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Vegetable gardening made simple

Published: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

Many people would love to have their own garden to enjoy the freshness and convenience of home-grown vegetables. Barriers such as time and space, however, can get in the way of the garden dream. But you really don’t need a large, time-consuming garden when you can grow your own vegetables in containers. This is a fun, easy way to have fresh vegetables. Container gardening is also a great way to get children involved. Put each child be in charge of their own container and watch them enjoy the growth of their vegetables.

Step 1

Select a container. Containers for your vegetable garden can be just about anything: flowerpots, pails, buckets, window planters, large food cans or a number of other things. Regardless of the type of container, make sure there are plenty of holes in the bottom for drainage of extra water, and that it is large enough to support the growth of your vegetable plant. Cover the bottom of your container with coffee filters. This keeps the soil from leaking out through the drainage holes.

Step 2

Fill container with soil. Use a lightweight potting mix as your soil in the container. Mixtures containing peat and vermiculite are excellent. Using a slow-release or complete organic fertilizer at planting will keep your vegetables fed for the entire growing season. Fill your container to within a half-inch of the top with your potting soil. 

Step 3

Plant vegetable plant or seed. Choose vegetables for your container that will take up little space such as radishes, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers. With increasing interest in container gardening, plant breeders and seed companies are working on vegetables specifically bred for container growth. Follow the instructions on the seed packet for planting, or if you are transplanting, carefully place root and part of stem in the soil and lightly pat soil around the stem. Add water. 

Step 4

Choose a location. Place your container in a spot that provides at least 5 hours of direct sunlight each day. Avoid windy locations, as wind can be a real hazard for any container-grown vegetable. Pots and containers always require more frequent watering than plants in the ground. As the season progresses and your plants mature, their root system will require even more water. Check your containers daily to judge the need for water.

Step 5

Sit back, relax and watch your container plants grow into delicious, healthy, ripe vegetables for your family to enjoy.

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