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Topic: New to Container Gardening - Where to Start?  (Read 8902 times)
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« on: February 22, 2009 06:17:08 PM »

I'm wanting to grow an edible container garden. Unfortunately, I know little about gardening (my six-month stint working in the Wal-Mart lawn and garden department was too long ago to remember much).

So, as with all my crazy projects, I'm turning to Craftster for help. Smiley I'm going to just throw my ideas out there, and any advice you can give would be helpful. There's a lot here, as I tried to include as much information as I could. Feel free to ask questions if I've left anything out.

Here's my list so far:

- Lettuce mix
- Grape or teardrop tomatoes
- Green onions
- Radishes
- Avocado
- Sugar snap peas
- Squash
- Zucchini
- Eggplant
- Black beans

- Fennel
- Oregano
- Mint
- Basil
- Rosemary
- Cilantro

- Edible flowers

The veggie essentials would be a lettuce mix and tomatoes (I'll eat tomatoes before fruit any day of the week!). I also really like green onions and radishes, although I wouldn't die for lack of having them. The other things on my list are things that I am just interested in.

The herbal essentials are mint (great for stomach upset!) and cilantro. Can you die from eating too much cilantro? Because it'd be a good way to go... Grin And I hear mint is all but idiot-proof, so that's good. I figure if I can keep at least just one thing alive, I might try all this again next growing season. Smiley Oh, and I thought it might just be easier to go with a Chia herb kit (assuming those will be fairly idiot-proof), and grow any that don't come in the kit in different containers.

Okay, so those are all the plants. Here are some other things I'm taking into consideration: I don't want to be overwhelmed, so I'm guessing growing the entire list my very first growing season would not be a good idea, if not just downright stupid - if it all dies, I probably won't be trying it again, and that would be a shame. I just tend to overdo my new crafty obsessions. Smiley I live in south central Kansas. I want to grow absolutely as much of it indoors as I can. I don't know if all of it can be grown in a container in the first place, if it needs its own container, and what size of container is best. I don't know how to address the sun/shade issue for stuff, because what I can't grow inside will be on a balcony. I'd especially like to know how to keep the lettuce from bolting. I don't know what I can grow from seeds, and what I would would be better off getting starts (or whatever the baby plants are called). I think I can figure out when to plant from the packets. Figuring out how much water is kind of a pain (although from what I remember, it's hard to overwater vegetables in the summer), because a lot of sources just say "water well", but then some will note just after that to keep all the soil moist at all times, and others will say just to keep the surface of the soil most, etc. - I find that just a tad frustrating. How well do self-watering containers work? I'll only have a few minutes (if any) in the morning, and then a few hours in the evening to tend to my leafy babies, so I'm not sure if that will limit my plant selection. I have a skylight in the kitchen that's got cloudy plastic over it, but is still pretty bright. My balcony has glass doors that will let light in, and is on the north side of my apartment.

I don't currently have a cat living with me (I've suckered talked my parents into taking my cat for a couple years until I have a little more money to cover her allergy issues), but may at some point. Are any of the plants I can grow indoors harmful to a cat?

One other weird thing. Is there a way to keep bees away from my garden? I know they're necessary for pollination, but I don't want them hanging around any more than they need to be. I'm ridiculously afraid of them (and other stinging insects), no matter how many times I tell myself they're not going to hurt me, the bees are our friends, I'm not allergic, etc. Aren't phobias great? >.<

So, start slinging ideas and advice my way! Many thanks in advance. ^_^ Oh, and if you have any helpful links, please post them - I'd like to find a central online location for all my questions, but I have yet to find any that have all the answers I need in one place. Hence this post. Grin

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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2009 12:57:22 PM »

that's long list!  is that all stuff you want to start growing, or some of 'em you have started already?  if you haven't started any yet, i recommend starting slowly.

a lot of herbs are kind of random germinators.  Things like rosemary might be best if you buy a plant rather than try to grow it from seed. 

oregano and rosemary are both drought tolerant once established.

sugar snap peas you'll want to get in the ground as soon as possible.  it's nice to have 'em in the ground by president's day Smiley  or in a pot, rather.  using an inoculant helps 'em be more productive, but I don't usually use one  Roll Eyes  you'll need some kind of trellis for them, unless there's a short vining one that folks know about.

