So You Want to Grow Your own food?
Want to Grow Your Own Food???
Many of us Love the idea of growing our own food, but believe we don't have the space, the time, or simply don't know where to even start.
Container gardening is a great way to get started growing your own food and requires the least amount of all the above.
Container gardening can be done in small spaces, such as balconies, patios, or even indoors.
Here is a brief guide to provide you with all the basics you will need to get started with container gardening.
We will go over choosing the right containers, selecting the right plants, and caring for them.
Note: There are many more ways to grow food in containers, but this 101 guide will give you the basic building blocks to get you started.
- Choose the right containers:
When selecting containers for your garden, consider the size, shape, and material of the container. The container should be large enough to accommodate the plant's root system and provide enough space for growth and fit in your space, but let's assume you knew that last part.
The material of the container should also be suitable for the type of plant you want to grow. Most seed packets or labels on starts will give at least a small description of what the particular plant likes.
Terra cotta and clay pots are porous and dry out quickly, so they are great for plants that prefer well-draining soil.
Plastic and resin containers hold moisture well, & are best suited for plants that prefer moist soil.
Wooden containers are also great but they may rot over time.
Note: When purchasing pots or plants, don't be afraid to ask questions. Most garden centers or farm stores should be able to help guide you in this process
Terracotta Pot Plastic Pots Wooden Planter Pot
2. Choose the right soil:
Choosing the right soil is essential for container gardening. Garden soil is not suitable for container gardening as it is heavy and can compact easily. Instead, use a potting mix that is lightweight and well-draining. A good potting mix should contain peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, & will oftentimes have a bit of nutrients to get your plants going.
Note: If starting from seed, you would do well to consider getting seed starter soil for best results.
3. Choose the right plants:
The plants you choose for your container garden will depend on the amount of sunlight your garden receives, the size of your container, the space you are working with, the season, and whether you are growing indoors or outside.
Herbs such as basil and cilantro are great for container gardening, and vegetables like tomatoes and peppers can also be grown in containers.
Note: If growing indoors you may need to have some supplemental lighting. Many vegetables will require more light than a window can provide.
4. Watering and fertilizing:
Watering is essential for container gardening. The soil in containers can dry out quickly, so water the plants regularly, especially during hot weather.
Fertilizing is also important for container gardening as the soil in containers can become depleted of nutrients quickly. Use a slow-release fertilizer or liquid fertilizer regularly to provide your plants with the nutrients they need.
Not all plants have the same nutrient requirements, so doing a little internet research or asking a nursery specialist is never a bad idea.
Note: Always follow the recommended dosage and feeding frequency on whatever nutrients you choose. Not all nutrients are created equally.
5. Pruning and deadheading:
Pruning and deadheading (Cutting off the dead stuff) can be great for keeping your container garden healthy, productive & to keep their size under control (Especially important for indoors).
Note: Not all plants react the same to pruning. It is always a good idea to do a little research about your specific plant.
6. Pests and diseases:
Pests and diseases can be a problem in container gardening. Even indoors unwanted guests can infiltrate your plant's bubbles. Keep an eye out for pests like aphids and spider mites, and diseases like powdery mildew. Using organic insecticides and fungicides as needed to keep your plants healthy.
Note: A little bit of preventative pest/disease control can save you a lot of time, hassle, and money.
7. Winter care:
If you live in a climate with harsh winters and plan to grow your garden outside, you will need to plan accordingly.
Depending on location, you may need to move your containers indoors, to a protected area, or cover them with a frost blanket to protect them from ice and freezing cold winds.
Container gardening can be a rewarding and fun way to grow plants in a variety of places and spaces. With the right containers, soil, plants, and care, you can create a beautiful and thriving container garden that will provide food for your family and your soul.
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