I find a lot of people express doubts as to the success of container planting. When left to struggle unaided many container gardens do suffer. Neglect of any garden will have an adverse affect on the harvest. But the following pictures should give you hope that it is possible to feed the family without a patch of land on which to dig.
I have permission from my lovely cousin to share with you the fabulous photos of her container garden. I discovered these pictures a while back and I still think it is one of the best examples of container gardening I have seen yet. They get a reasonable harvest and it is all accomplished on a balcony - no ground at all required here! It just goes to show that a little kiwi ingenuity goes a long way. My cousin lives in a rather different climate than we do, but I think that with careful planning and attention to varieties and conditions we can all replicate this level of success. Hopefully this inspires some of you to take the plunge and give it a go!
I am a huge fan of growing vegetables in containers. Owning a 1/4 acre section and large vegetable garden is a luxury long forgotten by most of us. Many modern homes have a mere ribbon of land skirting the house, so growing food for the table may seem an impossibility. Using tubs and buckets to grow food is an excellent way to supplement your diet with the freshest produce you can imagine!
Over the last few years, I have been experimenting with various types of container planting, and I am very happy with the results. I have shared my knowledge with friends and family, and have been pleased to see them have some success as well.
I think the key to truly successful crops (as with many things in life) is to understand that what you get out is directly controlled by what you put in. A container garden is essentially a closed circuit, the plant sends down roots looking for food stores but will eventually come up short. For us to get a healthy and reasonable harvest we must therefore feed and nurture the plant a little more than perhaps a traditional garden would need. That's not to say that we should overdo it either, and any time we attempt to circumvent mother nature we must expect that sometimes she will teach us some valuable lessons! Throughout all my gardening endeavours I try very hard to respect the natural balance of things and to use non-invasive and natural methods where I can. From time to time I have had to resort to more harsh controls but I limit this as much as possible.
One of my favourite things to grow in containers is potatoes. I started doing this because I was fed up with diseased rogue potato plants taking over my main garden beds. Additionally, my soil seems to carry a multitude of potato pathogens, and I was throwing out over a third of my crop with each year being worse than the previous one. The beauty of growing spuds in a bucket is that you can be sure to get all the little ones out and therefore leave none to take off somewhere else, and because you are using fresh potting media each time you reduce the likelihood of disease.
I do not get a massive yield, as the size of the container and its finite nutrients tends to limit the growth, plus I am also guilty of being far too impatient and harvesting too soon! But in the following slideshow; you will see just how easy the process is, and how little maintenance they really need.
Other vegetables that can be successfully grown in tubs and containers include brassicas, some herbs, many types of salad greens, baby carrots and beets, radishes and turnips, tomatoes and capsicum, this list is only as limited as your willingness to give it a go! So much about gardening is simply trial and error and most plants are pretty forgiving of human error. Just make sure you have plenty of drainage, give it regular deep watering, protect the plants from wind and weather and over heating, and you should happily harvest something! Every site will have different conditions and knowing how that will affect your plant of choice is a good piece of info to have. Do some homework first if you are unsure of what your plant needs. Most importantly - have fun with it!
Happy gardening, and may you too live your Goodlife!
I'm Kimberley, and I live in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. I am very passionate about growing strong healthy plants that enrich us and our environment. Welcome to my place - feel free to look around!