Container Gardening

sweet potato vines in a container of water
Sweet potato vines and roots from the garden. Will plant vines in tires in the garden in the spring.

Having a highly productive garden doesn’t require a lot of space, but I find gardening very satisfying no matter what the size.

Great If You Don’t Have Much Space

Container gardening might be the answer if you don’t have much space. A few years ago, I lived in a house where the only outside space I had was a concrete patio that faced east. For two years I grew a small container garden on that patio. I grew potatoes, cherry tomatoes, green beans, peppers, lettuce, and strawberries in five-gallon buckets and plastic pots.  Of course, I didn’t grow enough to grow everything that my family ate, but it was something.

Use Containers to Get a Jump on the Season

In the later winter and into the early spring of 2020 I started planting seeds indoors that I knew I would plant in my garden at our new place. Even though I had not moved yet I had lots of different seedlings growing from herbs to onions to tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and even sweet potatoes had been started in dirt ready to be planted outdoors.

That year, I didn’t plant anything to stay in containers but instead grew to plant directly in the ground. The garden was fantastic. I was even able to can some of what we produced there on the property.

Why I Now Grow Both in Ground and In Containers

In 2021, however, I decided to try a little experiment and planted some potatoes in plastic buckets, but most of them I planted in the ground. I knew enough about how to plant each variety. The red potatoes that I planted in the buckets did well, better than the red ones that I put in the ground. When the buckets were ready to harvest, all that I had to do was dump it out on a tarp and collect the potatoes. I then took one of the small potatoes from the pile of potatoes and planted it in fresh dirt to see if I could get another crop from those potatoes. At first, the potato didn’t grow (I guess because the temperatures were too hot, but when the temperatures were optimal, they started growing and I had a crop before frost. I am guessing that the crop might have been bigger if I would have brought them inside when frost threatened.

Planting Sweet Potatoes in Tires

This year, I decided to plant some potatoes in the buckets as well. I intend to plant a bucket every week for ten weeks. (I have done six weeks already). The plan is that this would make it possible for us to have fresh potatoes available to us all summer long. Because I don’t have a lot of buckets this year, I plan to recycle bags that I got potting soil in. I just poked a few holes in the bottom of the bags for drainage and planted like I usually do. In addition, I planted potatoes in tires to contain them so that they are easier to dig as well. I am doing the same with sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are an interesting project for me because I have been saving roots left from one year’s harvest, planting them indoors in containers, and then replanting them outdoors when all danger of frost has passed. I have planted them in two tires one on top of the other and filled with dirt. I plant them in tires so that they stay warm. They are easy to care for. I just make sure they get enough water and they love water. They are easy to harvest. When the plant dies back or frost threatens in the fall, I just kick off the top tire and pick up the sweet potatoes. I gather up a few of the roots and plant them indoors for the next year. They are that easy for me to grow.

Other Containers I am Planting

In addition, I have some sweet peppers planted in containers so that I can get some peppers as early as possible as well. I could do the same with tomatoes, especially our cherry tomatoes, but we already have them in the ground. I am thinking about planting some flowers in pots and putting them around the garden where I want pollinators to come and do their thing. I haven’t done that yet, but I think it’s a good idea.

Looking for more gardening information? Check out my books The Survival Garden–Plant a garden for food that you don’t have to can, freeze or dehydrate in print and on Kindle and The Four Seasons Vegetable Garden available only on Kindle.

Published by 1authorcygnetbrown

Author of the Historical Novel series: Locket Saga including--When God Turned His Head, Soldiers Don't Cry, the Locket Saga Continues. Book III of the Locket Saga: A Coward's Solace, Sailing Under the Black Flag, In the Shadow of the Mill Pond, and The Anvil. She has also written nonfiction books: Simply Vegetable Gardening-Simple Organic Gardening Tips for the Beginning Gardener, Help from Kelp, Using Diatomaceous Earth Around the House and Yard, Write a Book and Ignite Your Business, and Living Today, The Power of Now, The Survival Garden, The Four Seasons Vegetable Garden and soon co-authoring the first (nonfiction) book in Ozark Grannies' Secrets-Gourmet Weeds.

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