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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8 thoughts on “Vegetables and Container Gardens

    • Thanks Annie…you won’t regret it. Once it’s up and running not a lot of maintenance at all!
      Shawna

  1. This is great! My son and I have been wanting to start a container garden for a long time, and didn’t know where to start. I had no clue there was such a vast amount of info online, thanks for sharing this, it will help us lots!

    • Alison, you should do it…if you have questions along the way, send me an email. I’ll help as best I can…or ask my friend :-)
      Shawna

  2. Shawna, I have had Container Gardens for years, and they decorate the Patio area nicely when grown in different sized Containers, Pots, Crates, etc. This year is our first year adding small red and gold Potatoes, and baby Carrots to the mix and they are doing beautifully! Thank~You will certainly pay attention to the flavor of the Carrots. My suggestion is this, you still have to pay the same TLC to your Container as with a ground grown Garden, water daily, check for bugs, etc. But I have found the insects to be minimal if any. But Slugs & Snails will still crawl up those containers, I sprinkle Ortho Slug and Snail Pellets over the dirt after first planting to pull any of these out of the soil in case I missed them. Unless I notice them I will usually sprinkle a little again Monthly. One Pellet will do one of these icky critters in. Same with Cutter Worms. This year I even Planted Vine Peas in my Hanging Planters and they are growing up the Chains, pretty too.

    Glad I found your Blog, and may all of us planting Container Gardens have a successful 2014 growing Season!!

    Huggs, Nancy

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