Three vegetables to grow in pots
Not everyone has the space or the desire for an in-ground garden, but you can still have fresh vegetable flavor with a pot or two. There are several vegetables that will grow equally well in a pot as they do in the ground. A little extra attention may have to be paid to container-grown vegetable plants, but it’s still a fun and rewarding venture. And the first taste of homemade eggplant Parmesan, tomato sandwich or stuffed peppers will make it all worthwhile. grab a planting pot, some soil and seeds and get ready to plant and grow some of these popular garden vegetables.
Aubergines, or Eggplants, love warm temperatures and produce their best in zones that offer them a long and warm growing season. If you're starting plants from seeds, start the seeds 6 weeks before the last predicted frost date. The seeds can be started in the pot in which they will remain, or started in smaller containers and transplanted when the seedling (and weather) is ready. When starting with plants, wait until the outdoor air temperature is above 75 degrees before planting in a pot.
Prepare soil by mixing 2 inches of compost into potting soil along with a slow-release balanced fertilizer. Place two seeds (thin to one plant after germination) or one plant in a pot that is 18-24 inches across. Water in well and place pot in a full sun location and keep soil moist.
The trick to successfully growing aubergines in a pot is to protect the plant from becoming infested with flea beetles. This is easy to do - just keep the pot from coming into contact with the ground. Keep growing container on the porch or patio or place a couple of bricks under the pot if it will be sitting on the ground.
Harvest aubergines when the vegetable flesh is soft enough to press thumb into, but firm enough for the flesh to bounce back into shape. Under-ripe fruits are too hard to make a thumbprint and over-ripe fruits are too soft to bounce back into shape. Use a sharp knife to cut the stem away from the main stalk, leaving the aubergine cap intact when harvesting.
Everything’s better with a slice of tomato on it, and homegrown tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. A lot of sun and a steady supply of water and food will yield you fresh tomatoes all summer.
Start with a pot that is 18-24 inches across and 12 inches deep. Mix good quality potting soil with 2 inches of compost and a slow-release fertilizer. Set tomato plant in the center of the soil 6 inches deep. Backfill planting hole, firm soil and water plant in well. Tomato plants can also be started from seeds indoors 6 weeks prior to the last frost date in spring.
Place pot in a full sun location and place a layer of organic mulch on top of soil. Keep soil moist at all times and feed tomato plant with water soluble fertilizer mixed at one-half the recommended rate once a week. Keep suckers pinched off plant - suckers are side shoots that develop along the main plant stem and rob the plant of needed nutrients. Harvest when tomato turns red by cutting the stem off the vine with a sharp knife.
Consider growing more than one type of tomato in a pot. All are grown the same way and there are a plethora of colours, flavors, textures and sizes available for the home gardener.
Whether you like hot peppers, sweet peppers, big, little, red or green, all peppers are grown the same basic way. The plants thrive in hot weather in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sun per day.
Use a 12-inch deep container and mix in 1 inch of compost and slow-release fertilizer into potting soil. Place two seeds or one plant into center of soil, cover with soil, water in well.
Pepper plants will not need to be fed again during the growing season, but will need to be watered during times of drought or anytime the plant appears to be wilted. Add a 2 inch layer of organic mulch on top of the soil to help retain moisture.
Harvest peppers at any stage of maturity by snipping the pods off the stems. Peppers are good when they are small and green, or they can be allowed to ripen to any range of color that you prefer. The plant will produce fresh pepper pods all summer.
About the author: My name is Cathy and I love to be with family and garden. I also run a site called www.whenyougarden.com