Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Container Gardening

Tomato Buckets on the Patio
So, let's suppose that you've always wanted to grow your own vegetables, but you live in an apartment, rent your house, or just don't have the space to have a garden. What's a person to do? Grow them in containers! Now, the next question is, how would one go about planting in containers without spending an arm and a leg on supplies? Not to worry, friend, I'll help you out!

Where to Find your Containers

Growing vegetables in containers doesn't mean that you have to spend a heap of money on the containers in which to grow your vegetables. There's plenty of places to acquire containers for little or no money. The best containers, that I have found so far, to grow in are storage tubs or 5 gallon buckets.
You can buy storage tubs pretty much anywhere (Wal-mart, Big Lots, home improvement stores, hardware stores, etc.) and they come in a variety of sizes. If you don't want to buy new tubs for your project, check your local thrift shops, or storage unit or garage sales. Once their junk is sold and their tubs are empty, people are usually willing to part with them for a few bucks a piece, or they go to the thrift shop where they are typically pretty cheap to acquire.
Finding 5 gallon buckets is pretty easy as well. You can buy new buckets most anywhere (see my examples above.) Your bargain option here is to hit up local restaurants for their empty buckets. Most restaurants have some kind of a product that comes to them in a bucket. Sure there are other places to acquire them, but this seems the safest bet to me. I would rather plant my veggies in a bucket that previously held boiled eggs or pickles than one that carried motor oil or latex paint, and restaurants just throw the buckets away anyway. Typically they will just give them to you if you want them. Don't be afraid to ask!

Drill Holes in Bottom of Containers

Preparing your Containers for Planting

Really all you need to do is give them a quick wash and drill some holes in the bottom. Make sure you've got enough holes to ensure proper drainage, but not so many that the bottom will fall out of the container.

Dig Up Some Dirt!

Again, you have a choice here. You can either buy garden soil at a nursery or home improvement store for your planting, or just go and dig up some dirt! Take a shovel and a couple of containers, and take a drive to dig up some good dirt. I would caution you, though, to make sure that you are not taking dirt from someone's property without their permission. They might be unhappy, and you might be in trouble. Hit up a friend, neighbor, or relative to see if you can retrieve dirt from their yard.

What Shall I Plant?

We've planted several different types of plants in containers with good success. We grew onions, garlic, peas, asparagus, carrots, herbs and peppers in storage bins. We had a blackberry bush in a flower pot for a while. Currently we have tomato plants in 5 gallon buckets that are thriving, and some artichoke plants that are doing okay in 5 gallon buckets. I just planted a herb garden in one of my storage tubs, we'll see how it goes!
Storage Container Herb Garden