Growing Vegetables in a Container
What we recommend is a pot that is sixteen inches to twenty-four inches in diameter or larger. A very common approach is to just take soil out of the yard and put it into a pot, but that doesn’t work. The best solution is to get some potting mix from the garden center. This is about a forty-pound bag, and it’s taking about half the bag.
Some of these potting mixes contain fertilizer already – so if it has fertilizer in it you don’t have to add fertilizer to start with. But, that fertilizer won’t keep going for very long, so you do need to feed the plants. It’s important to follow the instructions. For example, we have a slow release fertilizer. Typically these will call for about a tablespoon of fertilizer. Another possible fertilizer is an alfalfa-based fertilizer - which will take about one-half to one cup of fertilizer.
We’re going to plant a mix of spring crops that will be ready fairly early, and at the same time, we’ll plant a tomato. I have some onion transplants here. We’ll plant about five onion plants. The spacing on these is about two to three inches. Then we’ll plant five lettuce plants with a spacing of about six inches.
And then, we’ll plant a tomato. We’ll be using one of the recommended dwarf varieties. Put it right near the center of the pot. Next, we’ll plant some radishes. You can seed them fairly thickly. You can either make a small row or you can just space them out in little indentations an inch or two apart.
I have a little bit more space, so I’ll add some spinach plants. We’ll plant them three or four inches apart. This will contribute to a nice mixed salad before too long.
I’m going to take this and put it on the patio. Then I need to water it. We should water until the water comes out of the base. You’ll need to water thoroughly.
These two publications have more ideas for growing vegetables in containers and other suggested planting options. You’ll find them at your local extension office or on our website at www.kansasgreenyards.org
This feature story prepared with Ted Carey, Kansas State University Research and Extension Center at Olathe.