Growing vegetables in containers
I think as the weather seems to be going, we are all wondering how quickly our gardening season will take off this year. I am not even betting that my vegetable garden will be wet because there were portions of it still under water from last fall yet. I am pretty sure that I will need to move operations farther into the garden and a piece of the vegetable garden that I was planning on using for a native prairie restoration, will have to wait until the end of the year as I will need that piece in order to have a vegetable garden.
There are other things that we can do if you have concerns about how wet your vegetable garden will be. These are certainly some things that I am looking into and may work for you even if your vegetable garden will be in a reasonably good shape as far as standing water.
This may be the time for many of us to explore growing vegetables in containers. You can use all sorts of things for growing short term vegetables. You can make your own raised bed containers or you can use flower pots or some of these really nifty garden in a bag type materials that are available at many retail stores. Basically anything that gets the plants into a situation where you can move them to better growing conditions and still have some of those wonderful vegetables that we all look forward to each year. You just have to use your imagination and you can grow it!
There are all sorts of vegetables that can be grown in containers. Bush and pole green beans, beets, chard, cucumbers, eggplant, lettuce, peas, peppers, potatoes, radish, spinach, tomatoes and zucchini are some to start out with. There are also herbs. These grow quite well and can also be brought into the house during the winter months to be grown as houseplants. These plants include basil, chives, cilantro, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley and sage.
If you are looking for some specific varieties names, consider Sweetie Pie peppers, Winter Honeybaby squash, Flaming Jade Pepper, Hot Sunset Pepper, Sweet Sunset Pepper, Pick a Bushel Cucumber, Mountain Merit Tomato. These are All-American Selection Winners which grow very well in the upper Midwest and have been tested nationally and locally plus specifically for container growing in our area.
You can use garden soil from friends or family or you can use potting soil that you purchase. A good draining potting soil is much needed. I have seen some mixtures of flowers and vegetable containers in front of people’s home which were quite beautiful. The key with using some of these techniques is to make sure that you are watering and feeding the plants enough. If you decide to grow your vegetables via containers or through the use of a raised bed, they will take a little more watering and fertilizing throughout the growing season. You will also need to make sure whatever it is that you use has good drainage and will not have water standing in the container.
We have a little time yet before we find out just what Mother Nature has decided to dish out to us. It seems in the end we are always ahead in how much produce comes from our gardens and we have the farmers markets too for back up if we ever need it!
If you are interested in becoming a Master Gardener, please give me a call or email me. We would love to have more people become involved in our area. For more information on becoming a Master Gardener please visit https://extension.umn.edu/master-gardener/become-master-gardener or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-828-5754.