Secret to Growing Vegetables in Small Pots

KendraSchmidtApril 2, 2012

Each time I go to the market, I see farmer selling enormous plants that are grown in fairly small pots. I'd like to know how they're accomplishing this. Are they using fertilizer to make these plants grow large, even though they're in a small pot? I've seen lettuce and other leafy plants sold in small pots, while the leaves are fairly large. How can I accomplish this at home? (I know they're best in the ground, but I'd still like to know about the secret to growing in tiny pots, for those that were grown entirely in the small pots and not grown in the ground and transferred to pots later.) What's the secret? :ol

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

In containers the two most crucial points for success are the container growing mix used and the regular fertilizing regimen used.

Have you checked out the Container Gardening forum here? Lots of info on your question is offered there.


Here is a link that might be useful: Container Gardening forum

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 4:37PM
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Its the fertilizer and watering regiment they use. Lots of fertilizers mean the plant doesn't need much root volume to get everything it needs.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:31AM
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Perfect. Thank you Edymnion. I've long been suspicious about how they get such huge plants to grow in such tiny pots. Any estimates on how often is safe to fertilize plants such as lettuce, collards, or even strawberries?

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:14AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

It isn't so much a safety issue as one of taste. All those vegetables can be and are grown hydroponically by many commercial growers. So they are suspended in a fertilizer solution for their whole life.

Other growers use soil but with fertigation set-ups so the plants are low-dose fed continuously.

If you want to grow them in small containers then you need a fast draining soil-less mix and an automated watering and feeding system for best results. It is much easier to just use a larger container and feed regularly.

The common recommendation for container gardening is any 1/2 strength diluted liquid fertilizer weekly or 1/4 strength each time you water. But that is also going to be affected by your climate/weather and how often you need to water.


    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Thank you Digdirt. I suppose I was really asking in regard to starting my plants indoors (there's ample sunlight) until they're a certain nice size, then transplanting them outdoors once they're big enough. I didn't understand how these guys get them that large in the first place. Hydroponics would be surprising where I live, where people tend to be more traditional, especially the farmers. But I could imagine they're doing what you mentioned earlier with the low dose feed and soil.

I was really wondering if it was possible to get them a nice smallish, not quite medium size indoors (where there's ample light) and then transplant them outdoors when I'm ready.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 9:33AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Ahhh, so you're talking about growing seedlings and transplants, lettuce and other leafy plants sold in cell packs and transplant containers. Basically a 'how to grow from seed' indoors question?

Sorry but that wasn't clear from your original post and is a different situation entirely than what we have been talking about.

The best place to start on that question is with the how-to FAQs on the Growing from Seed forum here.


Here is a link that might be useful: Growing from Seed FAQs

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 10:27AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Now I know what you were asking, I've always wondered too. I always assumed that they must fertilize them fairly heavy to have so much top growth in those 4- and 6-packs. Anyway, check out the link Dave gave, but know that the plants you grow yourself do not have to be big like the ones from the store to grow healthy and strong. Mine are generally small and sturdy when I put them out. They have always performed as well or better than transplants from the store. Cheers!

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 10:55AM
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