Container vegetables are a good idea even if you have the land for a growing -- you run a lower risk of problems like pests, poor drainage, and soil-born diseases. Here are a few tips that will help guarantee success.
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You'll need lightweight containers so you can shift them as the sunlight shifts. Wood containers work well, but so do the beautiful pots seen here -- they look like they are made of lead but are a fraction of the weight.
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Soil isn’t made up of just one component, but many. Learning about the basic elements will help you be a better gardener.
Photography: Kate Mathis3 of 8
Think vertically! Not all containers need to rest on the ground.
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Container gardening requires planning. Because the plants are only getting whatever nutrients are in the pot, remembering when to fertilize, add soil, etc. is important. To create an indispensable reference guide to your garden, staple seed packets to index cards and organize them in a recipe box. Staple only one edge of a packet, so you can flip it over to see instructions for growing. On the lined side, note when the seeds were sown, when they sprouted, and any other dates you might need for future seasons.
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We know -- duh. Just a reminder that soil in pots dries out quicker, so you'll need to water every couple of days (depending on the size of your pot) in order to keep the soil moist. Mulching, as you would in a grounded garden, will help retain moisture.
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Food for Your Food
Because the ratio of root mass to soil volume is much higher than that of garden plants, the roots have fewer nutrients to consume. Time to stock up on some dry organic fertilizer! If you use controlled-release fertilizer, you can give your vegetables an extra boost with fish emulsion, apply every two to three weeks.
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Then comes the fun part -- choosing what to grow in each container! You don't want plants in the same family -- they will compete for the same nutrients. You also want to optimize your space -- plants that hang over the side will leave room for plants that require more pot area, like leafy greens.
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Martha knows a thing or two about container gardening. Watch this video for more tips and tricks.