What Container Veggies do you Grow, Pics Too?

kristimamaJanuary 21, 2012

Hi y'all,

I'm sitting inside during our first much needed torrential rainstorm in months here in the Bay Area, and dreaming about my spring/summer garden and what veggies I'll plant.

I'm looking at seed catalogs and posts here at GW to get more ideas and inspiration. So I gotta ask here, the land of container pros...

What veggies do you grow in containers?

Feel free to share particular varieties that do well in containers, or spacing tips, or watering advice, etc.

And best of all... wanna post some pictures of your bounty?

I've never taken pics of my set up, which I am now regretting.

I have grown just about everything in a container with different success. I have the best success in summer with beans, tomatoes, and peppers... but I'm thinking of trying some squashes and pumpkins in my wine barrels this year.

I'm just looking for inspiration here. Let's make it fun.



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I depends what you like to cook. Make a garden based on what you eat. I have just got into growing peppers.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 4:04PM
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What kind of peppers do you grow, MG? Last summer I grew Piquillo in containers and they were delicious. But I have trouble with the basic sweet red or yellow kinds in containers, they always seem bitter. Any tips for sweetening them up? Or maybe I'm harvesting them too soon?

Is it summer yet? :-)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 5:31PM
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"Is it summer yet? :-)"

I wish!!!! :)

I grow red chili, jalapeno, cajun belle, and of course pepperocini. This year I will post pics. May I suggest swiss chard, you will enjoy it's fast grow and repetitive harvests.

About the bitter taste, I dont know, I have had problems with lemon bamb tasting bitter, but nothing else did. I was using soil for everything else and long fiber peat for the lemon balm. The lemon bamb was grown with miracle grow and grew very fast. I suspect it was the miracle gro with lack of natrual minarals in the grow medium, that my soil grown plants had. What fertilizer do you use? It might not be the reason but it could be. It is very true organics produce less fruit but more rich in antioxidents and taste, then in-organic. For that reason I am using hydro-organic fertilizer in my containers.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2012 at 7:22PM
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Hi MasterGardener, In addition to the in-ground beds that I have in my front yard, in my back yard on a concrete patio, I grow more annual veggies in very LARGE planters that I made (2'x4'x2' deep) that are on wheels, as well as in half wine barrels, and they are mostly planted with a Mel's Mix that gets added to each years with the bark fines and compost. I fertilize with organics, and a liquid 3-3-3 that contains micros, but since the liquid is so darn stinky I often don't do it as often as I should.

I'm actually thinking of adding some azomite to a few planters this year and test using less of the liquid, and see how it goes.

I get a LOT of veggies from these boxes. Tomatoes and beans especially. Everything else I put in the ground. I don't grow winter crops in these because the sun shifts and these beds are shaded in the winter.

My sweet red bell peppers have been bitter, whether in the ground or in containers... so I think it was just the variety and our growing season and the fact that they are a larger pepper. Here in the bay area the last few summers have been cool-ish, my 'maters still grew but the true dry heat-loving peppers didn't set fruit and ripen until October and even then the yields were low.

Oddly enough, I haven't had any trouble with the piquillos (which are smaller and a little spicier) and since I can't find them fresh in the markets, I am just going to focus on them.

It's raining again today, and while my husband watched football yesterday I researched seed catalogs... LOL...Can't wait for growing season!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 12:03PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I have a lot of black walnut trees surrounding my yard, so I have to grow everything in containers. All of these are using 5-1-1 mix with some minor variations.

Tiger baby watermelon in a 25-gallon whiskey barrel:

Cajun Belle Pepper in a 20-gallon smart pot:

Goose Creek tomato in a 20 gallon smart pot:

Rosa Bianca eggplant in a 20 gallon smart pot (the flea beetles loved this one):

Packman Broccoli in a 25-gallon cast iron pot:

Diva cucumbers in a 20-gallon smart pot:

Two-month old grocery store potatoes in a 20-gallon tub:

Harvest in mid-July -- cucumbers, eggplant and potatoes:

Mariana's Peace, Rostova, Goose Creek, and Giant Belgium tomatoes harvested the same day:

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 3:19PM
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Nice pics.

If you use in-organic fertilizer or organic it really will not make a difference, it could be the time you harvested them.

Happy growing.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 4:39PM
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Wow, now that's some serious harvesting! Great pics!

Just curious, how are you fertilizing these?

Also, you mentioned a slight variation to the 5-1-1... any variation you could share with me?


