I've been asked several times lately about container gardening. I thought it'd be great to share some ways to have a garden with limited space, or if aesthetically you prefer a collection of pretty pots. Planting in containers, both large and small, is an amazing way to have fresh produce.
This year, I am using a variety of vessels within my formal garden. I've planted several varieties of potatoes, carrots, squash and herbs in pots and "grow bags" (Amazon.com has some inexpensive options in a variety of colors). Bags are a great choice for apartments or those short on storage as they can be washed and folded up at the end of patio season. I likely will end up with a few tomatoes in pots as well. I'm out of room in my traditional beds and it's always likely I will see another plant or two at the farmer's market that I'm dying to try.
(Above: Rear left, Acorn Squash "Table Ace" in a trellised pot)
So here are my suggestions for things to try in your container garden: lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, radishes & any herbs can be potted. Potatoes, carrots and beets need deep containers but do well. I'll also say that big, vining plants like acorn squash, zucchini or small melons can be grown in large pots that allow you to add compost throughout the season. Plan on providing a little lattice or support for the vines to grow vertically and you'll be surprised at your yields. A great water melon to try is "Sugar Pot".
Some things to remember when planting in pots is that you will need to place them in full sun (except for lettuce which can tolerate some shade) and water them often. You will also need to feed them periodically since they can't pull nutrients from the ground. No big deal, there are plenty of options ranging from home-made compost to purchased fertilizers (I like "Kellogg Organic Plus Tomato, Vegetable & Herb Fertilizer"). Just follow the directions if you go with a commercial fertilizer and you'll be amazed at what you can do!
Elizabeth Morse cooks professionally, is an Advanced Master Gardener and lover of all things local.