Vegetables and Container Gardens

So as promised I am back to talk about veggies and my experience with planting a container garden. Looking back, I think it is a good thing that I jumped right into this project with blinders on. I guess that’s pretty much how I approach every project! My friend had a thriving container garden and was a wealth of information.

There is a lot of information out there, and it can be very overwhelming!

I built my garden last year and this year was my second year of planting. I’ll go through my personal experience with each vegetable and then offer some tips I have learned along the way. If you are looking for “professional gardening tips,” this is not the place. If you are looking for “real life rookie gardener do’s and don’ts,” THIS IS THE PLACE! :-)

Garden Container

So like I said before, last year I planted corn, tomatoes (4 varieties including big beef, early girl, cherry tomato, and heirloom), tri color zucchini, peas, basil, habanero pepper, bell pepper, carrots, onion and green onion.

Here is the run down of how things went:

1. Tomatoes: tomatoes are easy to grow. I started all mine from 3 inch plants bought at the local garden store. The only thing I can say about tomatoes is they are delicious and so worth it!! Give them lots of water, lots of sun, and get them off the vine before rats or birds get them.  Here is a more detailed list of tips.

2. Corn: I planted corn from seeds, and it was doing fabulously!! It gets tall…think 7 or 8 feet tall!! Mine got to about 6 feet tall, the cobs were about 6-7 inches in length and one single heat wave and it fried. Fried, dead, fried. I didn’t get to harvest any corn, but I am convinced it’s doable. A lot of what I read on container gardening said corn was difficult. I will try again and likely start my seeds indoors so the plants are bigger sooner and maybe harvest my crop before the weather gets too hot. Another idea would be to move them from full sun when temperatures get too high. Remember to plant them tightly so they can fertilize each other. (Is that the technical term??). Here are some other thoughts on corn in container gardens.

3. Zucchini: When it comes to zucchini…it doesn’t get much easier than this. It’s a hearty, easy to grow vegetable. Easy to eat too :-). The plants get big, so one plant per 18 gallon container is idea. But this year I used seeds from last year, wasn’t sure if they would take and planted 4 in one container and they are doing great. I am getting more zucchini than I know what to do with :-).

Container Vegetable Garden
Container Vegetable Garden

Garden Zuccini

4. Peas: Last year I did peas that were meant to grow up a trellis. I had many plants, but something would come into my garden every night and dig up the peas and eat them. Not sure what it was. I was anxious to try again this year. This year I chose a sugar pea that grows on a bush type plant (no trellis needed). They did great, we ate them faster than the plant could produce them. So sweet, yum!! Nothing better than garden peas. My tips here would be…peas like cooler weather. Maybe better for a winter garden? I’ll be trying them again in the fall. When the heat came, this plant was not happy. I think we are done for the year. Here is another take on peas. Peas might actually do better if you start them indoors as well.

Garden Peas

5. Carrots: I get the feeling carrots are pretty easy to grow in containers. Mine were easy to grow, I just scattered seeds heavily. Thinned them out as they got bigger. Only problem, they tasted super bitter. I am not sure if it was the type of carrot I chose? Unfortunately I don’t remember what type of carrot I chose. Anyhow…if you have tips about what types of carrots taste better than others, let me know. More tips on growing carrots in containers.

Here is another list of veggies and tips on how to grow them.

6. Peppers:Growing peppers is easy to do in containers. You can plant about 2-3 pepper plants in an 18 gallon container. If you plant peppers in their own containers, say a 5 gallon bucket, you can bring them indoors in the winter…giving them daily sun outside when its warmer and they will grow and produce year round. I planted my peppers again from seeds. I think they may have done better if I started them indoors. I have to say though, these were low maintenance and I got a good yield. My goal is to make and can my own salsa from veggies all grown in my garden. :-)

7. Onions:  What I know about onions…they take a long time to grow. A long time. Like 180+ days. That being said, I think the other challenge with onions is knowing when to harvest without digging up your crop “seeing if they are ready yet.” Mine didn’t do well…I am thinking I over fertilized. Definitely want to try again. I eat onions every day. Would love to have my own. Here are some tips to get started…if you can teach me anything, please let me know how you do it.