tomatoes: some are more suited to containers than others.  and it's not neccessarily the ones that produce smaller tomatoes.  i'm growing some oregon beaverlodge slicers that are supposed to be really good for containers, and also really early.  they just stuck their little seedling heads up over the last few days and i'm so excited.  Determinate varieties tend to be better for containers (they're more compact and less sprawly).

i don't think any of those plants are poisonous to cats.  but my cats do like to chew on plants from time to time - including your baby plants that took you so long to sprout (i've mostly forgiven mine for the artichoke that got 4 inches tall before they killed it).  so know that you will have some carnage unless you're very vigilant, or have a mild mannered, non-obnoxious, totally compliant cat (ha!  good luck with that).

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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2009 08:46:58 PM »

Wow.  You have a lot of questions in there, I'll take a crack at a couple:

University Extensions have some great material on container gardens, here's a link to a few:

Bees can be controlled with some insecticides:

The question about cats being allergic to plants - that's a great question - the ASPCA has a searchable database that lists plants toxic to cats, check it out:

On the cilantro question - you can die if you eat too much of anything I suppose, it's just a question of how much - can't help you there ;-)

Good luck on your project!
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2009 06:09:58 AM »


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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2009 12:43:51 PM »

I am starting a balcony garden this year too! This is the first year in the past four that I've lived somewhere with a balcony. I am so excited!

So far I have planted herbs from seed inside. ( Basil, cilantro, mint, chives, oregano, lavendar). I have grown herbs before so i'm not too worried but this year i wanted to do some vegetables too. Besides tomatoes, what veggies prosper well in container gardening?

PS. I live in southern ontario, canada... so probably different plants would do well here than in Kansas I assume haha.

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« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2009 07:16:09 PM »

This will be my second container garden. Last year went moderately well. My tomatoes took off like crazy. I can't remember the name of tomato I picked but it had relatively small fruit and produced earlier in the season than others the greenhouse had available.

I didn't start from seeds because I moved twice before planting season last year but a local greenhouse will have answers for your KS climate specific questions. I'm from MI, my plants suffer the cold!

This year my DH and I want to look into building a movable raised bed, about 2' x 5' of planting space. We're not completely sure what the specifics are but I need it to give me enough depth for roots plus protect the plants from the bunnies that live in the backyard.

We have upstairs neighbors with a deck above our patio so we're planning on growing tomatoes hanging style instead of in the planter. See https://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=6920.0 for a detailed DIY tutorial.

« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2009 05:42:37 PM »

Oh, please don't use any insecticides against bees.  Honey bees are dying and insecticides are a possible contributing factor.  Please don't hurt the bees!  Instead, don't plant things that attract bees.  Anything recommended for butterflies or hummingbirds will attract bees as well.  Water will also attract bees, so don't leave water out.  I've noticed that bees love my white sage when it blooms in the spring.

As for your garden, I would put as much outside as you can.  I've done herbs in containers for a few years now, but I've never tried veggies.  For cheap recycled containers, cat litter buckets are wonderful.  You can spray paint them if you like.  I buy most of my herbs as plants.  If you are only buying one plant, it can be cheaper than buying a packet of seeds.  I've never been able to start mint from seed.



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« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2009 04:12:50 PM »

I'm just starting myself. I compiled this list....

