Not everyone has access to a plot of land that they can use to for vegetable gardening, but that shouldn’t stop you. We started growing tomatoes, peppers, salads and herbs on our rooftop in NYC—and now look at us! You can still garden by using planters, pots and other containers.
When growing from seeds in a container it is recommended to start growing several weeks before the last day of frost is expected. This will allow the seeds to germinate and sprout before they are placed outside. Some seeds can be grown in special seed pots under grow lights and then replanted as seedlings once the weather is warm enough for them to survive. If this is more work than you want to do simply purchase seedlings in the spring and plant them directly outside in your containers. The benefits of growing from seeds are the large number of choices available to grow, including the many heirloom varieties. When purchasing seedlings you are limited to those varieties that are available at the local nursery store.
Follow the instructions included with the seed packet or seedling when it was purchased. It is a good idea to use soil that has a timed fertilizer in it already. Water the soil thoroughly after planting and verify the water drains effectively. Plants will not grow well in sitting water. You can also use small seed plug planters–trays of tiny pots that you can then sit into trays of water. The plants will wick up the moisture that is needed–just like in nature. Plants growing in a container will need regular watering, perhaps as often as every day if the weather is hot or dry. The soil in a container will dry out more quickly that ground soil. Check the soil daily by pressing a pencil into the pot to a depth of three inches. If the pencil does not have any soil attached when it is removed the plant should be watered. It’s just like baking a cake!
If you use planters that are small or get wheeled carts for larger pots, you’ll be able to move them inside when the weather starts to get colder toward the end of the season. This will extend the growing season of the plants.