8. Herbs:Last year I grew basil in my garden. I loved having basil at my fingertips and loved cooking with it all summer. This year I expanded my horizons when I found the idea for a Pallet Herb Garden online. I have to tell you my garden is thriving!! It’s doing so well despite the traumatic planting experience these little plants endured. I have more herbs than I know what to do with. Going to look into drying them out. Come over anytime to gather some herbs of your own. Seriously I could supply the entire neighborhood :-). This pic is when they were just getting started.

Finished Pallet Herb Garden

Here is a more recent photo on instagram

Here is a great forum where others who grow vegetables in containers share tips.

So, what do you think? Do you grow any of your own veggies? Anything in containers? If you can offer up any tips, please do so in the comment section. I am always open to learning more and hearing what other people do. What things others have found that work or don’t work. Thanks for sharing and thanks again for stopping by :-)

Linked to: Natasha in Oz, Mums Make Lists

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Container Vegetable Garden

I want to share my container vegetable garden with you today. There are tons of websites, tutorials, etc on the web about how to grow a container garden. I don’t really have a favorite site…I mostly created mine using suggestions from a friend who has a thriving container garden at his house.

Another disclaimer: I am by no means the container garden expert. I am learning by trial and error. The best thing for me is doing this with my kids. Showing them that we can grow our own food, and what that takes. Cooking and eating vegetables from your garden NEVER compares to buying vegetables. I don’t know what it is, but they just taste different. BETTER!! Some good conversations about patience have resulted, as that seems to be a tough concept when you are 4 and 2 years old. :-)

I used 18 gallon storage totes I bought at the hardware store. The first thing I did was drill holes in the bottom of the containers for drainage. Then filled them about half way with potting soil. Here is a glance at my entire garden. This is perfect if you only have a small space like I do for a garden.

Garden Container

This was before I knew I could use a saw :-). Maybe I need to build a wooden fence around the containers to dress it up. I built the garden last year, this is my second year, so planting was pretty easy.

These pictures were taken in mid May, so this garden has definitely filled in a bit since then. I have also made a few changes. The beets I planted would sprout and then become lunch for something the next day…and eventually they were gone. The peppers I planted this year (from seed) didn’t seem to take, so I ended up replacing them with tomato plants, since you can never have enough tomatoes.

I ran irrigation through the containers by drilling holes in the sides and using a kit I bought at the hardware store. It was super simple. I have a timer on the faucet and I know that my plants are getting water every day. Here is a picture giving you an idea what that looks like.

Irrigation

And here are some of my plants as they are beginning to get their first vegetables

Garden Peas

We ate the peas faster than they could grow…they were so yummy. Once temperatures got hot this summer, this guy was not happy. I learned that peas like cool weather. Next year I am going to try a summer garden and a winter garden.

Zucchini plant

I planted the zucchini from seeds, they have just gone crazy. Zucchini plants get big! I planted a tri-color zucchini and this year have mostly gotten yellow and a marble green color. These are just a couple of what we have gotten this year.

Garden Zuccini

I love these, we slice them up. Coat with a thin layer of olive oil…salt and pepper and throw them on the BBQ…yum!

I now have 5 tomato plants in different varieties. Here is my first tomato of the year:

Garden Tomato

Tomatoes are easy to grow…they like LOTS OF WATER AND LOTS OF SUN!

When I left for vacation I had about 30 tomatoes or more green and on the vine…I hope they wait for me to get home!

I love being able to go outside…see what is ready and pick it, cook it, and eat it in the same day. Having an herb garden makes it more fun to cook as well.

Garden Herbs

This is oregano and cilantro I used for some chicken tacos.

Come back Wednesday for some tips for each type of vegetable that I have grown. I will talk a little more about fertilizer, watering, and pests. Last year I did corn, tomatoes, onions, carrots, peas, zucchini, habanero peppers, bell peppers and green onions.

This year I started with beets, cabbage, lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, zucchini, Serrano peppers, bell peppers.

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