Growing Vegetables in Pots/Containers:
Introduction to Growing Vegetables in Pots / Containers:- Well, in the current world, as the population is increasing, demand for food is also increasing in parallel. We are seeing the apartment culture is going up especially in cities and even in towns. People are hardly having any space for their gardening needs. Most people are dreaming of growing vegetables on their own which can be healthy, can save a good amount. Apart from these, home gardening is one of the best things to relieve stress. You can place these pots on roofs/terraces, a patio, deck, parking space, balcony. It all depends on what kind of vegetables are we growing. Some may be ok to be grown under shade and some may need full-day sun. These pots can be placed indoors/ outdoors or even in a greenhouse or Polyhouse or under a shade net. Pots/containers can be anything made of clay, metal, plastic, or wood. Grow bags, plastic buckets, and hanging pots can also be used to grow vegetables at home. Make sure to have well-drainage and good aeration of these pots.
The following article details “Growing Vegetables in Pots and Containers at home for Beginners”.
Basic Requirements to Growing Vegetables in Pots:- Well, the following are the basic requirements for growing vegetables in pots.
- Big pot/ container
- Potting soil
- The place to get at least 5 to 6 hours of sun
Best Suited Crops for Pot growing:- The following crops best suited for container/pot gardening.
- Brinjal (Eggplant)
- Ladies Finger (Okra)
- Capsicum/Pepper/Green Chillies
- Leafy Vegetables such as Lettuce, Kale, Methi (Fenugreek), Coriander (cilantro), Mint, Basil, Spinach, Amaranthus, and similar kind
Some vegetables require and grow under full sunlight, whereas some can be grown under partial shade. Here is a chart for it.
|Vegetables Require Full Sun
|Vegetables Those Can Tolerate of Some Shade
Now get into details of growing vegetables in pots:
There are mainly 4 phases of growing vegetables, seed sowing, plant maintenance, watering, and harvesting. Defiantly growing vegetables can bring out the farmer in you or give some insights into farming or cultivation practices. You till the soil and tend the plants, then reap the rewards when the plants bear fruit.
First and foremost, select a good spot that receives at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight and gets a good size container depending on space. Buy good potting soil from your local nurseries.
Even if you have ground for growing, consider the pot/container growing because the advantage of pot/container growing over the actual ground for growing is that containers can still help you overcome problems such as soil drainage (poorly drained soil), pests, and diseases such as gophers, and soil-borne diseases such as nematodes, termites, and wilts.
Another advantage of growing vegetables in pots is they warm up quickly in spring when compared to ground growing. With this, some vegetables like tomatoes or Chillies can be obtained fast. Due to limited mobility, tall pots can make it easier for gardeners to tend vegetable plants without kneeling.
Preparation of soil and Plant care in growing vegetables in Pots:
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Potting medium:- It is essential to use a high-quality mix that contains ‘peat moss’ & ‘perlite’ for quality produce and healthy plant growth. Blend in a complete fertilizer, either a dry organic matter like one containing alfalfa meal, kelp meal, bone meal, or a controlled-release type that supplies nutrients over a 3 to 6 month period. If you plan to water pots by hand, add soil polymers like ‘Broadleaf P4’ which are available at nurseries /online or most garden centers to the mix before planting. This will help in alleviating (making it less severe) the wet-dry cycle. As the soil dries out, these small crystals, which can absorb more times their weight in water, supply moisture to the plant roots.
Capsicum Seedlings raising in seed tray before transplanting to Container – Pot.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Feeding (Manures & Fertilizers):-Timely application of manures and fertilizers is important for a healthy plant cycle. If you want to grow vegetables organically and used an organic fertilizer at planting time, it is advised to supplement it with weekly applications of fish emulsion. You can also reapply dry organic fertilizer as per package directions. If you use controlled-release fertilizers for your plants, apply fish emulsion every 15 days (2 weeks) to boost vegetable growth.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Training:- Some vegetables like beans (creepers), vine tomatoes, any gourd vegetables like bottle gourd, ridge gourd, and bitter gourd needs a good framework for growing support. You can arrange bamboo support or any wired kind of frame to support the wines.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Watering:- If you have more containers/pots to grow then the best way to irrigate the plants is with a drip irrigation method operated by an automatic controller. There are drip irrigation emitters you can buy in the market. You can set the controller to water often enough to keep the soil moist. The frequency of watering depends on plant base soil moist and climatic conditions. In the case of the dry and summer season, increase the frequency of water in the containers. If you have a couple of pots/containers, you can hand-water based on soil moisture. A simple and thumb rule is, never allow to dry out the soil and make sure to maintain uniform moisture conditions. Sometimes you may find the situation where the soil starts drying and becoming hard. In this case, water it lightly and using any sharp tool (fork) to dig the soil lightly without doing any harm to roots. You can use any mulch material like dry grass from protecting moisture loss.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Pests:- It is very natural to see the vegetable plants attacked by many pests and diseases whether they are grown on the ground or in containers/pots. If any peats such as aphids, mites, or whiteflies attack, spray them with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil like neem oil. You can prune the diseased branches or dead branches on a frequent basis. Use organic-based pesticides rather than chemical pesticides for growing organic vegetables.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Harvesting:- Maturity or Vegetable picking time depends on the type of vegetable and variety. Use a sharp sickle (knife kind) to pick the vegetables. You can keep harvesting depending on maturity. Don’t pull the plant or vines while picking the vegetables and care should be taken not to disturb the plant base in the pot.
