The Q&A Archives: Resources for Container Vegetable Gardens

Question: I live in a suburb of Washington, DC in a one bedroom apartment with a balcony that gets direct morning sun. I would love to grow some vegetables in containers on our balcony, but I don't know where to begin. All of the books that I have found on gardening deal with in-ground gardens and anything on potted plants doesn't include vegetables. I have had limited success with houseplants (mainly due to spider mites) and just need some very basic information on how to start a potted vegetable garden... nothing fancy, just edible. I hope you can help me or point me in the right direction. Thank you. Laura Schlett Hyattsville, MD

Answer: There's hope for your balcony vegetable garden! Many seed companies offer varieties bred to be compact and even to grow in containers. The next question is: how many hours of direct sun does your balcony get? Three to four hours will be enough for lettuce, spinach and carrots, for instance, and sometimes tomatoes can be persuaded to fruit. Here are a couple of titles that address your needs: The Creative Container Gardener, By Alice Skelsey Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA, ISBN # 0-89480-729-3 and Cucumbers in a Flowerpot by Elaine Steven, Workman Publishing, New York ISBN #0-89815-697-1

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