The Q&A Archives: Above Ground Gardening

Question: I'm interested in planting a small, above the ground vegetable garden. I'm wondering if you can give me any information or instructions on how to do so.

Answer: Great idea. To build a productive vegetable container garden with substantial production of vegetables keep in mind the following:<br>For onions, carrots, beets, turnips, kohlrabi and zucchini, use boxes 24" by 36" and 8" deep.<br><br>For pole beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peas, a narrow long box, 12" by 48" and 8" deep. Build box with a trellis for training these vegetables.<br><br>For peppers, eggplant and tomatoes use a single 4 or 5 gallon container.<br><br>Typical planting in the 24" by 36" inch box; 4 rows of carrots, 5" apart, thinned to 3" apart in the row. Also 2 rows of onion sets for green onions, set 2" apart in the row.<br><br>Most any container can be used as long as it is large enough for the particular vegetable you want to grow. <br><br>When you grow vegetables in containers you can take advantage of the various little climates around the house and garden. You might give the heat loving eggplant a spot where it gets not only full sunlight but the reflected heat off a south wall.<br><br>Because of the emphasis placed on the need to locate the vegetable plot in a location receiving full sunlight, many gardeners assume that all vegetables require full sunlight.<br><br>The truth is many vegetables will tolerate filterted shade, Some vegetables, such as tomatoes need full sun, but you can grow them in less sun. The yield will not be as good.<br><br>To get 50 square feet of planting space with 16" deep containers calls for 67 cubic feet of soil mix. If the containers or boxes are 8' deep, only half that amount of soil would be needed. fOR a soil mix in a container, I'd use one-half compost, one-quarter perlite and one-quarter peat-based potting soil<br><br>Be sure to check the moisture every day.

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