Seed Starting


Container Gardening, Part 1

Hello Giving Garden Fans!

It is ALMOST time to plant outside as we pass Nashville’s frost dates. WOO HOO! We generally wait until Mother’s Day to plant our warm weather friends in-ground, but we have a little more control when we utilize container gardening options. Container gardening is especially exciting for folks who may have a porch, patio, or rooftop as their best option. It is easier these days to choose the right plants for container gardening as seed packet companies will tell you right on the front of the package if your plant is a good fit. Here are some great tips to get you started this year!

Vegetables for Container Gardens

When choosing vegetable varieties to plant into containers, look for bush or small varieties (dwarf, compact), and ensure that your zone has enough growing days for the required time to mature. Veggies that you can grow in containers include but are not limited to: artichoke, arugula, bok choy, celery, chard, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, lettuce, onion, pepper, snap bean, pea, tomato, and most herbs. Look for compact varieties that will grow best in a confined space. Vegetables that don't work well in pots include large melons, corn, large pumpkins, or squash. (I try to grow summer squash in containers every year and I found MILD success growing them in large bins. The topic for another day.)

Veggie Tips

• Peas: Put tall supports in the pot when planting the seedling. Water frequently and keep them fertilized.

• Potatoes: Some potatoes need a 120-day growing season, so look for varieties that mature early.

• Tomatoes: Like peas, tomatoes need a support system. Use a rod or tomato cage to keep your plants upright. Know the difference between "determinate" and "indeterminate." These terms refer to the growth habit of the tomato plants. They essentially mean bush or vining, respectively.

• Carrots: Be sure to use a container that's double the length they'll grow.

• Radishes: Containers don't have to be big or deep for this spring vegetable.

• Eggplant: When planning what variety to buy, know that eggplants are more sensitive to cool temperatures (lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit) than peppers and tomatoes.

• Summer or zucchini squash, cucumbers: Choose bush varieties rather than the sprawling vine varieties. One plant can fill a 24-inch pot quickly, so don't crowd your seeds or seedlings. A trellis in the pot will supply support for the fruit and allow air to reach the plant.

• Leafy greens: Spinach and leaf lettuce are great to snip, snip, snip. Keep the cool season crops in partial shade.

• Peppers: Try traditional bell peppers or hot peppers for homemade salsa.

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