By, Shawnna Filer

In the spirit of summer bounties, June’s Healthy Gallatin WIC blog focuses on growing your own vegetables by starting a container garden.

If you are like me and live in a location where traditional gardening is not an option, a container garden can be a great way to enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own food! Container gardening has some advantages over conventional gardens. Your garden will be portable so you can move it anywhere you want, even indoors when needed! Container gardens save on water and fertilizers and pest control is easier. Overall, you will have more control over growing conditions and enjoy higher yields with less work!

To get you started, here are five fun and easy ideas for container gardening!

  • Colander pot: you can utilize a colander that has gone by the wayside or buy an inexpensive one. Line the colander with a little gardening fabric or plastic with a few holes in it for drainage.
  • Maybe you have an old watering can laying around. You could punch some holes in it and plant some small vegetables like peas.
  • Hanging baskets are great for herbs, cherry tomatoes, or strawberries
  • Do you have wood scraps laying around? If they are large enough, grab some nails and a hammer and bam! You’ve got yourself a garden box!
  • If you have an old dresser sitting in your garage, pull the drawers out, fill them with soil and fertilizer and plant away!

Not all vegetables would be suitable for container gardening. Vegetables like squash or large zucchini need room to spread out.

Here are a few perfect container veggies to get started with.

  • “Rolande” bush beans are a long, extra slim snap bean with a superb taste and an extra crispy texture. They would be perfect for your favorite stir-fry recipe or sautéed in olive oil with salt and pepper for a healthy side dish.
  • “Bush Slicer” cucumbers are ideal for small spaces or containers, they grow quickly, reaching six to eight inches in length, and have tender skin with a sweet and firm flesh.
  • Herbs are especially easy to grow for container gardeners! Basil will flourish indoors or out and you can grow just enough to add into your favorite dishes or enough for a full size herb garden! Parsley will thrive outside on your porch or balcony and is easy to maintain.

Something to remember with your new gardening adventure is the different needs of container vegetables versus traditional gardens. Read on for tips on watering correctly.

  • Using a clay pot will cause faster evaporation of water. Get a plastic pot or a ceramic pot that is glazed to prevent evaporation.
  • “How much should I water?” If the top one inch of soil is completely dry, water thoroughly so soil is saturated but you do not want standing water. Too much water will rot the roots. Yellowing leaves can be a sign of over watering. If leaves are wilted or droopy, it is time for a good drink!
  • Your potted vegetables will need a lot of water! Once the growing season reaches hot summer days and your vegetables have filled the pot with their roots, plan to water daily.
  • If you are planting tomatoes, they need constant wet moisture instead of alternating dry and wet conditions. This will result in blossom – end rot, which is a rotting spot on the end of the fruit.

Healthy Gallatin WIC has taken the plunge with container gardening as well! Right outside our back door, we have six small raised garden beds and two outside the front door. You are more than welcome to come by and take a peek! Come inside for free seeds!

Hopefully this inspires you to grow your own vegetables this summer! Happy gardening!!