Container Garden Update: the Bounty Begins!

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

It’s July and the container vegetable garden I planted the third week of May is beginning to produce. Catch up with my container gardening plans by reading what I wrote earlier this year on this site in No Space to Grow Vegetables? Try Container Gardening as a Frugal Alternative and Frugal Container Gardening in Action.

So far, I’ve harvested my entire crop of radishes and spinach; lettuce is still producing well and the green beans are at their peak. My tomato plants have been steadily flowering and are have grown dozens of tomatoes which are mostly still green; several of the cherry tomatoes, however, are almost red enough to eat! The green onions and carrots are micro versions of their eventual selves. I see numerous zucchini and squash blossoms, too. I’ve begun to enjoy a steady supply of herbs, including parsley, sage, thyme, basil, cilantro and marjoram.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way that may help you with your own container gardening adventure:

  • Agility – The nice thing about growing vegetables in containers is that they’re easily moved to the most suitable location. As your garden grows, nature itself changes. Trees shade areas that were sunny in the spring when you planted your vegetables. The angle of the sun is always changing, causing your plants to receive differing quality and amount of sunlight throughout the growing season. I’ve also discovered that as plants grow, they create shade; I needed to move a pot of peppers because as the tomato plants beside it grew, they prevented the pepper plant from receiving the full sun it needed. Make sure every plant is situated for ideal sunlight conditions.
  • Water – Pay attention to your plants’ water requirements. Plants in containers require more water than those in the ground because they’re in a confined space. They will also require more water as they grow. Try not to wait until plants show signs of wilting before you water them – dehydration has a negative impact on plants’ development.
  • Weeding – As plants grow, so do weeds! Airborne weed seeds landed in my pots and took advantage of the ideal conditions to take root themselves. Without diligence, my vegetables could easily have become inundated by these intruders. I’ve found I have weeding to to every single day.
  • Check daily – Container gardens require little maintenance but you’ll want to check their progress regularly. By checking daily, you’ll know when your plants could use a shot of fertilizer. Because they grow so rapidly, tomato plants will need to be staked – or readjusted – frequently. You’ll also want to inspect your produce for signs of disease or insect infestation so you can take action to alleviate these problems immediately.

This is also the time (in my midwestern climate, at least) to consider planting second harvest and late season crops. Vegetables that take a relatively short time to reach maturity (and which are resistant to the peak of summer’s heat) can be planted several times throughout the growing season to extend your harvest. Just this week, with my first harvest of green beans in full swing, I’ve planted another crop to be harvested at the end of August. Next month I plan to plant more lettuce, spinach, green onions and radishes – which will germinate when it’s warm but will grow and mature when the heat of the summer is waning – for a fall harvest.

I’m learning a lot from my container gardening project; most importantly that a bounty of produce can be produced quite easily and inexpensively in containers.

What’s growing in your vegetable garden?

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