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Can I Grow That In A Container?..

…I dunno.   Let’s find out.

That’s the conversation that has gone on in my head for years. Container Gardening fascinates me. I’m not sure why. Maybe because I want my entire yard to be nothing but Garden, and my Husband wants me to keep the Garden in it’s designated spot. The spot designated by him. His point is that the kids need a place to play. Can’t argue with that. Containers seem like a solution for me to compromise a bit.
In years past, I have had success with quite a few things grown in containers. You’d be surprised how many veggies you can grow quite well in this way. The main factors are – you need to water containers more often than you need to water a traditional garden… and… you have to have the right size container for the specific plant. To know which container to use for which plant, you need to research the way in which the roots grow on your particular plant. For instance- the main roots of a tomato grow horizontally, not vertically. Therefore, they need a wide pot, more so than a deep pot. Make sense? I’ve had success for years growing cherry tomato plants in pots that are about 14″ wide and about 16″ deep. These are just the containers I happened to have available the first year I decided to try container tomatoes. I’ve heard (and seen) that they can grow in containers that offer 12″ circumference. You know, like 5gallon buckets for instance. The smallest pot I’ve ever tried was 12″ by 12″. I grew a Roma Tomato plant in that one, and it did great.
This year, I’ve finally been convinced by the Internet Gardening Community to try full sized tomato plants (Beefsteak even!) in 5 gallon buckets. It makes me a bit nervous, but – part of learning to be a good Gardener is taking risks. You can’t really know if something is going to work- or how to get it to work- if you never try it yourself, right? I like to dive into gardening ideas and test drive ’em myself.
Things I’ve already grown successfully in containers:

Green Beans — (Bush type) — container is 12″ around, and 12″ high.

Lettuces of all types — Containers have been anywhere from 7″ deep to 12″ deep. Lettuces don’t need much space at all.

Image

Swiss Chard — The current container is only about 10″ deep. It also contains about 6 lettuce plants. In the past, I’ve grown herbs and Cilantro in this container with great success.

Every kind of Herb you can imagine. – Containers have been anywhere from 7″ deep to 12″ deep. They do very well.            Broccoli – In 5 gallon buckets. In fact, I think this is the way I’m going to grow my broccoli from now on. Much easier to cover with Tulle to keep the Cabbage Moth Larvae out (see my “Rumble In The Cabbage Patch” post). In addition, since Broccoli is a temperamental veggie that often wilts in hot sun- having it in a container allows you to move it out of the sun on scorching hot days if you want to. Image

While we’re on the subject of Broccoli – here’s a growing tip: When your head of Broccoli has matured and you’re ready to harvest it, cut JUST the head off of the plant, and leave the plant in the ground (or container). Continue to water and fertilize the plant as normal. Very soon, it will begin to send out shoots from the main stem, right where each leaf comes out from the stem. These shoots are much smaller than the main head, but they are prolific and very tasty. You’ll be harvesting Broccoli right up to the first frost. Which is great, because- the colder the weather, the yummier the Broccoli is. It’s good to cut some of the leaves off the plant now and again while this is going on – leaving intact the part of the leaf stem that attaches to the main stem. This helps the plant put more energy to forming the Broccoli shoots.

This year, I’m trying full sized tomatoes in containers. (as opposed to Cherry, Roma and Patio Tomatoes, which are widely known to do well in containers. I’ve been told that even Beefsteak Tomatoes can be grown in containers, as long as you fertilize and water them consistently. I’ve certainly seen enough of the results others have had, to convince me to give it a go.
I’m also growing Peppers, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and Kohlrabi in containers this year. I’m positive that the Peppers will do very well. I’m skeptical about the Cauliflower and Brussels Sprouts. Mainly because both plants are notoriously hard to grow, even in the ground. The Kohlrabi is doing great in the container, and is almost ready to harvest.
I’m going to try a squash plant in a container this year as well. I tried last year- using a very large container, and it didn’t do well. I got ONE Zucchini. Luckily I had plenty of other plants in a raised bed and they did awesome. Otherwise, I would’ve had no squash last year. I’m not sure why they didn’t do well last year in the container. The plants were huge. They seemed like they would do very well. I think they just didn’t have enough sun, and I also was a bit lazy with the fertilizer. Live and learn.  I’m convinced it can work, so I’m trying it again this year.
What do YOU grow in containers? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks.

<<<Stuff My Kids Say #5>>> My 4 yr. old, picking green peas with me in the garden-  Me: “That one is too little to pick. We don’t wanna eat that one yet.” — Her (thinking for a minute): “Why?… Too cute?”

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