Grow vegetables and herbs in containers

City living often means garden space is limited to a patio or balcony.

Credit: iStockphoto

Garden on a smaller scale with veggie and herb containers

City living often means outdoor space is limited to a patio or balcony. However, gardening is still an option, just on a smaller scale.

You can grow many vegetables and herbs such as corn, pumpkins, beans, peas, bay or rosemary if the container is the size of a half barrel. In smaller containers grow, greens, tomatoes, one cabbage, short carrots, spring onions, thyme or parsley.

Use good potting soil and either replace it partially or fully each year. I add 4-4-4 organic fertilizer to the soil before planting either seeds or seedlings. As the plants grow, fertilize them as needed. Some vegetables – such as squash, cucumber and tomato – are heavy feeders.

Most vegetables and herbs need full sun to grow and mature, but greens will grow in light shade. Plants on the roof of my north deck are in the sun versus shade on the deck itself. Watch to see how much sun you actually have.

Water is the most important ingredient. As the plants grow they may need to be watered well twice a day. The larger the plants the more water they need. The smaller the container the faster it dries out.

It is easy to control pest and disease in containers because you are giving each plant attention daily. Use water to spray off aphids and pick off other offenders. Plants that are not crowded are usually free of disease. Most importantly, once you have established your container garden, enjoy it. Nothing tastes quite as good as something you have planted, nurtured and harvested.