Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Patio or Balcony Gardening

For those who want to garden, but are limited on time or space, a great method to use is container gardening. With the containers on your patio, porch, or balcony they are close by for tending. Growing your own vegetables this way can provide you with fresh produce right at your fingertips while also saving some money on your grocery bill. Another great benefit of this type of gardening is that issues with soilborne diseases, nematodes, or bad soil conditions are remedied.

Beginnings of a container garden in a round washtub.
There are many types of vegetable crops that can be grown in a container:
  • Broccoli (1 plant per 2 gallons)
  • Carrot (2-3 plants per 1 gallon, need containers 2 inches deeper than the carrot length)
  • Cucumber (1 plant per 1 gallon)
  • Eggplant (1 plant per 5 gallons)
  • Green Bean (Space plants 3 inches apart, a 2 gallon minimum)
  • Green Onion ( 3-5 plants per 1 gallon)
  • Leaf Lettuce (2 plants per 1 gallon)
  • Parsley (3 plants per 1 gallon)
  • Pepper (1-2 plants per 5 gallons)
  • Radish (3 plants per 1 gallon)
  • Spinach (2 plants per 1 gallon)
  • Squash (1 plant per 5 gallons)
  • Tomato (1 plant per 5 gallons)
  • Turnip (2 plants per 2 gallons)
The containers that you can use vary, as long as it drains well then it can be used. If you have buckets you want to use, be sure to punch drain holes in the bottom and fill the bottom inch of the bucket with gravel so the holes aren't easily plugged by the dirt.

When thinking about what seeds to start for your container garden, you will want to go with plants that are easily transplanted as they do best in containers. Some items you can germinate your seeds in: backing pans, plastic trays, pots, or even a cardboard milk carton. Your seeds should be started in a warm area about 4 to 8 weeks before you transplant them into their final container. Also you will want to germinate them in an area that receives plenty of sunlight.

There are some plants that will need cages or other means of support, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and pole beans.

Maintaining your container garden:
Inspect your plants each day and water, trim, train, remove pests, weeds, treat diseases, and/or prune them when it is needed. Continue your gardening education by talking with experienced gardeners in your area. They will know the best about what plants fare well in your region.

If you have plenty of yard space, but are dreading the time it takes to plant it, you might want to check out the Earthway Garden Seeder. It can save a lot of time and hassle.

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