21 Jul Container Gardening Tip #3-Plant Care
Ideally, it is great to plant your veggies in larger pots so that transplanting is not necessary within their short season. In addition, many of them do not transplant well. But it worse comes to worse, and you would rather not thin and toss-you might want to throw a few in another pot instead and experiment. You may end up with more veggies that you planned on. If so, pass them off to family or neighbors who could surely use them with food costs rising-or give them to your local food bank.
We discussed one method of watering your rooftop container or patio plants. A reader commented on the fact that there are also sub-irrigation opportunities available. This means there are pots or a watering system in place where the plants soak their water up from the base of the plant instead of being watered from above. The downside seems to be a little more expensive set up and the potential disease issues with sitting water. Upside? You do save water, as the excess water for many systems is reused and it seems that even the plants stay in better condition when the force of water is not started from the top of the plant. We’ll discuss more about sub-irrigation in a later post.
Use fertilizer sparingly with your potted plants, remembering that there is not as much soil for the fertilizer to break down in. I have found in my organic growing efforts that my plants can get a recharge mid-season by just adding some of my homegrown soil with compost combined. Use worm compost? Even better. Add some more in mid-season.
As they grow, your plants may need staked, which is often an easier effort with containers versus in-ground rows. Beans grow really well with three stakes tied at the top. Tomatoes with a tomato cage from your local garden center. Even peas will climb on a tomato cage. Just a basic stick with ties often works as well.
Remember that the health of your plants will improve if you are eating the produce. Sound silly? I guess it does but what I meant to say is that the product you are growing needs to be picked. It weighs on your plant and prevents maximum growth of both plant and product. Keep ‘em picked and on the table for the best nutrition for you and your family-and the best health and lifespan of your plants.
Container plants can be nurtured with just your time and minimal effort but we have all heard people swear by music they play or sing. What do you think? Have you had more success with your plants using methods that others might think…unusual? Please share.