    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I used the straight 5-1-1 recipe with pine bark, peat and perlite for the plastic, wood and metal containers. I used 5 parts pine bark, 1 part peat, 1 part Turface and 1 part yard waste compost in the Smart Pots because they wick to the ground and act more like mini-raised beds than regular containers. To both mixes, I added 1 tablespoon per gallon of Osmocote Plus 15-9-12 (a 6-month controlled release fertilizer with trace elements including calcium and magnesium) and dolomite line. After the first month, I also fertilized once a week with half strength Dynagro Foliage Pro 9-3-6 (on the tomatoes) or Miracle Gro 24-8-16 (on everything else, to save money).

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 5:38PM
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Ohiofem, so you used Osmocote in your potting mixes but also fertilized them every week with 3:1:2 solutions? Do vegetables usually require that much fertilizer? I'll be trying container vegetable for the first time this year, so I'm curious. The only edibles I grow currently are herbs, and I don't fertilize them at all. Should I be?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 6:37PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I do use both a controlled release fertilizer and a soluble fertilizer for vegetables as well as flowering annuals in containers because I believe they are heavy feeders and most fertilizer will leach out with all the watering (I water every two or three days when they're growing well in high heat). In a fast draining mix like 5-1-1, I water until about 10-15 percent runs out the bottom and there's less risk of over-fertilizing compared to a peat based mix.

I grow most herbs in the gritty mix. I add osmocote to that mix as well, but I don't use any fertilizer when I water them.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 8:07PM
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ykerzner(9 TX)

ssmdgardener - Osmocote nutrient release is dependent on temperature. The packaging might say it feeds for three months but the warmer it gets, the faster the fertilizer is released. I go by 2-month cycles. Feeding with something like Foliage-Pro helps fill in between cycles, or just supplement, especially for really heavy feeders like sugarcane and eggplants.

To answer your question, you will really benefit from fertilizing anything, including herbs. Leafy herbs, like basils and mints will be more productive.

I grow in containers exclusively, though most people on this forum know much more about it, and experimenting with dwarf herbs and vegetables for plant sales at a university. There's a sweet ornamental pepper called Sweet Pickle that produces pretty well in a 1-gallon container. Sweet'n'Neat tomato also does well in the same size pot.

Sweet'N'Neat tomato - small and decent producer. Not the best flavor:

Ichiban Eggplant produces really well in the proper soil and a healthy dose of soil. Give it an 8-10 gallon pot:

This was a Heatwave tomato from three years ago, planted in a mix of 30:70 Worm castings (yes, unorthodox on this forum) and regular potting soil, planted in a 10-gallon container. One tablespoon of Osmocote per gallon of soil would have been more appropriate.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:23AM
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    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 8:07AM
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I'm new to fast-draining soils, so I haven't gotten into the habit of fertilizing regularly. I will definitely be fertilizing more this year.

This year, I'm going to try every kind of basil and every Mediterranean herb I can find, various perilla leaves, kale, lettuce, and bell peppers.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 8:29AM
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ykerzner(9 TX)

ssmdgardener - I wish you much luck, because richters.com has 47 varieties of basil this year and a good number of other Mediterranean herbs, including 18 varieties of rosemary.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 11:50PM
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Haha, ykerzner, I should have clarified. I meant to say every herb I can find through free trades and seed swaps :-) I don't want to drain my gardening budget with 47 basil varieties!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 7:35AM
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I grow lettuce and spinach in those long railing planters. I use miracle grow soil in them. When the greens are done, I plant bush beans or annuals.

I grow a lot of parsley in those type of containers too - for the swallowtails.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2012 at 10:19AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Why are worm castings unorthodox? We have red wigglers that are ready to give us all of their castings. I want to put them to good use.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 7:52PM
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ykerzner(9 TX)

Zackey - you may have read the Fertilizer Program for Containers thread. Worm castings are nice if you want an organic nutrient source (1-0-0, mind you, very little) that can get to work pretty quickly, unlike most organic fertilizers. However, very small concentrations of non-organic nutrients, applied often, work faster and better. Castings are unorthodox because things like Osmocote or Foliage Pro are usually recommended.

Knowing a bit about proper fertilizing and container drainage, if I were to re-do the tomato in that picture above I'd skip the worm castings (they compact anyway in that heat), add Osmocote, and perhaps sift the soil a little bit to improve drainage. I'd probably add Turface to increase water retention.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 12:18AM
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