Merry Meet All,
I direct seeded radish into my garden this spring. That lured slugs near. I just waited for the radishes to emerge and replanted them into a container. I am glad I did. I want to be the one to bite into my own garden grown radish, not the pest. I know farmers and other eager gardeners brave the garden pests, but container gardening is very popular now, probably for that reason.
I attended a talk at the local library about container gardening. The planter I have is deep enough for radishes and can keep some pests away, ensuring that I will have a crop of radishes. They grow fast and can be sown when it is still cool in spring. While a container should be a foot deep or so to grow most veggies, you may be surprised at what you can use for a container.
Here is what you need to know to venture into the wonders of container gardening.
Your veggies will need six hours of sun a day.
Your veggies will need plenty of water. Test the soil before you water and wait till the end of the day. Container grown veggies may need more water than those grown in the garden, but you don’t want them to dry up or drown. You need to keep the soil moist, not wet. Make sure the container has good drainage or use stones to aid drainage.
Warmth- You can leave your containers out in the garden all summer. Leave the container where it is most likely to receive the most amount of sun. Also, use good potting soil. Refrain from using garden soil as it is not sterile and may contain weeds. Just discard weeds if you spot them in your container.
Fertilizer. Your vegetables will need fertilizer. You can choose between granular or liquid fertilizers. They both work. Every couple of weeks, feed the plants a liquid fish emulsion fertilizer.
Seeds or seedlings. You can be bold and have the smug satisfaction- to which I can attest, and grow your vegetables from seed. Or you can try growing them from seedlings which you can purchase from a local nursery or garden centre. I started my peas, mesclun mix, and radishes from seed. I bought pumpkin seedlings. I was surprised to find I had purchased white pumpkins, not orange. That brings ghosts to mind.
The other best thing if you grow vegetables in containers is that at the end of the season, you can save the seed and thereby save money, and use the soil you grew the vegetables in and add that to your garden. The soil will contain nutrients from the container grown vegetables. Consider it to be similar to free compost for your gardening soil. Your garden will thank you.
Some vegetables grow upwards and up and up. Tomatoes, peas, cucumbers all grow up and need supports. You can buy tomato cages and trellises or make your own trellis to support vines. They are relatively cheap and available at stores. Read your seed packets carefully to determine prior to planting so you will know how high they grow and what you need to support them with. I found out after planting that my peas grow up to 4 meters-that is 13 feet. I wish I had known. Now I need to purchase a large trellis to support the peas.
Pests. Just because you may keep slugs away you may find other undesirable critters drawn to your plants. While you sleep at night, they will snack on everything you worked so hard to grow. Birds, raccoons, cats, rabbits and deer may eat everything to the root. But there are deterrents available. I wrestled with deciding where to grow my veggies. Finally I decided to go for it and grow the veggies outside. That way, they receive the proper amount of sun, wind and rain. You can use chicken wire, fine netting, alarms, bird feeders to keep them away, fencing, natural pesticides, lights at night time, a dog. If you see that something seemed to have devoured some potatoes and onions, like a racoon, plant and sacrifice some strawberries slightly away from your veggies and they can eat them. Also, watch out for pest insects like carrot fly or aphids. Ladybugs eat aphids. So plant something to keep ladybugs nearby.
May the Goddess bless you with a garden harvest