or rock phosphate.
Choose the Perfect Plants
If you want to plant a variety of plants in one container, you may want to consider the thrill, sprill, fill technique. Not only does this look great, it should allow your plants to get the sunlight that they need and not drown each other out. Here are suggestions for a few of the plants that you can combine:
- Basil (can also work as a fill)
- Cucumber (with a trellis)
- Rosemary (this one can gown really big–may do best in its own container)
- Swiss Chard
- Sweet Potato Vine
Plant flowers with your favorite thrill, sprill, fill fruits, veggies and herbs. While most flower varieties are not edible, they will look beautiful and are safe to be planted in the same container as your fruits and veggies. Flowers like Nasturtium and Violas (some varieties) are both beautiful and edible. For example, marigold is an excellent choice to plant in the same container as tomatoes. Marigolds help keep certain bugs and pests away from tomatoes.
Here are some fun combination suggestions:
(If only there were a pepperoni plant!)
Thrill: Cherry Tomatoes
Fill: Basil and Oregano
Salad Container 1
Thrill: Grape Tomatoes
Fill: Kale and Spinach
Salad Container 2
Don’t forget how important it is to keep your containers watered properly. Your containers will need more watering than a traditional vegetable garden. Keep the soil moist, but not wet. Test the soil with your finger or get fancy with a soil moisture tester. We mentioned this before, but make sure your container drains well for your plants to be as successful as possible.
Your containers will need to be where they can get plenty of light. You may want to place your containers on rollers if you have them in a location in which they may need to be moved in order to get the right amount of light.
Have fun with planting your edible containers! Take a pic, tag us, and let us know how it goes. Just imagine how sweet it will be to walk outside and grab veggies and herbs that are fresh and ready to eat! Yum! My mouth is watering just thinking about it! Happy planting, friends!