The Q&A Archives: Growing Tomatoes, Beans, and Cukes In Containers

Question: I am container gardening this year and plan to grow tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers. Is it possible to use the professional mix that comes in a bag by itself or should I use a mixture of potting soil with other ingredients? Are 5-gallon buckets adequate? Can I grow cantelope in larger containers?

Answer: In my experience, the soilless professional-type mixes are fine for vegetables, although I sometimes mix in some compost and some water-holding polymers to help reduce the need for watering once the weather turns hot. You will need to follow a regular fertilizer or nutrient program no matter which soil mix you use since the soil becomes depleted over time. You can grow some of the bush-type melons in containers, and if you have room, one of the smaller vining melons. For water-loving plants, such as melons, the larger the container, the better. For tomatoes, too, a larger container is preferable but a 5-gallon bucket should do as long as you are willing to water carefully during the heat of the summer, possibly even twice a day.

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