Edible Container Gardening 101
Workshop at Eye of the Day Garden Design Center
4620 Carpinteria Ave, Carpinteria, CA 93013 (805) 566-0778
Saturday June 27, 2015 3-4pm – $10
Healing Grounds’ all organic plants and nutrients will be available to purchase at the event
Edible Container Gardening 101
Container gardening is a great way to grow in-season vegetables especially if there is no space to have a traditional garden. If you live in a condo or apartment, containers can provide valuable growing options in patios, balconies or court yards. If you have a shady yard, containers can offer space along brick walk or driveways or against fences. A container on casters provides movability to where the sun or shade is prevalent depending on what you want to grow and the time of year. And with a good fertile potting soil and a good topping of protective mulch you can get by with minimal water.
If you have never tried to grow edibles in a container or have not had much success in the past here are five key things to consider that will greatly enhance your efforts.
1.) What size pot is good for growing vegetables successfully?
It is important to match the size of your pot to the types of veggies you would like to grow in them. Bowl shaped pots that are somewhat shallow, say about eight to ten inches, can be great for growing lettuces and other leafy greens. Peppers, cucumbers, beans and larger growing herbs need a deeper pot, about 12- 18 inches deep. Tomatoes like pots that are 18-24 inches deep and about 12-14 inches in diameter.
2) What kind of potting soil is good to use?
I highly recommend choosing an organic potting soil that has lots of good compost, organic nutrients and important beneficial soil microbiology included. EB Stone’s 420 blend has all of the before mentioned ingredients.(Ask Brent what they sell). Plants can grow well in pots when they have a rich growing medium (potting soil) to grow in and regular waterings. Purchasing top quality potting soil is key to growing healthy, productive plants in containers.
3) Match the edible container with plants appropriately suited for the space you have available.
Sunlight and favorable temperatures are key to growing healthy plants.
It is important to observe how much sun exposure the area you have selected for your plants gets. Some plants can tolerate less sun than others. Morning sun exposure with shade in the afternoon is probably good for growing leafy greens such as lettuces, arugula or kale. Sun all day is great for tomatoes, peppers. Shade loving plants generally like ambient temperature range of 56-75 degrees. Full sun loving plants love temperature range 60’s to the mid to upper 80’s. You may find that you have spots in and around your home to grow a bit of both. Remember that the sunlight and temperature will vary throughout the year. So you may need to make adjustments to your growing selection and/or move containers around from season to season.
4) Good plant nutrition is essential for healthy, nutritious plants
As I mentioned above, a good organic potting soil will contain key organic nutrients in it. These nutrients not only provide an important food source for the plants they also provide nutrition for the beneficial soil microorganisms. Beneficial soil microbiology greatly help plants grow strong, nutrient dense and more disease resistant. I also recommend an all-purpose fish/kelp liquid fertilizer applied once weekly throughout the growing season to ensure that your edibles have access to a full range of organic nutrients in addition to what’s in your potting soil.
5) Efficient, consistent watering conserves a valuable resource and also aids healthy plant growth.
It is important to water plants in pots regularly, but efficiently. Contained environments can dry out more quickly than in regular gardens. While pots may require a bit more frequent watering, you do not need nearly as
much water at any one time. Water until you see it coming out of the drain hole at the bottom of the pot. This means that you have watered completely through the root zone which can adequately absorb it. Put a saucer under the pot to catch the outflow and retain it so the pot stays moist longer. The fertile potting soil will help retain moisture. Also adding a layer of mulch to form a protective coating on the surface will aid water retention. A plastic pot may dry out sooner than a terra cotta one. I do not have a preference to one over the other and feel that each has its advantages. As you get to know your growing environment you will be able to fine-tune your watering schedule.
Once you have experienced some success you can take growing to the next level by planting up new pots of your favorite crops in succession over the course of the growing season. Which is all year in our neck of the woods So don’t plant everything all at once. Start a little at a time with strategic new plantings at four, eight and twelve week intervals. Leafy greens can be successively grown every four to six weeks. Longer growing crops can be successively planted every eight to twelve weeks. So now you are ready to get started or advance your edible container gardening efforts With some good observation for growing potential in and around your home and care to provide your edibles with a good growing environment you will enjoy successful harvests on-going into the future