Monday, March 12, 2012
Garden Preparation (Where to Start)
Do you recognize this photo? It wasn't too long ago I posted about the trials and success I had with growing vegetables in containers, but guess what? It's already time to start thinking about what I need to do for this year's garden preparation.
I'm not going to lie, I felt like a kid in a candy store as I was browsing websites looking for more heirloom seeds. Purple Carrots? I want some. Ooo maybe I want to try this variation of onion. Can I find a container big enough to grow this summer squash?
So where does one start when it comes to garden preparation, especially when doing it in containers?
Last year had such a huge learning curve for me. I made the mistake of just planting all my seeds straight into containers. I would set them out during the day and bring them in at night. It saved on transplanting and I thought, hey they are getting used to being outside. Big Mistake!!! It turns out that some of those starts really need to have the consistent warmth. My laziness stunted the growth of my tomatoes and peppers. They wanted to be inside for the first few weeks.
Container gardening does have its limitations so garden preparation starts with learning about container size and soil depth. It's true you can plant oregano in a tiny tea cup and set it by your kitchen sink but the reality is it will probably either struggle to grow or you won't get the maximum amount of produce. Plants need to have a certain amount of soil in order to let their roots grow sufficiently to support the plant. Most plants need to have at least 8 inches of soil depth.
The next step is to find out how much the plant will grow in width. It's hard to find containers that are bigger than 18 inches without paying an arm and a leg. Thus if I have a zucchini that needs 28" it probably won't do well in a container.
The great thing is that there are many books out there with ideas and instructions on what plants will thrive in containers, what soil depth is required as well as what size container to purchase. They will even tell you what plants you can put in the same pot. For example, in a 15" pot I can plant green onions, lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrots. Crazy right?
This week I hope to open up one such book and figure out more vegetables to try and figure out which seeds need to be started in the the next few weeks (inside). Hopefully by this time next week I will have a list of plants I hope to grow and can share more tips on growing vegetables in containers.
Are you in the process of making garden preparations? What do you plan on growing?