Begin a Container Garden! (part two)
Container Gardening: Preparing the Container
Choosing your Container
Begin with a list of plants that you want to grow in containers. Use this list to decide which type of container to use. Almost any type of container can be used to grow vegetables. Plastic, metal, clay, wood, or ceramic pots, bushel baskets, drums, gallon cans, tubs or wooden boxes are all recommended. Size is the most important aspect of choosing your container. And of course, with any container you decide to use you should allow for proper drainage (more on this below). Listed here are the recommended container sizes for different vegetables. Your options increase as the size of your container increases; you can plant a variety of vegetables in a half whiskey barrel!
Container Soil Mix
After sourcing proper containers, the next step is to create/ purchase a suitable soil mix. Soil mixes help to hold more water while soil-less mixes are often recommended because they are lighter, drain quickly, and are free from soil-borne diseases and weeds.
- Many local nurseries sell quality soil mixes.
- Johnny’s Selected Seeds offers a large container, organic soil mix.
- ATTRA is the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service which offers detailed suggestions for organic potting mixes, where to buy and how to make your own.
Before you begin adding soil or planting your containers, you want to make sure that your container has proper drainage so that your plants are not sitting in excess water.
A few tips:
1. Make sure that your pot has holes in the bottom or add some by drilling holes on the sides of the container (not on the bottom itself) a ¼ to a ½ inch up from the bottom of the container.
2. Add gravel to the bottom of the container. About an inch of gravel will help with drainage.
3. Raise you pots off the ground with a block of wood or by another means, so that water can easily flow away from the plants.
For inspiration check out the container garden at Phipps!