Container Gardening

balcony garden

You don't need to have a large farm or even a big garden to grow your own food, there are plenty of ways to grow great crops in even the smallest of spaces! 

1 Find the Right Container: 

You can use many types of containers to plant in. People use everything from regular planters, to bushel baskets, and even old sinks & bathtubs.
Drainage: The most important thing is to have proper drainage. Water needs to easily flow through the container or it can cause mould and rot issues. Ideally there should be a bowl or plate underneat to catch excess water that the plants in the container can drink throughout the day. If containers don't already have holes, you can drill them in, or in the case of hanging baskets that you may not want dripping, you can put gravel or even broken terra cotta pots in the bottom to allow for air flow and drainage. 


2. Size matters

 Every plant is different in terms of how much space they need. Make sure you give your seeds or plants lots of room to grow! The larger the plants grow, the larger pot you will need. For example a tomato will take up a lot of space, and needs at least a sqaure foot to grow for each plant. Lettuces, herbs and greens which only need room to produce leaves can grow in smaller pots. 

3. Less is more:

Don't crowd your plants! It is tempting to shove as many plants as you can into each container, but keep in mind that plant will grow much larger as the season progresses and they need room to do so. A smaller number of plants that have room to grow will actually thrive better, and produce more than a larger number of plants backed into a small space. 

balcony garden2

4. Find the Right Plants

You can grow lots of different plants in pots, but some thrive better than others. Some good plants to start with are: Herbs, Cherry Tomatoes, Zucchini, Beans, Peppers, Lettuces & Greens, Herbs,  Eggplants, Onions & Cabbage.

Mix it up - Plant different colours, shapes & sizes of plants.
Companion planting (click for more tips!) - Try planting things that will help each other grow. Often things that taste good together grow well together. For example, tomatoes & basil, or cucumbers & dill.

11 best vegetables to grow in pots! 

5. Soil is Important

One of the great things about container gardening is that you can control what is in the soil. You need to create a balanced soil for your plants to thrive. Make sure to include vermiculite & peat moss to help with water absorption & drainage, topsoil & compost (or some type of food). You will need to feed your plants regularly throughout the season for healthy plants. Food can come from top dressing with compost and organic fertilizers. 

6. Water Regularly

Plants will dry out much faster in containers, so you will need to make sure that you water them often. Investigate self-watering containers if you are having trouble keeping up!

Container gardening front page

To learn more great Garden Planning tips, check out our other resources here 

Herbs are a great choice for growing in event the smallest of spaces! "You can easily stuff four or five of your favorite herbs into a tiny planter. And, because you’ll only be harvesting a pinch of this or a pinch of that at a time, you won’t have to kill the plants to enjoy them. Try one planter with a mix of annual herbs (such as basil, cilantro, dill and parsley) and one with longer-lasting perennials (such as sage, thyme, chives, rosemary, oregano and mint)."  Modern Farmer