The flavor of a freshly picked tomato combined with just-cut lettuce and a little salad dressing is sure to make any foodie swoon. A home-grown vegetable garden can make some of the tastiest meals become a reality with inexpensive and delicious ingredients. Container vegetable gardens are beneficial for patios with limited space, easily transportable plants and backyards that lack reliable soil to grow vegetation. Here are a few tips than can help you grow vegetables in pots on your patio, deck, balcony or front porch.
Choose the right space
When you're deciding where to house your container vegetable garden, there are many things to consider. You'll need an area that gets at least six hours of sunlight every day. If you're going to use several planters to create a potted garden, make sure that every plant will receive enough sunlight.Choose a space that is also out of the way of heavy foot traffic. The last thing you want is to knock into your growing tomato plantrepeatedly.
Planters and containers
While you'll want your pots to look stylish and match your patio or backyard decor, planters and other containers should be large enough for the vegetables that you are planting. Some planters will be large enough for multiple plants, while others will only have room for a single plant. If you're concerned about the amount of sunlight that your garden will get, you can choose containers with wheels that you can easily move with the sunlight. The materials of the container matter, too. If you use clay pots, which are very porous, you'll need to water more frequently as they lose moisture rapidly. Containers made of treated wood can transfer chemicals to growing plants and their produce.
Potting soil and fertilizer
You'll need to stock up on the essentials before you can grow vegetables in pots. Luckily, you can find potting soil that is speciallydesigned for containers so that you can rest assured that you're choosing the right option for your plants. You can choose standard or organic potting soil depending on your personal preferences. In addition to soil, consider using fertilizer. Some fertilizers should be added at the beginning of planting season while others should be added when the plants start to produce fruit. Check the packaging to determine when to add fertilizer.
Soil in pots will dry out more rapidly than soil in the ground. To keep vegetation hydrated, you'll need to water the plants at least twice daily. You can also invest in specialized irrigation systems that will ensure plants are always watered or soil polymers that absorb water and keep that moisture in the ground for the plant roots.
Plant from seed or starter plants
If you're planting your first vegetable garden, you should begin with starter plants to get an idea of the growing season. These small plants may be producing fruit already or they may just be large enough for you to replant them in a permanent space. Once you transplant them into your containers, you'll get a solid feel for vegetable gardening as you get a sense of how to care for your plants. For astart-to-finish experience, plant seeds following the instructions on the packet of seeds to achieve the best results.
Some plants thrive in container vegetable gardens while others are more difficult to manage. Common herbs like basil, thyme and rosemary are excellent starter plants as they grow relatively easy in temperate climates. Tomatoes, peppers and lettuce are also common container plants that will produce easy-to-grow vegetables.