Your Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Edible Container Gardening

If you’ve tried growing vegetables in pots but ended up frustrated, this advice is for you, as well as for anyone looking to grow beautiful, bountiful edible container gardens.

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Photo By: Photo by Heidi Geldhauser/Design by Lindsay Coletta

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Photo By: Courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn

Why Grow Fruits and Vegetables in Containers?

Containers are a great option for those with limited (or no) ground space, such as apartment dwellers, and for newbie gardeners who don’t want to commit to digging just yet. They’re also a beautiful addition to a larger garden. Growing in containers can be easy if you set your garden up right.

Start With the Soil

Just like with any type of gardening, successful container gardening starts with the soil. Healthy soil leads to healthy plants, but in containers, you shouldn’t rely on regular gardening soil, which can be too heavy and get water-logged in a pot. Light and fluffy is the name of the game. While bagged potting mixes can be expensive, it’s better to put in the investment up front than to grumble about heavy pots and poor yields later in the season.

Make Your Own Potting Mix

Make your own custom mix by combining peat moss (best bought in bales at your local garden center) with compost (your own or bagged) at about a 2:1 ratio. You can also throw in a little perlite, a common ingredient in bagged mixes, to make your custom mix lighter and more apt to retain water.

Choose the Right Container

There are about as many container types as there are plants suitable for containers, including upcycled ones, so your imagination is the limit. But it’s important to think about three things: size, materials and drainage. About size: Honestly, the bigger, the better. Large pots require more soil (again, more upfront cost) but will save you time and money when it comes to water.

Watch Your Weight

The downside of large containers is weight. All that soil adds up. Add casters to containers or place a heavy container on a plant caddy (a stand with wheels) so you can easily move it around.

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