Monday, August 2, 2010

Container Vegetable Gardening

With smaller yards and less available garden space that can be dedicated to vegetables,  container gardening might be the answer to us otherwise unfulfilled gardeners.  Containers could be the solution provided that there is adequate sunlight, that the containers are of sufficient size and if adequate support is provided.  Like planting anything, I think that planting vegetables especially represents a sort of hope and belief in the future.

Besides all the functional growing aspects, container vegetable gardening has to be designed to be easy to care for and look exceptionally good when surrounded by an ornamental garden setting. I always find a well cared-for vegetable garden to be very pleasing and there is no reason why a container garden could not evoke the same admiration. The agrarian aspects of vegetables can, if thoughtfully-designed, be a elegant addition to any ornamental garden. The vegetables somehow offer an honest, salt-of-the-earth outlook on gardening as opposed to their otherwise more noble ornamentals.

During the last couple of recession-years I have had the extra time available to dedicate to gardening.  During this time I soon found that my regular gardening chores did not adequately occupy my available time and most of all - my desire to garden.  When my business is going along normally, this is definitely not the case.  I have always grown a few tomatoes with a modest amount of extra care but have not normally had the time to involve myself in much more as far as vegetable gardening goes.

My daughter graduated from culinary school a year ago and along with my wife, have since required a constant supply of standard herbs for cooking.  I started out last year by growing small pots of basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, cilantro, dill, chives and parsley.  This year, I grown the same herbs and have grown many tomatoes, but have also expanded our container farm to include banana/serrano/green bell/red bell peppers, pole beans and bush cucumbers.  This fall, I am securing the appropriate pots for, and have plans on grow vining snap peas and beautiful lettuce and cabbages. And who know what other short-day crops.

So far, I have found that extra care is vital when growing vegetables in containers.  Soils, watering, sunlight, fertilization, pest control, pruning and sufficient support requirements all seem to be much more important when growing vegetables in containers as opposed to growing them in the ground. Mistakes seem to be less forgiving when growing in containers.

Soon, when the weather cools, the peas and lettuce that I plan on growing are going to be even more challenging because I am going to grow them from seed.  By starting them from seed, I feel that I can take full ownership of my crop from the first false leaves forward.  When the days shorten and the temperatures cool, they will be my new challenges.  Gardeners like challenges.  It is a chance to learn.

Quite like Landscape Architecture, I think that container gardening will be a constant challenge and a continual learning experience for me. The more that I think about it, and the more I eventually get into container gardening may require that I acquire a property with a proper in-grade vegetable garden opportunities some day. But then what do I do with that opportunity when I am off, too busy creating gardens for others than gardening  for myself? 

It is all good because I can always use the knowledge that I have obtained with my on-hands vegetable gardening for the benefit of my clients who may feel like they need a satisfying and rewarding vegetable garden to enjoy of their own.

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