I admit it: I am a bit of a haphazard gardener. I grow things, and I try to make sure that my plants are happy, but I rarely prune and I don't spend nearly as much time weeding as I should. In spite of my lax attitude, I still become very upset when I lose plants to pests. It's very discouraging to nurture wee little green shoots from seed, go through the excitement of new growth, and then discover them all decimated by a bug.
If I were a master gardener I would probably do things like monitor soil pH, rotate crops and attract helpful insects. I am not a master gardener. My solution is a little easier. Although I do have a yard and several garden beds, I still opt to grow many things in containers. Since I fill my containers with fresh compost every year, my plants are protected from many of the creepy crawlies that can cause problems. In past years I've grown peppers, herbs and flowers in containers. This year I'm growing potatoes, peas and salad greens.
PotatoesI shared my patio potato planters on this site a couple of years ago. While I bought some commercial potato growing bags, you can also easily create DIY planters. I've seen people use garbage cans, garbage bags, wooden planters and burlap sacks. What I really like about this method is how easy the potato harvest is: just pour out the bag and pick out the potatoes. I typically add the soil from the potato crop to my raised beds.
PeasThis year I purchased some new bag-style patio planters that have built-in pockets where you can add canes for growing plants that need support, like beans, tomatoes and peas. For my first outing I'm growing peas in my planters. The reason is less to do with pests and more to do with practicality. I have had limited success with trying to build my own pea trellises, and creating a pea teepee in my garden uses a lot of space. Moving them into bags frees up space in my garden beds and simplifies the process.
LettuceOf all the veggies I've grown, lettuce is the one that has suffered the most at the hands of pests. I live in the Pacific Northwest where the climate is very damp, and we have a lot of woodlice. These bugs are actually beneficial when it comes to breaking down compost, but they have a taste for wee little lettuce sprouts. They can bit off tender shoots in one go, decimating an entire crop in one night. Fortunately lettuce does well in most any container, and my wee little greens are safe from bugs.
Do you do any container gardening? What are your favorite crops to grow this way?