Victory Garden in Containers

Do you live in an apartment or condominium? Or maybe a townhouse with a very small yard? You still can have a Victory Garden in containers.  Just choose the right plants, the right containers and the right structures.

Plants

The emphasis is on plant selection – ones that are compact and will do well in containers. Botanical Interests has a great container collection. You can have just about every veggie in a compact form that is suitable for pot culture.

‘Mini Love’ Watermelon is great for containers

Containers

Also, choose your container wisely. For tomatoes and peppers, you need a deeper root run than lettuce and greens.

In Quebec, these bags hold a lot of soil and you even can place supports in them

 

I love the root pouch

Root Pouch is a family run business that turns discarded plastic bottles into a versatile, geotextitle material. The Root Pouch fabric planting container keeps plants healthy by letting excess water drain and allowing roots to breathe and grow.

Root Pouches come in all sizes 

Big Bad Beds are 36-inch diameter BPA-free polypropylene grow bags which you just unfold and fill with soil.

Big Bad Bed

Supports

Supports are usually bamboo sticks available at hardware stores and you can make all kinds of structures with them – with the most common one – a tripod.

These tripod holders are very convenient
Just slip the bamboo sticks through this rubber holder and you have a tripod; no fiddling with string or wire

Garden Things  carries these silicone ‘garden connectors’ which I love to use to  create structures- kind of like tinkertoys! Create virtually unlimited plant support structures with these amazing silicon rubber cane connectors. The  holes stretch to accept canes or square stakes from 1/4 to 1 inch in diameter. You can use a variety of materials for stakes: twigs, bamboo, metal or PVC pipe or combine stakes of different sizes and materials. Garden Things’s  innovative design allows you to build complex structures in just minutes, compared to hours with twine or wire. Structures built with Garden Connects fold like an umbrella at end of season, allowing for easy storage.

Terracotta pipe used as a container

Even though I have quite a large vegetable garden, I still plant veg in containers for convenience. You can plant tomatoes – quite large plants- in containers, even in a potting soil bag. Just make sure you fertilize the tomatoes after 6 weeks or so, because tomatoes are heavy feeders and will use up any nutrients pretty quickly. Also, punch holes in the bag to make sure you have good drainage.

Tomatoes growing in a potting soil bag

Just about any vegetable that you can plant in the ground, you can plant and harvest in containers. There are some exceptions, such as asparagus, pumpkins, and other large vining plants. But there is probably a mini selection of your favorite veggies, even pumpkins and cucumbers which normally take up a lot of room. Try growing your fruits and veg in a different way- like a strawberry tower.

Strawberries are the ultimate compact plant that produces in a small space; this is a strawberry tower seen at the Chelsea Flower Show
Per square inch, strawberries produce a larger amount than many veg or fruit varieties

Container cherry tomato ‘Patio Plum’

Interplanted basil with ‘Patio Plum’ tomato

Cucumbers are also doable as long as you have a support for them to grow on. Growing up bamboo sticks, you have to tie them into the support firmly to hold them up.

Cuc ‘Merlin’ growing up a bamboo stake; seen at the Chelsea Flower Show
‘Merlin’ Cucumber
‘Little Prince’ is a great container eggplant; available from Renee’s Garden Seeds

Interplant Edibles With Flowers

And if you want flowers along with your veggies, just interplant things like basil and parsley in among your flowers. I saw this hanging container at Chanticleer Gardens and it had edible parsley and mustard in it. Make your edibles beautiful!

Interplanted parsley in a hanging basket

Herbs are one of the easiest edibles to incorporate in your containers. Use an upright bay tree for a vertical element or cascading thyme on the edge to drip off the edge.

Herbs in containers

Other edibles like peas and even watermelons can be planted in containers. Just be sure to provide support.

Pea ‘Patio Pride’
All American Selection Winner

Pests

Pests are a huge problem for many gardeners. I am talking about squirrels, chipmunks, and deer…..and anything else that eats, digs, and generally wreaks havoc with your pots. I have trouble with squirrels digging in my containers. Protect the top with hardware cloth –  a stiff kind of chicken wire – cut into the shape of the surface of you pot.

For deer, I would put up a temporary fence as you obviously can’t spray your plants. Also, PVC hoops covered with landscape fabric or mesh that water and sunlight can penetrate is very useful.

Hardware cloth will stop digging animals
Mesh fabric stops animals and insect pests
Landscape mesh over hoops protects

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