Growing Fall Vegetables in Containers
Now that it’s time to begin preparing for my fall vegetables, I’m getting everything ready for container gardening this season. I planted peppers during the spring and since they are still producing beautifully (so exciting!) I don’t have as much space in my garden for all the things I want to grow. Pretty much anything you want to grow can be grown in containers. So as I embark on this new venture I thought I’d pass along a few important tips I’ve gained about this type of gardening. First (and most importantly) is choosing the right type of container. Keep in mind that it’s easier to grow plants in large containers than small ones. That’s because large containers hold more soil, which stays moist longer and is less subject to rapid temperature fluctuations. But smaller ones can work, it’s just a matter of keeping a closer eye on them.
Another thing to consider is dark containers retain more heat in the soil than light-colored ones. Whatever container you choose, drainage holes are essential. Without drainage, soil will become waterlogged and plants may die. The holes need not be large, but there must be enough so that excess water can drain out. Next, the fun part, choosing the plants. If you’re using smaller containers arugula, beets, swiss chard, lettuce and onions will be best. Collards, broccoli, kale, beans and peas will do better in bigger containers. Finally, healthy soil is a must. I’ve found an organic type like Organic Happy Frog soil 12 qts mixed with Healthy Grow Worm Castings 4# and a low count fertilizer like Dr Earth Tomato Veg & Herb works really well for containers.
One nice thing about this type of gardening is that if you find your plants are getting too much sun (or not enough) just pick them up and move them, it’s as simple as that. And if your weather decides to give you so much rain you feel like building an ark, just move them under cover for a while and problem solved! I’m looking forward to the cooler weather and a beautiful bountiful fall garden this season.
Sugar Snap Peas can be eaten whole, pods and all!
When I first learned to garden, I thought you put everything in the ground once the snow melted and everything would grow through the summer and you’d have a bountiful harvest. I learned that wasn’t true when a spring frost hit and I lost a bunch of plants . Thanks to some more experienced friends and relatives (and books and blogs) I also learned that certain plants grow best at certain times of the year. Tomatoes prefer the summer weather; peas like the spring. This explains why the peas I planted in May produced a poor harvest in coastal New England: I planted them when it was too warm. Eventually I started planted my peas sometime after St. Patrick’s Day (provided the snow was melted and the ground wasn’t frozen) and they grew beautifully.
Peas love growing on fences
Those who have gardened know what I’m about to tell you, but for a newbie it was a revelation: NOTHING tastes as good as just-picked produce. The first time I harvested some peas, I immediately steamed them, added butter and a little salt, and oh. Oh my. I was in love. I had always liked peas, but this was different. The flavor! The texture! They were Just.So.Good. That sealed the gardening deal for me. For food that tasted this good, I would do the work.
A great idea for peas, cucumbers, beans or even tomatoes.
I tried a variety of supports for my pea plants and I discovered a few things:
- They grew nicely on the perimeter fence, but the deer had access to anything on the backside of the fence and clearing the tendrils off at the end of the season was a bit of a pain.
- The mesh netting is cost effective, but you have to pull it really taut and add plenty of support or the weight of the plants will bring it down.
- A sturdy structure placed at a slight angle gives good support and makes harvesting a little easier.
- Peas freeze well, but you should eat as many as you can while they’re fresh. Yum yum YUM!
We have pea plants ready to ship when you’re ready to plant!
Article Contributed by our dear friend Anne DeRuiter
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