Thinking it’s too late to start your veggie garden? Well, starting some things from seeds might not work so well as we’re already into July and our Canadian growing season is rather short. But fear not! All is not lost! There are a great variety of plants that do well started from seedlings in containers. When you garden in a container you have better control over things like temperature (hail storm coming? Drag your pots into the garage.) fertilizer and pests. If you’re determined to have some gardening action going on this summer then read on and get growing.
Even though strawberries like to spread out, they grow remarkably well in pots and even baskets. You can grow strawberries indoors over the winter if you have great sunlight (or an artificial sun source.) They need about 8 hours of sunlight each day. Plant your strawberries in a light coloured container to keep better control over temperature. They don’t like to overheat and new plants need to be kept moist until the roots have developed. Look for Day Neutral or Ever Bearing plants. Fertilize once per month.
Tomatoes are often sold in large pots so picking up one or two pre-planted plants is a pretty easy way to go. Tomatoes need about six hours of sunlight each day, great soil drainage and a steady moisture supply. Add mulch to aid in maintaining good moisture levels. Once flowers begin to form, use an appropriate fertilizer once a week as your plants will need lots of nutrients to grow delicious fruit! If your plants grow large and appear to be ready to produce a big crop, you may wish to provide some support. Staking your plant gently with some twine is an easy way to help your tomato plant bear it’s weight.
Sweet peppers grow well in pots but they will need larger ones to be happy. At least 5 gallon will do, 10 if you have more than one plant in the pot. Choose a pot with drainage holes so that excess water can run away. Peppers need good heat and lots of sunlight (at least 8 hours.) If you expect a spell of cooler nights, don’t be afraid to bring your pepper pots in to sleep. Just make sure you get them out early enough for them to get their needed hours of daylight. As with tomatoes, steak your plants if need be.
It’s not often you see cucumbers growing in pots but it’s easy to do. Cucumbers will climb if you give them a vertical surface to do so, and you should, as they’ll take up less space that way. Cucumbers love compost so be sure to plant them in rich soil and give them extra compost when you see flowers starting. Allow for good drainage and keep the soil moist. If weather gets hot and dry, you may need to water twice a day.
This year we have begun our potatoes in a ‘potato bag’. It is rather deep to provide the potatoes room to grow and has flaps at the base to allow for easy harvesting. So far our plants are doing extremely well! If you can’t find one of these bags, a 5 gallon bucket will do. Drill some holes in the bottom for drainage. Potatoes like six to eight hours of sun each day but the beauty of planting in containers is that you can chase the sun by moving your garden about. Potatoes should rotate in the soil each season and that means you shouldn’t grow next years crop in the same dirt. Instead, use the soil for growing beans!
You don’t need a lot of room to get a garden going, nor do you need to have started a month ago. Get some pots, add some plants and watch your bounty grow!