Thank goodness Spring has finally sprung! I never thought I would see the day when I would be running to the nursery to buy a cartload of baby seedlings, itching to transplant them into my own garden. But that's exactly what I did last weekend. I, like so many other home gardeners, couldn't wait until Mother Nature decided to play nice and give us all the go-ahead to start our planting.
If you have been following this blog for a while, you'll know that last year I got into vegetable gardening...just baby steps really. And I would still definitely call myself a newbie. I'm still learning, but I'm so excited to begin my second season of food production.
Click the title of this post or the "read more" link to continue.
But I also really want to see if I can be successful at growing fruits and vegetables in containers on my balcony. Lord knows I have the room, and I get a ton of sun up there. But I'm a little nervous I won't be able to do it properly. As I learn more about it, I realize vegetable gardening in containers is a lot more complicated than just soil, water, and sun.
Method #1: Organic Soil from the Farm, Watering as Needed
I am lucky that my parents have a whole field of fertile, organic soil all over their property. My dad fertilizes it naturally with the manure from his animals. Those animals, of course, graze in the fields, get the occasional supplement of corn, and eat leftover kitchen scraps from dinner. So the soil in my Dad's fields is pretty safe, if you ask me.
I filled up a bunch of my containers with said soil, and planted the following: kale, spinach, arugula, romaine, tomatoes, orange bell pepper, sugar snap peas (lots), cantaloupe, thyme, basil, chives, strawberries, mint, rosemary, lovage, and a black berry tree (don't know how well that one will do...)
- Garden soil is often too dense for containers. There may not be enough air pockets inside the containers for the roots to grow and breathe.
- There is also the potential for the bottom of the containers to get too watered down which is also not good for the roots. However, I do have drainage holes in all of the containers.
- My balcony gets a ton of sun. I face South West so I pretty much have sun all day long. This, of course, is good for most plants. But the lack of shade might be problematic for sun.
- Since I'm on a corner, I get a lot of wind blowing around the side of my condo. All that wind, I worry, could be damaging or drying to my plants. But I'm hoping they are low enough not to be too affected.
So far so good. The plants seem to have taken to their new environments and are doing okay.
Potting mix is completely soil-less, which is why gardeners need to use fertilizer. But it's ideal for container gardens because there are enough air pockets and it allows for the best drainage for plants.
In these containers I'm planting: Cucumbers, oregano, more cherry tomatoes, more bell peppers, more strawberries, parsley, and....I forget what else.
The potting mix and garden soil may not work out.
Do you grow any of your own fruits and vegetables? What methods do you use? In the meantime, check out the pictures below of both my container garden and farm garden.