Living in a small house or apartment with no room, or just not enough time for a food garden?
Follow these easy suggestions to have fresh ingredients on your plate from a container garden with little input time required.
Lets get started!
Can be bought or even collected from the side of the road or what is discarded from shops.
Old buckets, foam broccoli containers and purpose built pots all work well. Most of these things people just throw away.
Soil can be obtained from a donor garden if you can source one or you can buy potting mix from supermarkets and nursery supplies shops.
Price does reflect quality sometimes.
A mixture of both soils can be beneficial also. Sometimes soil from the garden can be too heavy for most veg, so ‘cutting’ it with potting mix can make it more useable.
Food for Food
Quick tip- a few handfuls of kitchen scraps toward the bottom of a veg pot will provide food for your plants in the coming months after preparation.
Easy Crops to Grow
Once your pots are prepared its time to plant out. For first time gardeners or impatient gardeners, seedlings from the nursery are a good option. Growing from seed is cheaper but can sometimes be more difficult
Quick tip- some nurseries will sell seedlings even though it is the wrong season for growing that crop in that area, research before you just go in and buy.
Cherry tomatoes grow like crazy in pots.
They are less likely to be attacked by birds and bugs compared to their bigger cousins, so I find them easier to grow full term to fruit.
While waiting for a big tomato to ripen they often end up the dinner of a bug, rodent or bird.
Allowing a few to ripen and fall on the ground in the pot, or dropping damaged fruit back into the pot often results in a self sown crop next season. Natural selection allows the strongest seeds to supply you with a bumper crop next year.
Parsley, or other similar herbs grow well in pots. If allowed to go to seed, will self-seed with vigor. One plant may be all you need to have parsley for a very long time.
Parsley can be difficult to grow from packet seeds.
Silver beet, is fantastically hardy and can be grown in many different color varieties. It is easy to grow from seed. You can pick it young for salads or let it grow larger and steam as a vegetable.
Other easily grown vegetables in pots include Beetroot, beans and snow peas although you will not get much of a yield.
Lettuce and Garlic and some of the Asian Greens like Bok Choi make great companion plants.
Often talked about, crop rotation isn’t as vital in container gardening but it’s so easy you may as well give it a go. Think in simple terms though. If you planted tomato in a pot, don’t put another tomato plant in it for at least two years if you can. If tomatoes self seed in there just let them be it will cause you no harm. It’s the same for all varieties of veg.
Don’t forget to water every few days.
Obviously some time to set the garden up is required but once its up and running, a garden like this can run with little effort each week.
So growing veg in containers really is the easiest way to do it. It’s perfect if you don’t have much space and if you follow these few tips I am sure you will have a productive garden from just a few containers.
James Liddell is a freelance writer and vegetable grower from New South Wales, Australia.