Starting A Vegetable Garden
Choosing varities that thrive in your zone is one of the first steps to creating a successful vegetable garden. Next is deciding how you’ll grow your vegetables. Seeds can be directly sown, or you can start seeds indoors and grow them on to plant out later.
If you’re short on space or don’t have time for a traditional garden, why not consider growing edible crops in containers.
Just about any vegetable, herb, and many fruits can be grown in containers. Look for varieties that say “bush,” “dwarf” or “patio” when selecting plants (or seeds); also look for quick maturing crops.
Choosing the right container for growing vegetables
You don’t need special containers. Five-gallon buckets, empty milk jugs, dishpans, storage totes all make excellent containers. Containers need to be clean and have drainage holes.
Use larger containers (14-20 inches) for crops such as tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant; one plant per container is best. Salad greens or herbs can grow in a small container. Plastic containers are best.
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Water and fertilizer are key to gardening success
Both will be your biggest challenge. Most vegetable containers will need to be watered every day during hot summer months, sometimes more than once a day. You can’t let vegetables dry out; once they do, they are stressed and cannot recover well.
If you’re not a dependable waterer, consider self-watering containers or use moisture control potting mix. Watering more results in nutrient loss which means you need to add fertilizer. Use a water-soluble fertilizer every two to four weeks.
Light and plant selection
Vegetables need full sun; salad crops will grow in part-sun. Maximize space by growing vertically; using a trellis, a cage or stakes allow you to grow crops vertically such as zucchini, cucumbers or beans.
Determinate varieties of tomatoes are smaller plants well suited for containers; but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow the bigger indeterminate varieties. Just provide adequate support for them.
Cornell has a great fact sheet on growing vegetables and herbs in containers, including varieties and what container size to use; visit https://gardening.cals.cornell.edu/garden-guidance/foodgarden/ for more information. Don’t let the lack of garden space deter you from growing vegetables, fruits or herbs this year.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Oneida County answers home and garden questions which can be emailed to email@example.com or call 315-736-3394, press 1 and ext. 333. Leave your question, name and phone number. Questions are answered weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also, visit our website at http://cceoneida.com/ or phone 315-736-3394, press 1 and then ext. 100.