Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Vegetables in containers
Especially this year, folks are wanting to plant vegetables. But maybe your lawn isn’t big enough or you live in an apartment with just a balcony or maybe your sun conditions aren’t ideal, so what do you do? Plant in containers!
What size container should you use? What TYPE of container? Certain containers create issues for your plants.
Tomatoes are super popular and grow well in containers but they need size! University based information says use AT LEAST a 12 inch diameter container, but honestly, bigger is better. The larger pots provide more soil and hold more water which minimizes wilting and stress as plants get large.
This chart from the U of MN gives information on a variety of veggies, the minimum and preferred size container, how many plants per pot and cultivar suggestions.
As for the container material, avoid using metal containers, they can absorb too much heat and be deadly to plant roots. Think of sitting on the hood of a car, with shorts on, after it’s been in the hot sun! OUCH. Butts and roots don’t tolerate extreme high or low temperatures that upper plant parts can take.
Black containers can also be very hot for roots in full sun conditions, which is where your tomatoes should be. Light colored containers are best for minimizing hot conditions.
As for soil, use a quality mix. I always use Creekside Soils Premium potting soil from my local garden center. A lightweight mix is best. NEVER use the soil from your yard in a container.
I use squished milk jugs in the bottom of my really large containers to take up space. As of watering, that’s daily, and even sometimes twice a day if it’s really hot.