Growing Vegetables in Containers

Pot up a container vegetable garden, and enjoy the harvest all season long!


| May/June 1976



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Don't let a lack of land keep you from growing vegetables -- do it in a basket!


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

Last spring, my wife and, I were faced with a problem that I suppose most folks run into sooner or later: We wanted a garden—in fact, we desperately needed a garden - but we didn't have any place to put one.

At the time, I had just left the Army and was out of work, so the idea of spending my hard-to-come-by cash on overpriced supermarket produce wasn't all that attractive. Unfortunately, our landlord didn't like the notion of us digging a vegetable patch in the backyard any better . . . and even if he had, we would've hesitated.

You see, we hoped to move to a small farm sometime before the end of the growing season, and we didn't want to have to leave a still thriving garden behind. Besides, we'd already learned from experience that "we'd have to get up early in the morning" to protect a vegetable patch from our two mixed terriers. The "devilish duo" would get under or over any kind of fence we put in their way, and proceed to mangle whatever plants they could find.

So. We used a little ingenuity and came up with a different kind of garden that was portable and pet-proof and productive all at once. In short, we grew piles of tall-topped carrots, juicy tomatoes, and a bevy of other fresh fruits and vegetables . . . in baskets!

Now, I know that some dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists will turn their noses up at any garden not rooted deep in Mother Earth herself. But if your problems are similar to what ours were, or if you live in a small city apartment, or if you can't do all the stooping and bending that ground-level planting and weeding requires . . . well, then a basket garden can be a pretty good way to go!

Choose Your Containers

To start one, all you'll need is several containers large enough to hold a sufficient amount of soil to support living vegetation. In our case, we couldn't spend a fortune on oversized ceramic pots, and we didn't have any good "recyclables" (such as paint buckets or gallon-size plastic milk jugs). So we scouted a local discount store, where we discovered that ordinary clothes baskets were just fine for our purposes (and inexpensive to boot). The bushel size cost only 57¢ apiece, and the half-bushel just 37¢ . . . so we brought home three large and seventeen small baskets for a total price of just $8.00!





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