by Avis Licht – Growing food in containers is easy and straightforward. Here are some tips that will give you greater success.
1. Site your pots so they get enough sun for the type of plant you are growing. Lettuce doesn’t need to be in full sun, but most of your herbs prefer it sunny. If you’re planting on a deck with an overhang be sure to watch what the sun does during the day. If you have a choice, morning sun is better for plants than afternoon sun, which can be really hot.
2. Choose plants that you like to eat and will be sure to harvest. Herbs are a great choice for containers, as you can cut a little bit off regularly and the plant still looks good and grows well. Herbs suitable for containers are: Rosemary, parsley, thyme, chives, basil, cilantro, lemon verbena, oregano, lavender, tarragon, sage and mint.
3. Edible flowers, of course are a great plant for containers. They are ornamental as well as edible. You can decorate your meals with them. Some of the easiest to grow include, nasturtiums, dianthus, calendula, Lemon Gem marigold, Citrus Mixed marigold and Tangerine Gem marigold. Scented geraniums have leaves and flowers that you can use to garnish food. Pansies are well known, can grow in shade and are easy to find. Pansy and violet leaves and flowers are edible and nutritious.
4. IMPORTANT TIP! Plants in containers dry out quickly. Sun on the pots heats up the sides and causes them to dry out. It is important to keep them moist. When soil dries out water goes through the soil without being absorbed. People think they’re watering when they put the hose to the pots, but in fact, if the soil is dry, the water goes through the pot and out the bottom.
There are a couple of ways to deal with this. If you have a drip system, put the pots on their own schedule and water them 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. This allows the water to soak in and not drip out the bottom.
One of the best solutions to container planting that I’ve found are self watering pots. They have a reservoir at the bottom and the moisture wicks up into the soil. Some of these pots only need watering once a week or even once every two weeks and your plants stay healthy and strong. It is a great solution.
I’ve been using these containers for years with huge success. You can get them from Gardener’s Supply along with a light weight soil medium for growing your plants. They have a special container and mix just for tomatoes
Let me know what are your favorite plants to grow in containers.