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Grow with KARE: Container gardening

You don't have to have a big yard (or a yard at all!) to grow your own veggies this summer... try a container garden!

If you live in a condo or apartment, or just don't have the time and space to make an in-ground garden, then container gardening is the best option to grow your own food. 

When selecting a container for growing, bigger is better. But a container for gardening can be almost anything. A 5-gallon bucket is a simple solution, but there's also baskets, plastic totes, flower pots. Get creative!

Remember, your container will need a drainage hole, so poke or drill a few into the bottom before planting. Covering up the drainage holes with coffee filters will help keep the soil from washing out the bottom.

Deciding what you want to grow can also help you decide on a container. Peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers and other larger plants need a bigger, and deeper, container ... at least 12" deep.

But smaller vegetables like lettuce, beets, kale, herbs and radishes can grow in containers only 6" to 8" deep.

Once you have a container, fill it with a good quality potting soil. Adding compost is a good idea too.

Another big rule is not to crowd the pot. When you're planting little seedlings it's easy to put a lot in, but more is not more. These plants need space to grow and your container soil will only hold so much nutrients and moisture. Too many plants means there might not be enough to go around.

Here's a couple ideas.

1 tomato plant, 1 basil, 1 cilantro and 1 marigold.

OR

2 lettuce, 3 herbs, 1 kale and 1 nasturtium.

OR

3 strawberries and 2 herbs.

Be sure to add a flower into the pot! Flowers attract pollinators that will help turn blossoms into vegetables. Nasturtiums, marigolds and alyssum are good choices but you can add almost anything small enough so it doesn't take up too much vegetable space!

Now make sure it gets as much sunshine as possible. If you can, move it around through the day, but that's not always possible or practical.

Water it regularly and more frequently when days get long and hot. Just be sure the soil isn't soggy. Let the top 1" of soil dry out before adding more water.

Happy planting!

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