If you do not have a suitable place for a vegetable garden, perhaps you can grow some of your favorites in tubs, clay pots, wooden boxes or bushed baskets. You are not likely to harvest more than you know what to do with, but what you get will be fresh and tasty. Having grown them yourself will make them all the more enjoyable.
More vegetables require full sun. Root vegetables such as radishes, beets and turnips can stand more shade than tomatoes, beans, peppers and cucumbers. Leafy vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, mustard greens and spinach can stand more shade than root vegetables. But they all do best with full sun.
The size and number of the containers can vary with the space you have and the number and kinds of plants you want to grow. Six-inch pots are satisfactory for chives. Radishes, onions and small tomatoes, such as Tiny Time, will do well in 10-inch pots. Other tomatoes, green beans and eggplant will need five-gallon or larger containers. With so many kinds of containers available, it should be easy to find one or more that will fit your particular situation.
The containers should have drainage holes - adequate drainage is essential. When the plants are watered, all of the soil in the container should be moistened. If there are no drainage holes, you won't know how much to apply, and if it is too much, water accumulates at the bottom and roots die because of root rot.
For best results, the soil in the containers should be mixed with organic materials such as compost, manure or peat.
In most situations, the following mixture makes a good container soil: 1 part good garden soil, 1 part organic matter and 1 part coarse sand or other inorganic material (for improved drainage).
Soil in containers will dry out faster than the soil in adjacent garden areas. The soil surface and the side of the containers are all areas of exposure and quick drying. Small containers may need to be watered two or three times a day. Large containers should be checked at least once a day although the larger soil mass will not dry out as quickly as the soil in small ones.
Do not depend on a rain, even a heavy one, to provide enough water. The foliage of the plants will often cause the rain to run off without saturating the soil.
Remember, sun patterns change throughout the growing season. Containers that need constant watering in the spring and early summer may not be exposed to as much sun in late summer and early fall.
On the other hand, as plants grow, the soil will dry out faster, increasing the need for watering more often.
A constant supply of nutrient elements is needed in the confined soil areas of the containers. It may be best to use a fertllizer that is soluble in water. Used according to directions on the label, these materials will insure rapid growth and good yield by plants in containers.