Sunday, December 22, 2013

Popular Budget Vegetable Container Gardening Ideas

Popular Budget Vegetable Container Gardening Ideas

Container gardening is more than a notion!

What was a growing trend has become serious business. With national economy continuing to spin in negative space…with more and more people taking charge of their own health…with Eco-consciousness at an all-time high, it makes sense to grow your own vegetables.

Innovative Containers

Wouldn't it be lovely to grow veggies in a hand-painted china container? Lovely, but not exactly cost effective! Here are a few ideas on how to obtain cheap-to-free containers.

  • Garage SalesCome spring garage sales, estate sales and block sales suddenly sprout-up like stinging nettles.
    • Enlist a friend and make a grand day of treasure hunting.
    • Have lunch and nurture your friendship.
    • Keep your eagle eyes peeled for pots without lids.
    • Or, hit the mother lode with a claw footed bathtub, perfect for your root vegetables.
    • Tip: Don't be afraid to haggle, it's expected.

  • Fast Food Restaurants Ask managers of local fast food restaurants to save their five-gallon containers. You keep plastic out of the landfills and re purpose these containers, which is a brilliant Eco-friendly effort.

  • Dollar StoresYou'll find dozens of spiffy planters and containers for a buck.

  • Thrift Stores Good places to scout for innovative containers, such as chipped tea pots, bright colored buckets, etc.
    • Think big!
    • You'll need several 3-5 gallon pots to accommodate vegetables with long roots.

  • Hardware, Garden or Farm StoresCheap source of old-fashioned galvanized wash tubs and half whiskey barrels.
    • These are excellent containers for veggies like cucumbers and squash.
    • Tip: While you're browsing, watch for sales on vegetable seeds.

  • Dumpsters and Roadside - You probably aren't excited about dumpster diving and it isn't necessary.
Classic Family Organized Garden Planning and Preparation Picture
Just watch for stuff parked outside dumpsters or on the roadside, which somebody set out with the trash. Don't be surprised if you luck upon some of those pretty hand-painted china containers! 
  • Tip: Don't collect containers that initially held chemicals.

Gardener Holds Final Flower to Plant in Hanging Basket with Pink Flowers

Right Size Container

Congratulations on using your ingenuity to obtain a stash of containers.

Now, you need to put every vegetable in his correct sized pot. Here are a few suggestions for vegetables that thrive in containers:

  1. Broccoli – One plant per 5-gallon container.
  2. Tomatoes - One plant per 5-gallon pot.
  3. Peppers – One plant per 2-gallon container.
  4. Carrots – 5-gallon container, minimum 12" deep.
  5. Squash – One plant per 2-gallon pot. Tip: the pinstriped squash is a conversation starter and tastes yummy!
  6. Cucumber – One plant per 5-gallon pot.
  7. Onions – 5-gallon wooden planter or pot.
  8. Garlic – needs 8" deep container – hand painted china pot?

Potted Green Garden Herbs Picture

Free Seeds or Money-Off Coupons

  1. Gardening Catalogs – In order to keep ahead of competition, many gardening catalogs advertise through money-off coupons. When you receive your order it will usually include free seed packets.
  2. Friends or Colleagues – Do you have friends or coworkers who are obsessed with gardening? Consider hosing a seed swap. Have everyone bring a dessert and spare seeds to swap. Brew a pot of coffee and let the fun begin!
  3. Online Seed Swaps – Check the internet for seed swap websites. Most people will send seeds free, provided you pay the postage.
  4. Seeds from the Cupboard – Virtually any seeds from your pantry make fair game for planting. Get a few dried beans or peas such as lentils, red beans and chick peas from the pantry. Put in a pot and cover with about 2" good soil. Beans/peas will need six hours of sunlight daily. Garlic cloves that have dried out, ginger root, old beets or potatoes can all be planted. Check your spices for whole seeds such as fennel, mustard seeds, poppy seeds, sesame and dill.
Gardener Holds Final Flower to Plant in Hanging Basket with Pink Flowers

The Process

Let's briefly go through the container garden process from planting to harvest.

  1. Soil – Don't skimp on good-quality soil. Best potting soil mix contains organic compost, bark chips, and peat moss. It should also contain perlite or vermiculite to help the soil preserve moisture and aerate it.  These mixes will remain pest, disease and weed free due to heating during processing. Beginners might prefer using soil-less mixtures because they are lighter if you need to move containers about. Many contain fertilizer so you can skip that step for a month or so.
  2. Water – You'll get a greater yield if soil is uniformly moist. During dry, hot weather you'll need to water daily. Use a watering can and water all around top of container. Keep water away from foliage if possible to discourage disease.
  3. Food – Use dry organic fertilizer as directed. Apply fish emulsion weekly.

Invention of Watering Garden Plants using Creative Concepts of Protection

Celebrate your Bounty

Once you've plucked your first succulent tomato and eaten it straight from the vine, you'll be totally hooked on container gardening.

Get growing! It's healthy! It's fun! It's frugal!

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