Vegetable   Variety   Container Recommendation
Beets   Baby Canning   windowbox, 5 gallon
Beets   Burpee Golden   windowbox, 5 gallon
Beets   Detroit Dark Red   windowbox, 5 gallon
Beets   Early Red Ball   windowbox, 5 gallon
Beets   Early Wonder   windowbox, 5 gallon
Beets   Little Egypt   windowbox, 5 gallon
Beets   Red Ace Hybrid   windowbox, 5 gallon
Beets   Spinel Little Ball   windowbox, 5 gallon
Broccoli   Any variety but Crusader   5 gallon
Broccoli   DeCicco   5 gallon
Broccoli   Green Comet   5 gallon
Broccoli   Italian green sprouting   5 gallon
Broccoli   Super Blenf   5 gallon
Brussel Spouts   Any Variety   5 gallon
Brussel Spouts   Evesham   5 gallon
Brussel Spouts   Jade Cross   5 gallon
Cabbage   Baby Head   5 gallon
Cabbage   Discovery   5 gallon
Cabbage   Dwarf Morden   5 gallon
Cabbage   Early Jersey Wakefield   5 gallon
Cabbage   Fast Ball   5 gallon
Cabbage   Flash   5 gallon
Cabbage   Minicole   5 gallon
Cabbage   Red Ace   5 gallon
Carrot   Baby Spike   10' Wide, 10" deep
Carrot   Best of the bunch   10' Wide, 10" deep
Carrot   Danvers Hald Long   10' Wide, 10" deep
Carrot   Golden nugget   10' Wide, 10" deep
Carrot   Little Finger   windowbox, 12" deep, 5 gallon
Carrot   Nantes   10' Wide, 10" deep
Carrot   Short and sweet   10' Wide, 10" deep
Carrot   Short root or round   10' Wide, 10" deep
Carrot   Thumbelina   5 gallon windowbox, 12" deep
Carrot   Tiny Sweet   10' Wide, 10" deep
Chard   Any variety   10-12" Deep
Chinese Cabbage   Bok Choy   5 gallon
Chinese Cabbage   Burpee Hybrid   5 gallon
Chinese Cabbage   Michihi   5 gallon
Chinese Cabbage   Wong Bok   5 gallon
Collards   Any variety   12" Deep
Corn   F-M Cross   21" wide, 8" deep. Need 3 plants per container to assure pollination.
Corn   Golden Bantam   21" wide, 8" deep. Need 3 plants per container to assure pollination.
Corn   Kandy Korn   21" wide, 8" deep. Need 3 plants per container to assure pollination.
Corn   Precocious   21" wide, 8" deep. Need 3 plants per container to assure pollination.
Corn   Space saving varieties   21" wide, 8" deep. Need 3 plants per container to assure pollination.
Cucumbers   Burpee Hybrid II   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Burpee Pickler   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Burpless   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Bush crop   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Bush Pickle   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Crispy   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Early Pik   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Fanfare   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Liberty   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Patio Pik   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Pickalot   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Picklebush   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Pot Luck   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Salad Bush Hybrid   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Salty   1 plant per gallon
Cucumbers   Spacemaster   1 plant per gallon
Eggplant   Bambino   3 gallon
Eggplant   Black Beauty   3 gallon
Eggplant   Dusty   3 gallon
Eggplant   Ichiban   3 gallon
Eggplant   Millionaire   3 gallon
Eggplant   Morden Midget   3 gallon
Eggplant   Rosa Bianca   3 gallon
Eggplant   Slim Jim   3 gallon
Garlic   Most   8" deep container
Green Beans   (Pole beans give a higher yield in a small footprint) Blue Lake   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Bush Blue Lake   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Bush Romano   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Contender   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   French Dwarf   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Greencrop   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Kentucky Wonder   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Tavera   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Tender Crop   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Tendercrop Stringless   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Beans   Topcrop   windowbox, 5 gallon
Green Onions   Beltsville Bunching   12" Deep
Green Onions   Crysal Wax   12" Deep
Green Onions   Evergreen Bunching   12" Deep
Horseradish   Maliner Kren   5 gallon
Kale   Any Variety   8" wide, 8" Dep
Kohlrabi   Grand Duke   12" Deep
Leaf Lettuce   Beuttercrunch   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Bibb   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Black Seeded Simpson   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Buttercrunch   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Dark Green Boston   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Grand Rapids   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Green ice   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Little Gem   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Oak Leaf   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Red Sails   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Ruby   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Salad Bowl   windowbox, 5 gallon
Leaf Lettuce   Tom thump   windowbox, 5 gallon
Lima Beans   Bush baby   windowbox, 5 gallon
Lima Beans   Fordhook 242   windowbox, 5 gallon
Lima Beans   Fordhook bush lima   windowbox, 5 gallon
Lima Beans   Henderson Bush   windowbox, 5 gallon
Lima Beans   Jackson   windowbox, 5 gallon
