The Q&A Archives: Vegetable Gardening in Containers

Question: I would like to grow a few vegetables outside on a balcony. Do you have any recommendations for good container veggies? And also any tips on successful growing?

Answer: Just about all common veggies will adapt to growing in containers. The first order of business for any vegetable garden is location, location, location. If you can provide a site that gets sunshine most of the day, you'll have a successful crop whether you garden in containers or directly in the ground. The main consideration when gardening in containers is good drainage from the pots, and good soil in the pots. Use a commercial potting soil rather than regular garden soil to fill your containers. Use pots large enough to accommodate the root mass of the plant you intend to grow. To keep mature plants from toppling over, the pot should be about 1/3 as deep as the plant is high. A five-gallon container is just about right for a full grown tomato plant; smaller containers will support 'patio' or 'cherry' sized tomato plants. Your containerized garden will rely upon you to provide adequate moisture and nutrition. Plan to water daily in hot weather, less if the weather is cool. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer about every third time you water, to provide a constant supply of nutrients to the roots of your plants. It's wise to flush the salts out of the containers every month or so to prevent a build up and subsequent burning of roots and leaves.

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