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Vegetable Gardening in Containers
Just because you do not have a large, or any, yard doesn’t mean you can’t grow your own vegetables. Almost any vegetable can be grown in a pot as long as you follow a few basic rules. The first rule is that the size of the pot must be appropriate for the plant you want to grow. If you want to grow root vegetables, such as carrots, you need a deep pot. Lettuce and other greens have shallow roots, so they are fine for smaller containers. Most plants will need a minimum of a 5-gallon container, larger is better. If you are growing vining plants, like cucumbers or tomatoes, that require trellising or other support you will want a large, heavy pot to support them and prevent them from being too top-heavy and tipping over.
The container material also plays a role. Clay pots are nice because they are heavier, and often more decorative, than plastic ones. But unglazed terra-cotta pots are porous and dry out faster, requiring more frequent watering. Of course, you can always plant in plastic pots, then place those pots into decorative clay or ceramic ones.
The color of the pot also matters. Black or dark colored pots will absorb more heat from the sun than lighter colored ones which may cause them to dry out faster.
Regardless of which type container you choose, plants in containers need to be watered much more frequently than plants in the ground. In the heat of summer this may mean twice a day. This is another reason to go large on the pot size – the larger the pot the more soil it contains, so it will hold more water. They will also need to be fertilized regularly with a liquid, or water-soluble, fertilizer even if the potting mix has fertilizer in it.
One big advantage of growing in containers is that in the (likely) event that we get an early or late freeze/frost, or a summer hailstorm, they can be moved to safety or protected easier than plants in the ground. For more vegetable gardening tips click on the link for Vegetable Gardening in the Tri Lakes Region!