Container Gardening

To urban farmers like myself, containers play an important role. Besides all the containers I use to start my plants in. I have several containers which have had the same plant in them for years.

My favorite container is the one that has held the same Gypsy Hybrid Pepper plant for the last 5 years. Every year it gives me at least 30 big red peppers long before my garden plants even have half size green peppers. Every fall I bring my Gypsy Hybrid into the basement when I starts to get chilly and place it under my garden lights. It always has a dozen or so small to medium peppers on it. These peppers usually ripen over the next 6 weeks or so. After that the basement starts to get cold and I turn the lights off until seed starting time. I don’t do another thing with the plant until spring. This gives me fresh peppers until after Christmas. When seed starting time starts, I put it close to the window, I fertilize and start watering regularly. Magically the leaves start to reappear in a few weeks. On nice days I take it outside, and later in the spring I only bring it back in on cold nights. This one container is responsible for my first peppers and last peppers of the season.

container-gardening

An important thing with container gardening is the growing medium you use. You do not want to use garden soil. You can buy a commercial mixture for containers usually call pro mix or professional mix. Or, this is the mixture I use:

1 Gallon Cocoa Peat
I use cocoa peat because it comes compacted in nice bricks and is easy to store and have around. It is also environmentally sound because it comes from a renewable source (Coconut Shells).

1 Gallon Vermiculite
This adds texture to the soil and space for air, water, and roots.

1 Gallon Perlite
This adds texture to the soil and space for air, water, and roots.

1 Gallon Worm Castings
This is great for container Plants. It gives them the organic nutrients that worms would normally.

1 Cup of Silicate
This stuff I think holds about a 100 times its weight in water and then releases it into the soil went it gets dry.

1 Cup of my Fertilizer
You can use any organic fertilizer, but be careful and don’t use this much if you are using a commercial chemical fertilizer. I hope to have the recipe for my fertilizer in a future A Word.

Make sure the container has drainage holes in the bottom, else you’ll drown the plants. I line the container with newspaper in the bottom to hold the growing medium in. Plant your plant as you normally would in the garden.

Container grown plants need extra care when it come to watering. The soil will dry out a lot faster than in the garden. At the peak of summer I water my containers once a day. Clay pots are the worse for this, they are like a wick which draws the moisture away from the soil and allows it to evaporate into the air. Be sure to have a saucer under the container to retain some of the water and nutrients that wash through.

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