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Aside from the beautiful flowers and good-smelling herbs people often associate with garden planters, vegetables also do great in these contained and compact environments. Depending on the planter size, most anything can be grown within, especially is care is taken to choose more dwarf or bush varieties, which take up even less space.
Some of the best vegetables for garden planters include the following:
Tomatoes: Small Fry, Saladette, Toy Boy, Spring Giant, Pixie, and Tiny Tim
Radishes: Scarlet Globe, White Icicle and Cherry Belle
Cucumbers: Spacemaster, Salad Bush Hybrid and Bush Pickle
Green Beans: Kentuckt Wonder, French Dwarf and Blue Lake
Green Onions: Beltsville Bunching, Evergreen Bunching and Crystal Wax
Eggplant: Bambino and Slim Jim
Leaf Lettuce: Bibb, Salad Bowl and Buttercrunch
Peppers: Banana, Red Cherry, Jalapeno, Chipotle, Habanero, Cubanelle and Frigitello
Squash: Gold Rush and Ronde de Nice
When deciding what to plant where, take into consideration the space needs of the plants and their roots, along with what amount of sunlight different plants require. For example, tomatoes, cucumbers and green onions have about equal watering requirements and sunlight exposure. Also, some plants, like tomatoes, will continue growing after other vegetables have ceased to yield their harvest for the season.
Choosing which garden planters to use is a matter of personal taste. A lot of people opt for the classic wooden planters because they are natural looking and attractive, hold up well outdoors, and are relatively easy to build by hand. Some other materials found in garden planters include metal, fiberglass and stone, each of which has its various advantages and disadvantages. When considering planters, If you have limited space or reside in an urban setting, you may choose to opt for the latter type.
Regardless of which material or model you choose, there are some basic things to take into consideration. All garden planters should come equipped with a rudimentary drainage system, often something as simple as having holes on the bottom from where water seepage can exit. Excess water, especially in the case of strong rains, can easily kill a plant, especially those varieties prone to drier environments. If your planter does not have drainage, it is usually pretty easy to drill a few holes into the bottom of your vegetable garden planter. Another concern for planters is color. Not simply an aesthetic consideration, darker colored containers are apt to absorb more sunlight than light containers, the result of which is more heat. Too high of a temperature can damage a plant's roots. If you already have decided on a dark container, consider keeping it in the shade and planting vegetables there that also do not require direct sunlight.
Aside from the garden planters themselves, soil and water are the other key elements that must be applied correctly. Using regular soil will work, especially when paired with a fertilizer of some sort, but pre-mixed synthetic soils, like peat-based mixtures, are easier and tend to work better. Space permitted, starting your own compost pile can also add valuable nutrients to the soil. Finally, watering is obviously of the utmost importance, but too much watering can have the opposite effect. Vegetables in garden planters require more frequent watering than ground planted vegetables, especially once the plants have begun to mature and the roots expand. Checking the soil's moisture by touch on a regular basis is the best way to keep track of how much watering is needed. Also remember to adjust your watering schedule in light of temperature and weather changes.