This is a cross-posting from my blog
The growing season for most fruits and veggies is almost over, and I learned quite a bit from my first venture into container gardening. Here's the rundown:
(The dill and chives started thriving once I removed the cucumbers and carrots that previously shared their containers.)
- Don't overcrowd your container. -- I got overly ambitious with some containers. For example, I tried to plant 6 bush bean plants in a single 18" container, and, as a result, all I got were a few limp, tiny beans. Next time, I'll stick with one plant.
(A close-up of one of my compost bins. Strange little sprouts have started appearing. I have no idea what kind of plant they are.)
- Less is more when it comes to herbs. -- With the exception of parsley and cilantro, I don't use a large quantity of herbs. Hence, a lot of my basil, thyme, and oregano ended up in the compost bin. I'll grow less herbs next time.
- Composting is easy and can be done in the smallest of spaces. -- I use 5 gallon buckets, into which I drilled a bunch of holes. In each bucket, I include an equal volume of green (veggie/fruit scraps) and brown (shredded newspaper, old organic potting mix, dried leaves) materials.
(The first photo is from early September -- look how pretty! The second is from early October. I'm hoping that it will stay just warm enough for the rest of the peppers to turn red.)
- Onions are not worth growing in small spaces. -- They take forever to mature, and you only get one per set. For a container garden, they just take up too much space.
- On the other hand, onion sets can be used to grow scallions, which grow quickly.
- Bell peppers take forever to grow. -- But once they do, it's really cool to watch them turn from green to scarlet.
(I'm still getting strawberries!)
- Strawberries are easy to grow and need little room. -- I'll grow more plants next year, so I can have more than 2 or 3 fruits at a time.
- Tomatoes can be finicky. -- You have to be careful about under-watering but also over-watering. I had limited success with tomatoes this year, but I love the fruit too much to give up.
- Get used to bugs. -- I'm pretty much a sissy when it comes to insects, but I'm slowly getting over it. I was quite surprised about how many new bugs I encountered in my concrete "yard."
- Speaking of bugs, cucumbers attract flies. At least, mine did. -- Gross.
- Fertilize regularly. -- I didn't do it enough, and I think some of my plants suffered for it. Of course, you should use organic fertilizer or compost!