The Developmental Garden

Growing Organic Vegetables Outside In Containers

Growing organic vegetables is extremely rewarding.   It’s always worth doing even if you just have a small area for containers outside.  Perhaps you may have a roof garden or a small patch of concrete that you can use. That’s fine.

You don’t necessarily need a very big garden with beds.  You can still benefit from the pleasure of being able to cook, serve and eat your own delicious home grown vegetables.

The good news – almost any type of vegetable can be grown in containers. Of course, what you plan to grow needs to be adapted to the number of containers you have and how big the containers are. However, so many vegetables now come in dwarf plant sizes.

If you want to be sure of growing organic vegetables, of course you need to check that your chosen varieties are available as organic seed. Then the first thing is to set up your containers with organic compost.

Usually you’ll start by planting in seed boxes indoors. When seedlings have formed, you should choose the strongest and healthiest to plant out in your containers.

Your plants will benefit greatly from being well nourished. For some plants, like tomatoes, you can buy organic fertilizer or food that you can add to the soil in the containers from time to time. For others, it will be enough to add more compost at the end of the season.

Even if you want to keep growing the same plants over and over, it is best to rotate them around your different containers each year. That way, you’ll benefit from improved soil fertility and you won’t have to change the compost every time.

You can also rotate plants by growing one crop in a container for half the year and a different crop for the other half year. This also has the benefit that you can be growing organic vegetables all the year and you can have the best use of your containers.

You don’t have to limit yourself to growing just one type of plant in each container. If you need to you can also gain space by mixing herbs or other small plants around your larger vegetables. Just make sure that they won’t be kept in the shade when the larger plants grow.

Plants that grow upward, like tomatoes or green beans are ideal for this purpose. For instance, you can grow tomatoes at the back of a container and have cucumber, radishes or even small lettuces at the front for a self-contained salad garden.

Other plants that grow well in containers include eggplant (aubergine), especially small varieties like Bambino or Slim Jim; bell peppers, small squashes and green onions (spring onions).

There are many types of containers that you can use for growing organic vegetables. You don’t have to invest in expensive pots. You probably want to avoid plastic containers if you are growing organic vegetables, to stop chemicals leaking into the soil, but there are many other options.

Wooden containers are perfect and as well they can be decorative and give a great organic look to your garden space. Wire tubs or baskets have the advantage of allowing drainage without you having to drill holes.

Dark colors absorb heat, so if you live in a hot, sunny climate you might wish to paint the outside of your containers white or a light colour. Plants expect to grow in a situation where the roots below ground are cooler than the stalks and leaves, and they may simply die if the soil in your containers becomes too hot.

Plants in containers clearly will need more frequent watering than plants growing in the ground. In summer, you may need to arrange for someone who can keep your plants watered over any time you are away, even if you are is only away for a few days.

If you remember all of these tips they will help you enjoy delicious and healthy food from your  garden by growing organic vegetables successfully in containers outside.