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How to grow vegetables in containers?

For some persons, traditional gardens are not practical because of space limitations or because there are so much work to do. As for other alternative, there is an easier way to grow and enjoy fresh vegetables in containers.

Many vegetables lend themselves well to any container. With a certain thought to choose varieties of bush or dwarf, almost any vegetable can be adapted to grow in a pot. The vegetables which take little space, such as carrots, radishes and lettuce, or crops that bear fruits over a long period of time, such as tomatoes and peppers, are great for container.

You can follow work instructions below to grow your own vegetables in container:

1) Prepare several suitable containers, garden soil, garden tools, vegetable seeds or starter plants and suitable place.

2) If the containers have no holes, drill some drainage holes through the bottom. Place your containers in locations according to sun exposure; follow seed packet instructions; and convenience to water source.

3) Fill containers to appropriate levels with soil. Plant seeds according to the seed and/or starter plants packet instructions.

4) Water on a daily basis, or as needed.

5) Remove any weeds in your containers.

6) Some plants such as potatoes need to add and mound soil around the plants occasionally.

7) Harvest when your vegetables in container ripen.

Before you start to plant your vegetables in container, there are 5 main considerations to know:

1. Light exposure.

Choose vegetable plants according to how much sun or shade they’ll obtain everyday. Leafy vegetables, such as carrots, lettuce, spinach and onions are all right in partial shade. But plants that bear fruit such as tomatoes, eggplant, squash and peppers need full sun light at least 6 hours per day.

2. Type of container.

Any container is suitable for vegetable plants as long as it has good drainage. Leafy vegetable and herbs do not need as much space, but use a pot at least 9 inches deep so you don’t have to water frequently. Vegetables with extensive root systems such as potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes and squash need containers with a minimum depth of 16 inches. Remember, the bigger the pot, the bigger the yield. An additional 2 inches deep can more than double your harvest.

Small containers usually dry out very fast in summer. The smallest size of container for outdoor use is around 8 to 12 inches in diameter which is ideal to use in shade part.

Midsummer heat can fry tiny, hair like feeder roots. Without these feeder roots, the plant will die even if the soil is wet. Then larger roots become very weak to root rot fungus that can raze the rest of the plant. Overheat soil is a common cause of failure in container plantings. Thick wood and dark colored containers will take up more heat, while light colored containers reflect heat.

If you are using recycled containers, clean them very well with brush and wash in a solution of 9 parts water to one part bleach. If containers are porous, soak them well in water before filling so they won’t act like sponges and pull all the water out of your soil.

3. Preparation of the soil.

Purchase a high quality mixture soil that is sterilized, and able to absorb moisture and drain fast. Never use garden soil. It may have fungi and diseases and is usually very heavy and slow to drain.

4. Fertilize

Plants grow in containers cannot search nutrients with their roots. Confined root systems demand frequent light fertilizing in summer. Nutrients are leached from the soil with watering and require to be replenished regularly. Two to four weeks after planting, start applying a water soluble fertilizer mixed half strength. Apply fertilizer every two to three weeks continuously except you add a slow release fertilizer to the soil.

There is 3 numbers on the fertilizer package that explain what the fertilizer is formulated to do. The numbers are always in the following order:

Nitrogen - for green leaves
Phosphorus - for flowers and fruit
Potassium - for root growth

When one of the numbers is bigger than the others, that means the fertilizer is designed to promote growth in that specific part of the plant.

Never over feed your plants. A little is good, a lot is worse!

5. Watering requirements.

Watering requirements will be different according to the season, type of container, soil mix and exposure. Check your containers daily. Touch your finger into the top inch of soil. If it feels damp there is no immediate need to water. If it feels dry then you should water until some runs out the bottom of the container.

Water the plants early in the morning to avoid wet leaves at night when temperatures drop and mildew and disease organisms grow. Use a spray to avoid washing out the soil.

Finally, you will be satisfied with your completion of growing your own vegetables in containers. As reward, you will be able to enjoy those fresh, tasty organic foods as long as your container garden produces them.

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