We have never had a really big garden, but over the years I have enjoyed growing some of our own food. Some of the things we have grown in our garden are: tomatoes, spinach, kale, cucumbers, peas, romaine lettuce, and green peppers.
But the last few years we have not planted a garden and instead did some container gardening! This year I kept things really simple and just have a cherry tomato plant and a regular tomato plant. We love fresh tomatoes for sandwiches and salads, so we are looking forward to some yummy fresh tomatoes later this summer!
Why I Love Container Gardening
Low Cost – All you need is a big pot, some potting soil, and either seeds or plants. If you do container gardening year after year, you can reuse your pots and decrease the cost even more from year to year.
Doesn’t Take Much Space – If you don’t have space for a big garden, you can easily grow some things in containers on your porch!
Doesn’t Take Much Time – In a regular garden, a lot of time is spent weeding. But with container gardening, you won’t have that time-consuming task to worry about. The main thing you have to spend time on is watering your container garden on a regular basis, because they will tend to dry out faster than if the plants were planted in the ground. You may want to fertilize the plants as well.
Your Garden is Mobile – Because your garden is planted in containers, you can easily move them to where it is convenient for you. Some like to put their pots on their patio, so they can have easy access to them to water and harvest the produce when it is time. For us, we have our pots on our back patio (we have a layer of bricks out our back door for our patio). Sometimes the kids want to play ball or something, so we can easily move the pots out of the way.
Another time you may want to move your pots is if severe weather is forecast and you don’t want your plants damaged. I have done this if hail is forcast, or if we are getting heavy rains I will move the pots under the eaves so they don’t get flooded.
How to Get Started
Are you considering doing some container gardening? If so, here are some quick steps to get started:
- Purchase your supplies – You will need to purchase some large pots, potting soil, and either seeds or plants (see below for ideas of what you can grow!). If you plan on growing tomatoes, you may want to get a tomato cage to put around your pot to help support the tomato plant. One thing to keep in mind, is that some plants require more room. You may find that a half-barrel or 5-gallon bucket works best for plants that need more room.
- Plant your plants – Time to plant your plants in the pots! Before you put anything in your pots, you want to make sure it has proper drainage. It is VERY important that water can freely drain from the pot. If water sits in the bottom it can cause problems including root rot! Make sure there are 3-5 holes in the bottom of the pot. If there are not, you can use a drill or screwdriver and hammer to make some! Then you will want to put some rocks in the bottom of the pot (about 1/4-1/3 full), then fill the rest of the pot with the potting soil. This will aid in better drainage as well. Once that is all done, then you can plant your plants in the pots!
- Find good placement for the pots – Be sure to read the information that comes with the plants you chose to see what kind of sunlight they need. This will affect where you place the pots at your home.
- Keep them watered (and fertilized)! – Unlike a regular garden, the container garden will tend to dry out quicker so will need to be watered on a regular basis. Just make this a part of your daily routine so you don’t forget! You may also want to add some fertilizer to the plants from time to time to keep them strong and healthy!
- Watch the plants grow and produce fruit — then enjoy! – Keep an eye on your plants to make sure you are not over-watering them. One thing I found with tomatoes, is that it is easy to over-water those. They don’t do well for some reason if they get too much water. So keep an eye on the plant health and have fun watching them grow and produce fruit. The real joy comes when you get to pick your first produce from your container garden to enjoy! Yum!
What You Can Plant in Containers
Herbs: Basil, chives, thyme, and other herbs also are quite happy growing in pots, which can be set in a convenient spot right outside the kitchen door.
Vegetables – beets, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, eggplant, green beans, lettuce, onion, peas, pepper, radishes, spinach, summer squash, potatoes, swiss chard, tomatoes, winter squash.
Container Gardening Videos