Lima Beans   White Dixie Wonder   windowbox, 5 gallon
Lima Beans   Wonder Bush   windowbox, 5 gallon
Onions   Bunching types work best   10-12" Deep
Onions   Japanese Bunching   10-12" Deep
Onions   Pickling PBR   10-12" Deep
Onions   white pear   10-12" Deep
Onions   White Sweet spanish   5 gallon
Onions   Yellow Sweet Spanish   5 gallon
Parsley   Evergreen   
Parsley   Moss Curled   
Peas   Burpee Blue Batman   12" Deep
Peas   Early Patio   12" Deep
Peas   Laxton's progress   12" Deep
Peas   Little Marvel   12" Deep
Peas   Melting Sugar   12" Deep
Peas   Snowbird   12" Deep
Peas   Sugan Bon   12" Deep
Peas   Sugar Mel   12" Deep
Peas   Sugar Rae   12" Deep
Peppers   Any variety   1-20 gallon containers
Peppers   Apple (Hot) Red Cherry   2 Gallon
Peppers   Bell Boy   2 Gallon
Peppers   California Wonder   2 Gallon
Peppers   Cubanelle   2 Gallon
Peppers   Frigitello   2 Gallon
Peppers   Jalapeno   2 Gallon
Peppers   Keystone Resistant   2 Gallon
Peppers   Long red Cayenne   2 Gallon
Peppers   New Ace   2 Gallon
Peppers   Red Cherry   2 Gallon
Peppers   Robustini   2 Gallon
Peppers   Sweet Banana   2 Gallon
Peppers   Thai Hot   2 Gallon
Peppers   Yolo Wonder   2 Gallon
Potatoes   Charlotte   1-20 gallon containers
Potatoes   Epicure   1-20 gallon containers
Potatoes   Irish Cobbler   1-20 gallon containers
Potatoes   Kennebec   1-20 gallon containers
Potatoes   Red Pontiac   1-20 gallon containers
Pumpkins   Autumn Gold Hybrid   5 Gallon
Pumpkins   Baby boo   5 Gallon
Pumpkins   Bushkin   5 Gallon
Pumpkins   Jack be little   5 Gallon
Pumpkins   small sugar   5 Gallon
Radishes   (White) Icicle   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   Avoid Winter Radishes   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   Burpee White   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   Champion   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   Cherry Belle   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   Comet   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   Early Scarlet   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   French Breakfast   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   Scarlet Globe   windowbox, 5 gallon
Radishes   Sparkler   windowbox, 5 gallon
Spinach   America   windowbox, 5 gallon
Spinach   Any variety   4-6" Deep
Spinach   Avon Hybrid   windowbox, 5 gallon
Spinach   Dark Green Bloomsdale   windowbox, 5 gallon
Spinach   Melody   windowbox, 5 gallon
Squash   Baby Crookneck   2 Gallon
Squash   Creamy   2 Gallon
Squash   Golden Nugget   2 Gallon
Squash   Ronde de Nice   2 Gallon
Squash   Zucchini (Most varieties)   2 Gallon
Squash Summer   Crookneck   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Early yellow summer   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Gold Rush   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Goldbar   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Park's Creamy Hybrid   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Peter Pan   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Pic-n-pic hybrid   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Richgreen hybrid   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Scallopine   24" Deep
Squash Summer   Straightneck   24" Deep
Squash Summer   sunburst   24" Deep
Squash Winter   Bush Acorn   24" Deep
Squash Winter   Butterbush   24" Deep
Squash Winter   Cream of the crop   24" Deep
Squash Winter   Table Kind   24" Deep
Tomatoes   Basket Pak   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Better Boy VFN   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Burpee's Pixie   5 gallon
Tomatoes   container choice   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Early Girl   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Gardener's delight   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Husky gold   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Husky red   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Patio   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Pixie   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Red Cherry   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Red Robin   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Rutgers   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Saladette   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Small Fry   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Spring Giant   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Sugar Lump   5 gallon
Tomatoes   sundrop   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Sweet 100   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Tiny Tim   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Toy Boy   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Tumbling Tom (Hanging)   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Whippersnapper   5 gallon
Tomatoes   Yellow Canary   5 gallon
Tomatoes   yellow pear   5 gallon
Turnips   Any Variety   10-12" Deep

« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2009 04:13:57 PM »

now, my problem is that I need container. I haven't been able to bring myself to buy store-bought for their lack of fun. Any suggestions?
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009 04:18:03 PM by scrills » THIS ROCKS   Logged
Diane B.
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2009 09:44:00 AM »

Thanks for the list!

Diane B.

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