6 Important things you Must know to Kickstart a Container Vegetable Garden

Lockdown has made us quite self-sufficient and we are in constant need to eat healthy. Creating your own container vegetable garden can be the first rewarding step towards it. In the famous self-help book Ikigai: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life, they found that 100 percent of people who lived for more than 100 years in the Japanese village ogimi had their own vegetable gardens! Isn’t that reason enough to have your own!

Even if you are short on space, container gardening can always come to your rescue. Most vegetables grow well in pots and planters. Here is what I have learned after a lot of trial and error in container vegetable gardening. I hope this will help you all in preparing the containers and dealing with the problems that may occur. 

Which Container is Best for Vegetable Gardening

pebbles in a terracotta pot for good drainage

  • Drainage Holes – The container must have some holes in it to drain the water well. Poor drainage can lead to root rot and the plants can die. 
  • Material of the Container – People plant in all types of planters such as terracotta, clay, plastic or ceramic. However, as per my experience, terracotta containers that are not glazed are the best containers for growing veggies and other plants. As it absorbs the excess water in it, thereby making it almost impossible to kill your plant by overwatering at least. Trust me, I have killed many, and if you have got this one thing covered, then you can go a long way without killing those little plant babies.
  • Add Pebbles to the base of the container – If you add a few pebbles or rocks at the bottom of the container then it will help drain the water better. You can buy the pebbles here. 
  • Size of Planter – The size and depth of the planter depend upon the type of veggies you are growing. For example, to grow green leafy vegetables like spinach, coriander, fenugreek etc, you need shallow containers and not very deep ones. And to grow root veggies like radish, carrot etc you need deep containers to give them some room to grow. The vines such as bitter guard (karela), bottle guard (ghiya/lauki) and all the guards do well in medium side containers. 

How to Prepare the Soil to Saw Veggies 

soil and pebbles in a terracotta planter for vegetable gardening

A mixture of Garden Soil, cocopeat, neem powder and vermicompost makes the ideal soil for growing the vegetables. Garden Soil provides the stability, cocopeat retains moisture, neem powder prevents it from getting any bugs and vermicompost provides the essential nutrients organically. 

If collecting all these materials seems like a daunting task to you, then you can buy Organic vegetable Soil mix with fertilizers, I bought it this time and it has the best drainage quality and the mixture is amazing. You can buy it from Amazon. 

How to Sow the Seeds for Container Vegetable Garden

If you have no idea where to start, then start with the herbs and green leafy veggies like spinach, coriander and microgreens. These are the easiest to grow and they grow faster than any other vegetables. Microgreens become ready for your salad within a week and you can cut two times from most of them. I found these microgreens from allthatgrows. This one is not a sponsored link but they grew very well within 6 days and I loved the crunch it adds to the salad. See in the picture – 

microgreens in a clay pot

There are three methods of sowing seeds 

  1. Sprinkling – this is one of the easiest methods and you just need to sprinkle the seeds on your prepared soil and press them gently with the back of your hand. Sprinkle some more soil on top of them to cover them and water with the palm of your hand or a sprinkler. Coriander, mustard, spinach and other herbs are grown by this method in most cases.
  2. Dibbling – In this method of sowing seeds, you need to create a small hole with either your finger or a dibbling tool and sow one or two seeds in it. Cover it with soil and water. The seeds like carrot, radish and sometimes spinach seeds are grown through this method. 
  3. Transplanting – the seeds are grown individually in the seed starters or the small containers and when they develop four or more leaves, they are transplanted into their individual spaces. Veggies like broccoli, cabbage, eggplants and tomatoes are grown this way. 

Where to buy seeds – I bought ONLY FOR ORGANIC 45 Variety Of Vegetable Seeds, it comes in a box, which has small packets of the particular seeds with their name and picture on them. They also give a small booklet in it with all the guidance you need on how to sow a particular vegetable. You can buy seeds from your local seed store as well. These seeds had about 80 percent of germination rate in those which I have used till now. 

only for organic seed kit for vegetables

buy these here

I have grown radish, carrots, spinach, amaranth, red amaranth, eggplant, and bitter gourd to name a few. They all germinated pretty well and I was quite proud of myself when I harvested my own spinach, chilies, and amaranth for the first time. Well, it’s quite rewarding and you must try it. I am patiently waiting for my bitter gourd and eggplant to grow big. 


How to Take Care of Your Container Vegetable Garden 

tomatoes in a home vegetable garden

  • Make sure the plants get about 6 hours of sunlight, growing them on your terrace and balcony are the best spaces. In India, you need to protect them from the scorching heat of summers too. 
  • Touch the soil with your finger and if the soil sticks to your finger, then it doesn’t need water. If it doesn’t, then water your plants.
  • Don’t let them wilt, the dropped leaves are a sign of less watering if the soil is dry. 


How to Make Organic Fertilizer At Home For Your Vegetable Plants


Knowing the exact issue with your plants is actually rocket science, believe me, I have tried that. So, I have worked on an all-in-one plant fertilizer that solves most of the problems with your plants. 


My All in One Organic Fertilizer Recipe – 

banana peels, egg peels an potato peels to make a fertilizer for vegetable garden

  • Cut the banana peel and add it to your mixer grinder along with some water. I like to add 1 teaspoon Epsom Salt and 1 teaspoon coffee powder along with some potato peels. This cocktail replenishes the major nutrients and acts as a great fertilizer too. You can also add egg peels if you want. Do read about the use of Epsom Salt in Garden.
  • Another good fertilizer is cucumber peel burn, you just need to take cucumber peels and burn them fully to create a black powder. This is power-packed with phosphorus and has potassium too. You can also store potato peels in water and use them. 
  • If you are too lazy to do that then these Lazy Gardener Plant Food Sticks Trial Pack can be used. You just need to stick them in the soil and forget about it. I will still recommend that homemade fertilizer though.   


How to Create your own Insecticide or Fungicide for Vegetable Gardening in Planters


Well, some say that neem oil doesn’t do anything but it really works for mild infections or as a protective treatment. Neem works like magic on the active acne as well. see this article about acne treatment with neem

  • To make your Neem Oil fungicide, mix 1 teaspoon of neem oil in 1-liter water and add it to your spray bottle. Just spray it on the plant leaves and add the remaining water to the roots. 
  • If you don’t want to buy Neem Oil then garlic and onion peel water come to your rescue. Just take a mason jar and add some garlic and onion peels to it. Let it sit for one night. After that, transfer it to a spray bottle and spray on the infected leaves.
  • Again, if you are such a lazy bum that you can’t even do that garlic & onion peel thing then shampoo is your only hope. Just add a dash of shampoo to a water bottle and mix it. Spray it on the infected leaves. 
  • The Cinnamon Trick – Although I haven’t tried it yet, this trick is going viral on Pinterest. So just sprinkle some cinnamon powder on the soil and you won’t be seeing any new bugs or their eggs on your soil. 

& Voila! You just saved your plants organically!

I hope that article can be of some help to the new veggie growers. If you have some tips about growing veggies then do share them in the comment section below. Let’s connect on Facebook too!

Also, Please save this on your Pinterest board. 

Happy Gardening!

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Dr. Pratishtha (P.T) is a Physical therapist (orthopedics) by education. She loves Nature, Skincare, Organized Spaces, Researching, and Holistic Healthcare. Whenever She is not working, she is Definitely watching Netflix and procrastinating on reading a book! Find her on Linkedin.

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