Your Own Organic Garden

Container Gardening – Do it this season!

Organic Gardening on the AllotmentThere are many advantages to container gardening that make it perfect for a new grower. They are simple to set up, easy to care for, and do not require a lawn or yard. With some simple steps and the proper care, container gardening will open you up to the world of home grown food.

Here’s how to do it:
1. Ask yourself these questions:

a.What vegetables, flowers, herbs other plants do I like that grow in my area? Do I want to grow strawberries? What ever you like, you should grow!

b.What do I have to work with already?

Not all container-grown plants need 5 gallon buckets or big, clay pots to grow. In fact, certain shallow rooted herbs like parsley or basil would do fine in an empty plastic bottle that would otherwise be thrown away. For something like tomatoes or beans with deeper root systems, you will want a container that is at least 5 gallons large.

I bet you aren’t composting those food scraps! Well try it out because next season it will make a great media or fertilizer for your plants.

2. Get your seeds/transplants

a.Once you have decided what to grow, go to your local gardening store or nursery, or internet retailers and purchase your seeds.
I recommend using organic seeds, as they are not treated with chemical fungicides. If you are only growing a few tomato plants,
for example, then it makes sense to buy transplants
instead of an entire seed packet.

3. Fill your container with media

Choosing media for your pots can be simple. I recommend using a mix of peat moss (also known as sphagnum) and compost. Dairy compost works well, but most any organic compost will do. How to mix your growing media depends on what you are growing. For herbs, leafy vegetables, broccoli, cucumbers or strawberries, your mix can be about half peat, half compost. For tomatoes, use about ¼ compost and ¾ peat. This will ensure that your tomatoes set plenty of fruit instead of foliage.

4. Where to put the containers and how to plant

Place your containers outside in a spot that receives direct sunlight through most or the entire day. In general, vegetables are divided into two categories, cool season and warm season. Knowing the seasonality of your chosen vegetables will tell you when to plant them. For example, in northern states, warm season crops like tomatoes and cucumbers are planted in June. In general, warm season crops cannot tolerate even a mild frost. The best way to know when and how to plant your crops is to consult a gardening book.

One more thing….strawberries do great in containers!

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