The Q&A Archives: Flower Pot Veggies

Question: I'd like to plant a few vegetables this season, but don't have a lot of space to do it in. I have 2 flower boxes, each 24" long, about 6" wide, and about 6" deep. I'd like to plant some tomatoes and green peppers, if possible. I would like some cucumbers, too...I can go buy another flower box. Is this enough room to grow healthy, happy plants? How far apart to my seedlings need to be? Any other hints?

Answer: As long as they're planted in a nice sunny area, most veggies will adapt to growing in containers. The flower boxes you describe sound perfect for annual flowers, but probably aren't deep enough for the root systems of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. You'll need containers that are 12-18 inches deep for these plants. Since the root systems will be confined, these plants will really depend upon you to provide the moisture and nutrients they need to grow into healthy, happy plants. Find pots with good drainage holes in the bottoms and fill them with potting soil rather than garden soil. Garden soil can become compacted and dry out easily. Potting soil retains moisture and is easier for the roots to penetrate. You can supply necessary nutrients by watering with a manure-tea or a diluted liquid fertilizer every 2-3 weeks during the growing season. I'd keep only one plant in each container, to give it enough elbow room to grow to its full potential. If plants are overcrowded they'll have to compete for light and moisture. You can add some herbs to each pot to double your growing space, and to add interest to your container garden. Try trailing thyme, or basil, or even some chives mixed in with your veggies.

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