You can start home vegetable gardening anywhere, wherever you live, whether it is in an apartment or a country cottage.
Vegetable gardening in containers is becoming especially popular amongst apartment residents and older gardeners, as you might expect, but also with the broad range of people who have a deck area or hard paved area.
Why Should You Consider Home Vegetable Gardening?
Vegetable gardening is extremely satisfying – When you pick your first home grown potatoes it is an amazing feeling, sticking the garden fork in and lifting the plant to reveal six or eight potato tubers attached. You will eat a lot more potatoes because they taste much better than stale, shop bought ones.
Spinach that you grow yourself in your home vegetable garden has ten times the taste of supermarket spinach. There is nothing like nibbling at peas, straight from the pod, straight from the plant, so sweet you just go back for more, have a pick your own salad party in the vegetable garden.
How Do You Start Home Vegetable Gardening?
Buy a garden fork, a trowel and a Dutch hoe.Turn over part of your yard. Plant something.
Start with a small area, say 10 feet by 4 feet and plant one crop. What you plant depends on where you live and what time of year it is. Use this as a rough guide
January - Plant Broad beans
February - Put seed potatoes to start sprouting on a window-sill
March - Plant potatoes, sow broccoli and Brussels sprouts in seed trays or a small pot.
April - Plant peas, spinach, onion sets, turnips. Sow leeks in seed trays or small containers, sow runner beans in small pots
May – Plant runner beans, plant broccoli and sprouts, sow more peas
June – Plant leeks, sow more peas
July – Sow more peas
August – Plant cauliflower, cabbages and winter spinach
When you have the energy turn over another 10 feet by 4 feet patch and plant another crop. Do this until you have as much home vegetable garden as you want.
The secret of home vegetable gardening is to stay on top of things. Use the hoe once a week to chop off any weeds. If you do it once a week it is only five minutes work each time, leave it for a month and it will take you an hour on your hands and knees with a trowel.
Why Should You Consider Vegetable Gardening in Containers?
You may not have a yard you can dig up, or you may not be up for much digging, you can still enjoy vegetable gardening in containers.
Think of each container as being a small raised bed. Raised beds mean less bending. If you are gardening in containers you will probably be buying compost to put in them. Compost has been sterilized, so it contains no live weed seeds. You will get a few blow-ins, but your weeding will be infinitely less than if you were home vegetable gardening in unsterilized soil in the ground.
Anything that you would grow in a conventional home vegetable garden can be grown in your container vegetable garden.
You can grow potatoes, but use special potato compost or sterilized topsoil because ordinary compost contains lime and potatoes do not grow well if lime is present. Plant leeks in the same container after you have emptied the potatoes out.
You can grow strawberries, have them hanging down over the container.
You can grow peas, put a few twiggy sticks in the container to help support the peas.
You can grow broccoli and sprouts, sterilized soil works best and let the container stand for two months before you plant the young broccoli, sprouts, cabbage or cauliflower. They need to be planted in firm soil.
Spinach grows well in compost, so do turnips, onions and garlic.
Plant one container with parsley, one with thyme and one with rosemary. The parsley will only really grow in the spring after if has over-wintered, because it is a biennial plant. Rosemary has beautiful pale purple spikes of flowers and grows into a small shrub.
You can grow dwarf French beans in your container vegetable garden, runner bean canes tend to become top heavy and get blown over by the wind.
The big issue with any gardening in containers is water. Mature plants lose a lot of water through their leaves every day. If your compost dries out it is nearly impossible to ever get it to absorb water again, so NEVER let your containers dry out.
Cut a length of 3 inch diameter drain-pipe into 12 inch lengths. Drill holes all over it. Place one length in each container before you put the compost in. The pipe should stick out above the compost by one inch and should not have any compost in it. To water your container vegetables, just fill the pipe with water. The water leaks out of the holes and wets the compost all the way down
Is Vegetable Gardening in Containers for Dummies?
It is very easy. If you use soil-free compost your containers will not be too heavy. There is almost no weeding to do. You can use any containers you like, from old sinks, to cheap buckets, just drill holes in the buckets and make sure any container you use has drainage holes in the bottom.
By growing your vegetables in containers you can start off in your first year on a small scale, try things out with just one or two containers of each of your favourite vegetables and plant more of whatever works next year.
All you need to do is to stand a 12 inch length of drainpipe in a container that has holes in the bottom. Fill around but not inside the drainpipe with compost. Sprinkle with a handful of organic fertilizer (Blood, Fish and Bone
works very well). Water. Plant your vegetable seeds or young plants. Keep watering by refilling the drainpipe.
Always use buckets of compost for growing seeds
in, in preference to seed trays. The buckets do not dry out so easily as shallow seed trays, so when you forget to water them your seedlings will stay alive.