Monday, July 22, 2013

Container vegetable gardening tips

I have a small vegetable garden plot in my backyard. This year I'm growing four different varieties of tomatoes, two varieties of peppers, cucumbers, carrots and a few flowers to attract pollinators.  We're lucky to have excellent, black soil for growing a veggie garden.  But we still don't have a lot of sunny spots in our yard to grow a couple rows of sweet corn, for example.

That's why I was so excited to find the new patio sweet corn variety from Burpee this year. Not sure if you can tell from my photo, but I'm growing the sweet corn in a galvanized feed bucket, which I bought for less than $20 at the local farm store.  My hubby drilled a couple of holes in the bottom for drainage.  So far, the corn has been growing well.  It's actually tasseled since I took this photo.  About the only issue is that the corn started to "fire" or turn yellow at the base of the stems.  I figured that the corn is probably sucking up nitrogen with its recent growth spurt, so I gave it a dose of all-purpose fertilizer. 

I've actually had really good luck the past couple years growing tomatoes, peppers and strawberries in 5 gallon buckets instead of planting them in the ground.  What I love about container gardening is that I control how much water and fertilizer the plants get.  And I can move the containers around whenever I want to change up the look of my garden.

This year, I took the advice of a local farmer and planted a ground cherry plant in a container.  When I bought the plant, it was just a tiny stem.  Look how it's bushed out!

I've also planted a "bush" summer squash variety in a bucket.  It's the first time I've planted squash in a container.  So far, it's growing good.  Every morning, it's loaded with squash blossoms, but I don't see any tiny squash forming yet.  But that's kind of up to whether the pollinators are finding the blossoms or not.

I'm also growing a sweet 100 cherry tomato in a bucket. Again, this little tomato was just a stem with one leaf when I bought it.  It's really filled out since then.

The only thing to remember when growing flowers or veggies in pots is that you need to keep the containers well watered, because they will dry out much faster than if you plant in the ground.  We're going through another dry spell this July, and I water the pots every day in the early morning before I drive to work.  The veggies also do well with a dose of all-purpose fertilizer once every two weeks.

While I'm sharing tips about my garden, I might as well share a few of my favorite photos from the garden as well.  The hollyhocks are blooming like crazy this year.

And I just had to share this photo of the garden gnome my husband bought me for my birthday.  I've got my soaker hose well positioned to give this little guy a "shower" every once and a while.  It makes me giggle everytime I see him out in my tomato patch.

I'm using the soaker hose as a cheap alternative to drip line irrigation in my garden.  I move the hose to a different spot in the garden whenever needed.  Veggie gardens need about 1 inch of water per week.  We haven't had a measurable rain in more than 2 weeks, so things are looking pretty crispy outside. There's rain in the forecast tomorrow, though, which is a good thing.

How's your garden growing this year? Do you have any container garden tips to share?

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