Gardening in Containers

Family Home Evening Resource Book, (1997), 307


Many people who live in apartment buildings or houses with little or no yard space may think they cannot follow the prophet’s counsel to plant a garden. But you can grow quite a bit of food in pots and hanging planters inside your home or on a balcony. This activity will help you get started gardening in containers. Even if your family has plenty of outdoor garden space, you might want to try growing some of your vegetables indoors.

Activity

You can plant in almost any kind of container. Try using plastic jugs, garbage cans, milk cartons, cans, plastic bags, baskets, a wagon bed, kitchen canisters, or clay pots. The bottom of the container should have several small drain holes and be lined with 2 to 3 inches of small gravel before you put in the topsoil. Hang containers from windows, put them on windowsills or in window wells; line your sidewalk or driveway with them, or hang them from your ceiling.

The following chart shows you how much dirt you will need in a container to grow some common vegetables. This will give you an idea of what size container you need to use. It also tells you when to plant and harvest the vegetables and how big they will get. These are not the only vegetables that grow well in containers. You can try almost any kind that is common to your area.

Gardening in Containers

COMMON GARDEN CROPS

Crop

Container Needs

Growing Season

Planting Time

Harvest Days

Mature Size of Plant

Beets

10–12 inches (25–30 centimeters) of soil

Early spring, fall

2–4 weeks before last frost

50–60

10–12 inches (25–30 centimeters)

Bush Beans

8–10 inches (20–25 centimeters) of soil

Warm weather

Early spring

Snap 50–55 Lima 65

12–14 inches (30–60 centimeters)

Carrots

10–12 inches (25–30 centimeters)

Early spring, fall

2–4 weeks before last frost

60–75

10–12 inches (25–30 centimeters)

Cucumbers

1 gallon (4 liters) per plant

Warm weather

3–4 weeks before last frost

55–75

Shape vines by cutting back

Eggplant

3 gallons (11 liters) 12–14 inches (30–35 centimeters) diameter of soil

Warm weather

Plant indoors, transplant after 8 weeks

120–140

2–3 feet (.5–1 meter)

Green pepper

1 gallon (3.8 liters) per plant

Warm weather

Plant indoors, transplant after 7–8 weeks

110–120

2–3 feet (.5–1 meter)

Lettuce

1 gallon (3.8 liters) per plant

Cool weather, can stand slight frost

4–6 weeks before last frost

40–50

6–10 inches (15–25 centimeters)

Green onions

8–10 inches (20–25 centimeters) of soil

Cool weather, can stand slight frost

4–6 weeks before last frost

35–45

10–12 inches (25–30 centimeters)

Radishes

6 inches (15 centimeters) of soil

Cool weather, can stand slight frost

2–4 weeks before last frost

20–40

6–8 inches (15–20 centimeters)

Spinach

8–10 inches (20–25 centimeters) per plant

Cool weather, spring, fall

2–4 weeks before last frost

50–70

Plants spread out, do not grow tall

Squash

5 gallons (19 liters) for a 3–4 plant hill

Warm weather, will produce through fall

3–4 weeks before last frost

Summer 50–60 Winter 85–110

Bush 2–3 feet (.5m–1 meter) Vine-pinch off to control runners

Tomatoes

Dwarf: 1 gallon (3.8 liters) Standard: 2–3 gallons (7.5–11 liters) Mini: 8–10 inches (20–25 centimeters)

Warm weather

Plant indoors, transplant after 3–4 weeks. Easily harmed by frost.

50–90

Dwarf: 2–3 feet (.5–1 meter) Standard: 3–5 feet (1–1.5 meters) Standard vines need support frame

Additional Activities

Make an indoor herb garden on a window sill.