You wish to grow tomatoes or cucumbers, but think it is not possible as the only space you have is your little balcony or the roof of your building? You will be pleased to learn that vegetables can easily be grown in containers, right in the heart of the city!
When growing vegetables, it is important to plant them in large containers so their root systems have a maximum of space. Also, choose dark-coloured containers, especially if you grow vegetables that require a lot of heat such as tomatoes and eggplants. Furthermore, use a rich but light soil with a high water and nutrient retention capacity. Soils made up of equal quantities of compost, peat moss and perlite, such as PRO-MIX Organic Vegetable and Herb Mix, give excellent results. For an abundant yield, do not forget to fertilize your plants with a few handfuls of granular fertilizer (about 100 ml per plant) containing high amounts of nitrogen and potassium, and this, at planting.
Photo 1: Create a great vegetable garden even if you do not have much space.
Also, make sure to place the containers in full sun as several plants require a minimum of six hours of light to grow and develop properly, and protect them from the wind. Late May and early June, once all risks of frost have been eliminated, are good times to plant a number of tropical vegetables such as eggplants, cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes.
However, some root and leafy vegetables such as beets, spinach and radishes, may be planted or seeded outside earlier, i.e. in late April in certain regions.
Photo 2: Chards may be planted in containers, outside, about two weeks before all risks of frost have been eliminated, i.e. towards the beginning of May.
Almost all vegetables and herbs can be grown in containers, even carrots! However, the crops that are the better adapted to container growing are herbs and the vegetables whose leaves are edible, such as chards, spinach, kales and leaf lettuce. Also, bush beans and peas provide excellent yields when grown in containers. Pole bean and pole pea cultivars also work fine, but will require some kind of support to grow.
Photo 3: Most herbs are easily grown in containers. Basil, tarragon, lemon balm, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, savory and thyme are among the herbs that most appreciate container growing.
If you wish to grow tomatoes in containers, you may choose a compact cultivar which will yield small fruits, such as ‘Lizzano’, but know that bigger cultivars may also be successfully grown in containers. You may also grow eggplant and pepper cultivars which will bear small fruits, such as those from the Mini Bell series. Finally, as surprising as it may be, potatoes can also be grown in containers. However, make sure to plant your potatoes in a large container at least 45 cm in depth. Obviously, vegetables that have long roots, such as carrots and salsifies, must be planted in very deep containers. Some ingenious gardeners use plastic pipes more than 60 cm in length to obtain long carrots!