Champaign, Ill. (WCIA)

Container Vegetable Garden

  1. Start big – You’ll want to use the biggest container possible. Soil dries out quicker in a container than it does in the ground. The bigger the container, the more soil, which equals more moisture retention. You won’t have to water your vegetables as much, which is perfect for beginner gardeners. Using a self watering planter is an easy way to keep your plants watered. Whichever type of container you choose, just make sure it has proper drainage.
  2. Pick the perfect spot – Your vegetables will do best in full sun. That means at least six hours of direct sunlight per day. Also make sure they’re in an open area with plenty of air circulation.
  3. Use the right soil – Ideally, you’ll want potting soil that’s made for containers. You can also make your own container garden mix. Mix equal parts vermiculite or perlite, peat moss and potting soil. You can use compost from your compost pile as fertilizer.
  4. Use window box planters – Window box planters aren’t only cute and quaint with a decorative charm–they’re also great to use if you don’t have a lot of yard space. They are really easy to set up and come in all sorts of different styles to match any home decor. Also, think of how great it would be to reach out of your kitchen window for fresh basil, thyme, or rosemary when you’re making a home cooked meal.
  5. Use hanging baskets – Hanging baskets are a great way to grow a compact variety of vegetables and herbs together, such as tomatoes and basil. Think of how great they’ll look hanging off your deck or balcony!
  6. Cover your patio or deck – Use your deck or patio as an outdoor container garden. There are so many different types of planters that one is sure to fit your style and your garden needs. Make sure you choose planters that are wide and deep enough to be able to sustain your vegetables. Give your plants a boost by varying the height of your planters with a decorative plant stand.
  7. Use a trellis – You can let vine vegetables, such as cucumbers and squash, also grow in a container vegetable garden. The key is to let them grow up a plant support, such as an obelisk planter or a trellis. They’re a great decorative piece, while still giving your vegetables the space they need to grow. You can also use wire tie strips to help stabilize the plants to the trellis without damaging them.