Monday, April 6, 2015

Container Gardening: Not Only for Those with Small Spaces

The Climate Crusader is getting her 2015 garden off the ground.

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.


I 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.


This 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.


Of 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?


Mindful Momma said...

Those pea planters are really cool! We grew potatoes once - so fun for the kids to dig up! Not sure what we will do this summer yet - I need to get planning!

Green Bean said...

I generally do not do containers because I feel like they dry out so much quicker but those pea things look awesome. My mother in law only plants her potatoes in containers - usually directly into a bag of compost - and swears by it.

Leigh said...

My husband gave me a container full of strawberries for Mothers Day one year. It is a high container so rabbits and other interested critters cannot reach it. I do not have to do anything to take care of it and they come back year after year.

Anne said...

Here in the Southeast, lettuce is easier for me, while potatoes are a challenge, if I don't catch pests early. I love my permanent raised beds and couldn't garden without them.

Lindsay said...

I just helped a friend plant lettuce in his garden. I'm still inspired by your gardening (even if haphazard) mine is non-existent!

Sara Vartanian said...

Those pea planter are neat. I like the idea of container gardening. I'm not a gardener but want to be so this sounds like a nice start. Thanks for the ideas.

Sara Vartanian said...

Those pea planter are neat. I like the idea of container gardening. I'm not a gardener but want to be so this sounds like a nice start. Thanks for the ideas.

Jen said...

I have always wanted to try potatoes but haven't figured out the best container so thanks for the ideas!

Lisa said...

Great information, thanks for sharing! I want to start some container gardens soon!

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