Container Gardening for
Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit Trees
for those with poor soil or those who are gardening in small
selecting the right plants gardening in small spaces can result in a
highly productive area where you can grow vegetables, herbs and fruit
trees supplying your household with food from a modest courtyard, patio
Some Container Gardening
Ideas and Tips
takes a little bit of planning and also looking at
how to maximize the space that you have to use. This includes
looking at how to grow plants both vertically and
also looking at how to increase your space by growing plants from
above, suspended in pots and hanging baskets.
gardening, your aim should be only to grow plants that will give you
high yields while taking up the least space. Therefore, growing
strawberries in hanging baskets rather than in a strawberry barrel, or
even herbs like thyme and parsley are perfect solutions for small
The trick to successful container gardening is to provide a rich,
organic soil that will support such intensive gardening. It should
contain well-rotted farmyard manure, homemade compost made from your
kitchen scraps, especially banana peels and crushed eggshells from
uncooked eggs, as well as blood and bone.
I like to collect all my
vegetable and fruit scraps from my kitchen. The banana skins are
particularly good as a source for potassium. By collecting your kitchen
waste you are helping save the environment and recycling your waste to
grow more lovely vegetables and herbs.
, as well as fruit trees and herbs,
have these on
your balcony you will need to take some factors into consideration.
Firstly, make sure that the balcony can take the extra weight of the
soil and water. Secondly, does it have good drainage, especially when
it rains? Thirdly, do you need to have a hosepipe to your balcony to
prevent carrying water through the house to your plants?
What Containers to use
when Container Gardening?
When container gardening
you will have to think of the type
containers you will want to use. Terracotta, while it
looks good, is
very porous and doesn't retain the moisture very well. As a result,
plants planted in terracotta containers dry out more quickly than those
plant planted in wooden or plastic containers.
Don't plant your
vegetables or fruit trees in pots that are the wrong size.
your fruit trees will grow, as will their roots, so choose large pots
for these plants. Even tomatoes should be planted in 30 cm pots to
allow good growth. Herbs, on the other hand, have a much more shallow
root system, except for horseradish, and so more shallow containers can
What Vegetables should
you Plant when Container
Vegetables can be grown
anywhere when container gardening, as long as the area gets 5-6 hours
of direct sunlight a day. Herbs, on the other hand, can do with less
sunshine and some even perform better when grown in some shade, or
indoors. Fruit trees too can grow with less direct sunlight
and climbing cucumbers
can be trained to
climb up external staircases or grow vertically up trellises.
are perfect to cover that pergola. Fruit trees
grown against walls and espaliered out.
tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants, chillies and
can all be grown successfully in containers. If you have the space,
there is nothing nicer than some new
that you can harvest
after growing them in a bucket.
Silver beet, beetroot, leeks, spring
take up very little space, as does celery
Planting the loose variety of lettuce
is a better option than the
tighter heads of iceberg lettuce. This is because these varieties allow
you to pick the leaves when you need them, therefore extending the
are prolific fruit bearers and you only need 2 strong plants
to produce several kilos of fruit from each plant, and therefore one of
those must have plants for container gardening.
Vegetables in Containers for more Details
What Fruit Trees should you Plant when Container Gardening?
Watering your container
gardens regularly is very important
are ideal for container gardening. Dwarf fruit
trees or miniature fruit trees that have been created
container gardening and gardening in small spaces. Another
idea has been the creation of the fruit
; a grafted fruit
tree of many different kinds of fruit growing off a single tree.
In fact these days you can get a variety of dwarf fruit trees of
container gardening. You can buy lemons,
limes, mandarins, and oranges
You can also buy apples,
figs, mulberries, peaches, nectarines,
cherries, guavas, mangoes
and more. If you were to plant
then in the
ground they would grow to a maximum height of about 10 feet, but of
course when you grow fruit trees in containers they will be kept much
smaller than that. However, although they may be small in
size, the fruit that they will produce will be the same size as what
you have been used to.
Fruit trees should be grown in big pots that are at least 50 cm across
the top, but even bigger as the tree matures. The ideal size is more
than an arm's length across and thigh-high. For the first 6 weeks after
potting water twice a week reducing this to once a week in winter. In
the spring the containers should be watered twice a week, and
increasing this to three and four times a week in the summer.
Always take into consideration your climate and the rain when
watering your fruit trees. Don't over water. If the soil is moist hold
off for another day or two before watering again.
Remember that your fruit trees will need fertilizing and for your
citrus trees apply 1/3 the recommended citrus food in August, and a
normal dose of 6-9 months of slow-release fertilizer in September.
Apply another 1/3rd dose of citrus food later in February.
For figs add a cup of garden lime to a pot of 60 cm, or 1/2
cup to a pot of 40 cm. Do this every 3-5 years. Lemon trees are ideal
for growing in small spaces.
I suggest that you have a board under your fruit tree pots with some
skateboard wheels or coasters so that you can move your pots around
your balcony or patio so that you can maximize their exposure to the
sun during the day.
What Herbs should you Plant when Container Gardening?
As mentioned earlier,
the plants you should be using are those that
will give you a high yield while taking up little space. Herbs are
ideal for this, especially those that grow straight up like spring
onions, chives, garlic or herbs that you would use
basil, parsley and mint.
Thyme and marjoram are good in
hanging baskets because of the way they
fall, and mint
is another herb that can be planted this way. Just
remember though that mint likes a lot of water, and hanging baskets can
dry out if they haven't been properly prepared.
To properly prepare a
hanging basket line it with some coconut hair
first, before putting in the soil and this will help retain the
moisture to the basket. Sphagnum moss is another material that is
successful in retaining the moisture and lining the baskets first.
Conclusion to Container Gardening
So you see, you don't need to have acres of land to be self-sufficient
in some way. Urban homesteading is becoming very popular, and growing
your own food in small spaces can be equally rewarding.
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