Start with the Containers
Start with obvious component, containers, and match them to suit your space. The containers do not have to be fancy nor expensive to grow vegetables, they only have to able to contain the soil and have bottom drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out. Build homemade containers from wood to fit your outdoor patio, porch or stoop or use new or old flower pots. Place the container(s) in a sunny location that offers some protection from the wind and fill three-fourths of the way full with a high quality planting mix. Reserve some planting mix to finish filling the containers after the vegetables are planted.
Plant What You Love
Almost any vegetable can be grown in a container, except tall growing varieties of corn, okra, sunflowers or the like. Dwarf hybrid varieties of these tall growing garden plants are available, but still they won’t do their best in a container. Chose healthy, green plants to plant containers and plant two or three vegetables or herbs in each container for maximum yield. An standard 18 inch round planter can easily accommodate a tomato or cucumber plant plus one or two other low growing plants. Squash plants tend to bush out and will need to be grown in a separate container.
Plant the Container Garden
Dig shallow holes into the planting mix to set plants in; remove plants from their nursery containers by gently grasping the plant stem at the soil line, then turn the nursery container upside down and hit the bottom a couple of times to loosen soil, gently pull and the plant should freely come out. Don’t tug on the plant, it might damage the stem or roots. Cut the nursery container away if the plant doesn’t freely turn loose.
Set the plants in the shallow holes then place reserved planting mix around the roots until the root soil top is even with the container soil surface. Gently pat soil down and water. When starting with seeds, plant two or three seeds of each desired vegetable to ensure germination, thin plants after they sprout. Place seeds on soil top and sprinkle a thin layer of reserved soil mix on top and water. Protect the newly planted garden from direct sunlight for the first week.
Caring for a Container Garden
Container garden soil will dry out quickly so diligent watering will be required. Once the plants have begun to grow, water them every day it doesn’t rain. During harvest time and the hot months of July and August, twice daily watering may be required. If the plant shows signs of heat stress (drooping leaves) water immediately. Feed plants with a water soluble fertilize once a week and top dress with organic matter like egg shells and coffee grounds to boost vegetable production.