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How I Grow My Own Food in Containers

I have been gardening and growing food plants for many years. I concentrate on plants that can provide food, or I can make tea from them.

These are a few plants I grow in buckets: Thai hot peppers, pineapples, and a few others.

These are a few plants I grow in buckets: Thai hot peppers, pineapples, and a few others.

You Can Grow Almost Any Plant in a Container

There are a multitude of vegetable plants that can be grown almost anywhere. I concentrate on tomatoes, peppers (hot and mild), lettuce and mainly the basics. I have been adding more variety to my collection and have chosen Chinese cabbage for one I'm hoping will do particularly well.

I have also grown Swiss chard before and loved the mild mustard green flavor. I both added it fresh to salads and cooked it as well. Cooked it is mild and has a light mustard green flavor. In salads it doesn't have the hot bite to it that mustard greens have. I just love it. I haven't had much success with spinach though, but I am going to try again.

Tomatoes have been quite a trick for me to grow. I get a few tomatoes on quite a few plants, but they just don't produce for me like they should. I am so envious of people who have big beautiful tomatoes, or a lot of nice tomatoes on their plants. I know that I will have a better year this year. Peppers are pretty easy to grow though.

I grow organically. I love not having to use pesticides and knowing that my food is clean of pesticides. When you take care to make sure your plants are well nourished, then you won't have many problems. In this article, I will break down how I grow my various food crops and share tips and tricks for you to do the same.

I just planted these spinach seeds a few days ago, and they are looking pretty good.

I just planted these spinach seeds a few days ago, and they are looking pretty good.

How I Set Up My Containers

I have back and leg problems, so I grow vegetables in large pots, buckets, and even totes my daughter picked up for me at a dollar tree store. I love the totes; they have handles so that they can be easily moved in case we have to mow. The buckets are nice too, and they have handles. I am trying something new this year. I have gotten large tubs that we have been putting compost in.

I put holes in all of my containers, at least four holes around the container. I put the holes 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches from the bottom of the smaller containers. In the larger tubs, I put the holes at least 2 inches from the bottom of the tub. I do this so that there will be water in the bottom of the container and won't dry out so fast. I know this works because I have been doing it for a couple of years. Here in southern Georgia it can get quite hot and dry.

I put screen in the bottom enough that it covers the holes. That is so mosquitos can't get in and make more mosquitos. I then add river rock to the bottom until they reach the holes. I had an old mattress cover I cut a piece big enough to cover across the river rocks. Then I added a layer of organic potting soil on top of the piece of mattress cover. The organic potting soil is real heavy but will work to add nutrition to the soil. I have layered compost material from the kitchen and leaves over the organic potting soil. I will then prepare a lighter mixture of potting soil made up of the organic potting soil and organic peat moss.

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The lighter potting mixture on top with added organic fertilizer will be almost perfect for growing anything, even if you want to add seeds instead of plants to some parts. I can grow several types of plants in the tubs, which I am so eager to get finished.

These baby lettuce plants are about two weeks old.

These baby lettuce plants are about two weeks old.

One Can Get a Bountiful Harvest From Large Containers

I have some beautiful baby lettuce plants in one of the totes (shown in picture above) my daughter got for me. These lettuce plants are only about two weeks old. I planted two different varieties of lettuce. One is a red romaine, and the other is a green leafed lettuce. They are so beautiful. I over-sowed so I can harvest some baby lettuce for salads and leave some for full maturity. In fact, my daughter and I couldn't wait to try them. They tasted so fresh and sweet.

Just remember that the container should be large enough that a plant can grow to maturity. Plus, they are easier to care for in the larger containers.

My cilantro looks better and tastes better than it ever has. It has all to do with watering. Last year, I had problems with dampening off my seedlings. I was so dismayed I couldn't get anything to grow. I always heard that too much water would cause dampening off. But this year has been a wet year for rain. As a result, I have the best cilantro I have ever grown. I have also kept the lettuce well watered.

Try Growing Your Own Food in the Fall

Here in southern Georgia, the climate is a lot like Florida. We can grow a lot of things this time of year and not have to combat a lot of bugs. Like I have said earlier I have lettuce and cilantro growing and will grow other lettuces too. I have arugula that I dearly love to eat that I will sow next.

I am going to do an experiment with tomatoes to see if I can cover them in the tubs when it gets freezing temperatures to keep them alive and ready to grow next year. I really think it will work. I will let you know. I am so excited with the possibilities of what I can grow. The tubs and containers will also last for a few seasons. Just harvest, refurbish the soil, and plant again.

We can save a lot of money and have things that we can't get in the store. My goal is to encourage people to just try. Try one thing. When you see that you can grow your own food, you will be so excited and want to grow more and more.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Nancy Moore

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