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Vegetable Container Gardening: What to Grow?

March 18, 2014       Green-Minded
Vegetable Container
Gardening 

Cultivating Tips and What to Grow

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers...in his vegetable container garden! 

You can sing your own silly song of triumph as you harvest your own fresh produce for your morning snack from your very own vegetable container garden.  Once you got the plants growing and maintained as well as you can manage, you won't regret keeping food growing in your window sill or growing off some hanging container wall.  





What stuff you might want for your vegetable container garden:


Beans


For cowboy spicy chili, or Chinese dishes, beans give good carbohydrates and can make up for when rice becomes scarce.  The vine varieties produce beans for a couple of months.  Where you plant them will require some kind of trellis, for the plant to climb on; they  can reach eight feet tall and higher.   Your vines can even be put together like a wall or divider if your trellis is a decorative structure.  Harvest frequently to keep the plant producing more beans.  Start your seedlings in the first quarter of the year and start a second batch in mid-June or so to keep  a steady crop of beans well into rainy season.  Bush beans aren't as prolific as pole beans, but you get crops earlier.  Water both types regularly especially during summer season. 

Minimum Container Size: 8 inches deep.  How wide will determine how many plants you can include.
Spacing: Bush - 3 - 6 inches. Pole - 5 - 6 inches.
Approximate Yield: Bush - 20 - 50. Pole - 50+


Carrots:

For all those soups and stews, chunky and hearty food need carrots and you won\'t go wrong with five or so growing in a container in your home. Carrots grow best and sweetest in the cool temperatures of spring and fall but take 2 months to mature.   Choose a fast growing round or baby carrot.  Seedlings must be be thinned to 1 - 3 inches apart, when they grow to about 1 inch tall, and give them regular water every week.

Minimum Container Size: 8 - 12 inches deep
Spacing: 2 - 3 inches
Approximate Yield: Depends on diameter of container. 1 carrot per plant.








Cucumbers


A staple of Persian cuisine like shawarma, or power cleanse smoothies, why not grow them in your food stash? If you want Cucumbers in your container food garden, choose the bush varieties. They can still spread out several feet.  You can also grow them in hanging baskets.  Bush cucumbers can be harvested earlier than the vine types.   This vegetable is very susceptible to attack by fungus on its leaves so keep the plants in areas with good air flow.

Minimum Container Size: 10 inches deep. Bush variety - 1 gallon. Vine variety - 3 gallons.
Spacing: 12 - 15 inches
Approximate Yield: Bush - 10 per plant. Vine - 12-15 per plant
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Eggplant


The favorite snack of we is called pookey-pookey, am Ilocano variation of grilled eggplant which tastes absolutely divine and melts in your mout with all its garlic and onion savory...sounds really obscene to anyone who can't appreciate a 10-year-old's appreciation of bad jokes but that should not deter you from home growing the vegetable and chomping on pookey-pookey.   Eggplants require a warm climate, so plant in a terra cotta container or clay pot to hold heat.  Place the  container near direct sunlight or place it on a hard surface that radiates heat.  When eggplants bear fruit, they get top heavy.  Slender varieties produce more fruit and can be picked while young, short and tender.  The newer, smaller varieties are ready to harvest at 3 inches, grow in clusters, and bear more fruit over time.

Minimum Container Size: 4 - 5 gallons, at least 8 inches deep.
Spacing: 1 plant per container
Approximate Yield: Slender varieties - 10 - 12. Larger varieties - 4 - 8.b








Green Onions


If you cook Arroz Caldo, Lugaw or even Pinoy Pancit recipes and variations of Fried Rice, green onions are a staple for our favorite comfort foods, and growing them at home instead of bulb onions is one smart choice for home vegetable container gardening.  Choose green onions rather than bulb onions as these can be grown with other vegetables in the same pot or grown on their own.  Either way, just cut off what you need and leave the plants to grow more leaves.  You need to thin the plants down to 2 to 3 inches apart, but you can eat all the plants you thin out.  Green onions still need plenty of water so check them often.

Minimum Container Size: 6 inches deep.
Spacing: 2 - 3 inches.
Approximate Yield: You can harvest green leaves and leave the whole plant or slice off the entire plant





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Peppers

Can't have enough of peppers, for your dips and sauces and many more dishes.  Some hardy, rural types consider any cheap viand a king's meal if he has a few hot peppers around to accompany his repast.  Peppers bear fruit all year long.  Of course you can simply enjoy them outdoors, during the summer months.  Hot peppers tend to be smaller and more prolific than sweet peppers.  Large peppers will require staking.

Minimum Container Size: 8 inches deep, 2 - 4 gallons per plant.
Spacing: 1 plant per pot.
Approximate Yield: Harvest while the fruit is still green so that more grow and leave some to mature in color so you still get the good stuff whenever you harvest.








Radishes

Radishes are a staple of most Filipino vegetable dishes, like sinigang and even for Korean in kimchi or fermented vegetable salad as well as  for Japanese in their wasabe.  You can plant radishes and carrots together as is often done in a soil garden.  Radishes grow best in cool weather and moist soil.

Minimum Container Size: 4 - 6 inches deep
Spacing: 1 - 3 inches, depending on mature size of the radish variety.
Approximate Yield: 1 radish per plant.


Tomatoes

These grow so plentiful locally that you can buy half-a-kilo for P10 when it is in season in places like Quiapo or in wet markets that are 'bagsakan' for vegetables.  Still, having your own crop is gold.  Growing a full size tomato plant in a container garden is not impossible.  You just need a large pot or container and lots of water, because crowded plants get stressed and catch disease so choose your biggest container for growing tomatoes.   If your container is huge, you can even underplant lettuce, basil or other herbs.  If you prefer cherry tomatoes, even better, these can be staked and grown upright or in hanging baskets.

Minimum Container Size: 12 inches deep for cherry tomatoes, 18 inches for full-sized plants.
Spacing: 1 plant per plant.
Approximate Yield: Varies greatly with variety.  The plants bear fruit for some time before you need to replant.







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