I would always recommend growing in wooden raised beds when possible, but it’s not always possible for everyone to do so. A few years ago I lived in small ground floor apartment with a tiny yard, my rental agreement had all sorts of rules that wouldn’t allow me to change the landscaping (which wasn’t much more than a poorly-cared-for grass full of weeds), this left me with no other option but to have an entire container garden. So, here are some tips on how to get the most out of a container garden if it’s the only option you have.
Containers for growing can be one of your largest expenses, so cutting this cost to a minimum will help you save money that you can put into other aspects of your garden. I used 18-gallon storage containers and 32-gallon trashcans. I drilled holes all over the containers, not just at the bottom for drainage and air flow for the soil. I cut some of the trashcans in half to make 2 containers, one without a bottom. I used to bottomless one for perennials that would not get moved and would establish a root base that would serve as a bottom. I used my whole trashcans for compost containers.
You will need to start with high nutrient soil, which for most will need to be purchased by the bag. Drainage will be an issue for container growers, I recommend getting a large bag of perlite and mixing it in with your potting soil for crops that need extra drainage. Making your own compost will help eliminate the need to purchase more soil down the road as your expand your garden.
You will have to come to terms with the fact that not everything will tolerate being grown in containers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great garden. I grew kale, Okinawa spinach, sorrel, tree kale, tomatoes, carrots, green onions, beans, and more culinary and medicinal herbs than I could name. That is by no means all the crops that can be successfully grown in containers, however, I just ran out of room.
Don’t let not having access to some ground stop you from getting a garden started now.
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