vegetable gardening

Container Vegetable Garden Basics

The Proof Is In The Pot

When deciding to try a container vegetable garden, it is important to choose the proper pot; a pot too small will crowd the roots and very large pots will need a manner of moving them so they can take best advantage of the available sunlight. All pots for container vegetable gardening need to provide adequate drainage and be large enough to allow the finished plant room not just the seedlings.

A good rule of thumb for container vegetable gardens is to allow a minimum of 18 inches in diameter or width and 18 inches of depth for most plants; this will vary depending on the exact vegetable that is being grown, carrots for example will need twice the depth they are expected to reach at maturity.

The material the pot is made out of and the color of the pot are important factors to consider for container vegetable gardens; each climate has a type of pot which is best suited to produce the best results. Cold climates with little sun can enjoy dark colored pots made of metals as they can stand up to the winter cold, and there is little worry of overheating heating the root system during the summer months.

Wood and clay are good choices for container vegetable gardens in warmer climates; they allow the roots to breathe and wood will retain moisture to allow less frequent watering. Light colored pots will help to assure the roots do not get over heated as this will kill the plant.

Location, Location, Location

Deciding where to set the pots once the containers for a vegetable garden have been chosen is an important step; many vegetables require full sun, full sun generally means at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Some plants will tolerate partial shade but still need at least 3 hours of direct sun each day; additionally making pots mobile can prevent them from getting water logged during a heavy rain, especially if the pot happens to be in a roof drain off location.

Watering

A container vegetable garden needs plenty of water and drainage; insuring the proper amount of water and air reach the roots is essential to successful growing. Feeling soil an inch below the surface will tell if the plant is in need of water; drooping plants are a sign of dehydration not just need of a little water, plants should never be allowed to reach that point.

It is important to remember to never water the leaves of the plant only the soil, the roots carry the water to the whole plant, the leaves cannot absorb it themselves; watering the leaves can cause bacteria, mold or other diseases to infest the leaves and there for kill the plant.


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Gardening Tip #6

Overwatering kills most houseplants. Looks can be deceptive, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don't water it.