The Q&A Archives: Vegetable Gardening In Containers

Question: Please recommend vegetables that do well in containers in the Houston area. Give tips on soil, fertilizing, etc. What can be planted now that could take the heat?

Answer: Many vegetables will do well in containers. Leafy greens lettuce, spinach and chard, root veggies like radishes and short carrot varieties such as 'Thumbelina', fruiting veggies like peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant as well as bush types of squash are especially adapted to a container. Even vining veggies can be grown and provided a trellis for support.

It is important to choose containers that have drainage holes and fill them with a good potting soil rather than garden soil. A good soil mix is coarse enough to drain well (not stay soggy) but still hold some moisture for growing plants. Experienced gardeners often make their own. If you are new at container gardening, I'd suggest your start off with a "store bought" container mix from a local nursery.

Container size is very important. The larger the container the better. Half whiskey barrels are great but you may not have that much room! Tomato plants need about a 5 gallon pot. Most other veggies will grow successfully in pots that are at least two gallons.

Because the roots are limited by the container, you will need to water more often and apply a liquid fertilizer every two weeks. Or, you can dilute the fertilizer and apply it each time you water to provide a steady flow of nutrients to your plants.

For a free list of vegetables to plant through the year, contact your County Extension office in Ft. Bend County at (713) 342-3034.

Good luck with your container garden!

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