- Main Tasks in Growing Vegetables in Pots / Containers:- Most people love to grow vegetables like ladies finger (okra), clustered beans, tomatoes, Chillies/capsicum/bell pepper, mint, coriander, leafy vegetables such as spinach, Amaranthus, Malabar spinach. Etc. French beans, bottle gourds, ridge gourds, Ivy gourd (Tindora), and bitter gourd (Karela) also can be grown in pots. In the case of vine-type vegetables, you should have some support kind of things to establish a framework to make the vine creep on it. Whatever vegetables you are planning to grow, the following main tasks are the part of plant-like from sowing to harvesting.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Seed Planting: The selection of seeds is one of the major factors that influence the produce quality and yield. High yielding and disease resistant variety, high germination percentage, high purity, good vigor are important while selecting the seed. Plant the vegetable seeds into a seed tray, use a mix of 3 parts old grated coconut husk, 1 part compost & 1 part soil. Place the sown trays in shade, thin the plants when they attain 4 to 5 leaves.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Feeding the Plants: Mix compost or manure into the bed before planting.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Transplanting the Plants: Seedlings should be transplanted to containers/ pots or open ground when these seedlings attain 4 to 5 leaves. Do this activity in the early morning or evening. Maintain appropriate distance between plants say 50 cm, this distance may vary from plant to plant and variety to variety. Watering should be done as soon as they are transplanted in containers or pots. Water the containers regularly until the plants establish roots.
For Complete Guide To Growing Vegetables: Read here.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Mulch the Seedlings: Well, mulching is a process of covering plant bases with materials like dry grass, dry leaves, and plastic sheets. Plastic mulching usually used in the commercial farming of vegetables. The advantage of mulching the plants is, it prevents water/moisture loss and it controls weeds at the plant base. Apart from this the dried leaves will be well decomposed after some time and will be working as good organic manure.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Weed Control: If you are growing vegetables on the ground indoors, weeds should be controlled. However, there may be fewer weeds when vegetables are grown in pots/containers. Weeds should be removed on a periodic basis as these consume manures/fertilizers and water and finally, weeds compete with plant growth resulting in reduced yield of crop/vegetables. It is advised to stake them when plants are 1 meter tall, remove any diseased leaves (leaves with spots) and branches and destroy them.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Regular Check for Pests and Diseases: Watch out regularly for any pests and disease under the plant leaves. Make sure there won’t be any ants surrounding the plants.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Picking up: Vegetables should be picked at the right maturity. Avoid over maturity unless you growing for next time seedling purpose. Maturity time varies from vegetable to vegetable and variety to variety.
- Growing Vegetables in Pots – Tips for Planning a Vegetable Garden:- If you are planning for vegetable gardening on the ground, the following tips may be useful.
- Soils rich in organic matter (fertile) and well-prepared soil is essential for establishing a good vegetable garden. Soil should be stone and weed-free and must well-drainage. Vegetables grow faster in moisture-retentive soils
- It is very important to have enough sunlight and good air movement around the vegetable garden for better plant growth and a good crop.
- The Garden should be designed in such a way that you can move all the sides of the garden easily with comfort
- Before sowing the seeds, watering should be done thoroughly the day before you intend to sow the seed on the beds
- Most of the time people make mistakes by sowing seeds deeper level. Avoid too much of plant depth and maintain about 2 to 4 cm seeding depth
- Make sure to firm the soil over the seeds for good moisture contact. Spray the water very gently by covering all areas of the garden or planting area. Make sure to have soil intact without making seeds appear out after watering
- Frequent watering is necessary until seeds start germinating and start sprouting. Maintain uniform moisture during this period
- Avoid providing excess water as it may cause rotting. Generally, it requires 1 inch of water/week. If you find the plant base is dry, then it is the time watering.
- As we said before weeds compete with your vegetables for water and nutrients (manures and fertilizers), so it’s important to keep them to a minimum. Organic control of weeds or natural mulching should be used to control weeds in your vegetable garden.
- Keep the garden from insects/pests and any other predators. Harvest vegetables at right time depending on the usage. If you are growing for seeds, quality vegetable seeds should be stored at the right temperatures for better germinations.
Bottom Line of Growing Vegetables in Pots / Containers:- It’s fun and profitable. For visual retreat watch any container vegetable growing videos on YouTube.
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