Growing vegetables in containers (Google / Chicago Tribune)

Read at : Google Alert – container gardening

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-05-23/classified/sc-home-0523-pot-bible-veggie-20110523_1_containers-plant-tomatoes

Thinking small can pay big veggie dividends

By William Hageman, Tribune Newspapers

For most gardeners, the dream is to be out there with a big patch of land, growing all manner of vegetables.

The realities of urban living make that difficult for some of us. In his new book, “The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible” (Storey, $19.95), Edward Smith reminds us of the virtues of going small, and explains how to make it work.

There’s a lot to be said for container gardening: You can focus better, there’s less work and, let’s face it, when you have that expansive garden, well, you can eat only so much eggplant.

Smith, the best-selling author of the classic “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible,” took time away from his 1,500-square-foot organic garden in Vermont to talk about growing in containers.

Q: If you had room for only three containers, you say in the book that you’d go for tomatoes, summer squash and beans. But that doesn’t have to be it.

A: With containers, it’s important to have all the growing space growing something all the time.

(From spring to Memorial Day) I plant spinach and lettuce and other crops that do well in cool weather. They’ll be harvested and eaten by the time the other crop needs the whole container. Peas: I’m going to plant them (in spring) and they’ll be harvested and the vines pulled out by mid-July, then I can plant a crop of kale in those containers. And I’ll be eating kale in the late fall from the same space.

Q: People who go with container gardens not only don’t have space, but often also don’t have ideal sun conditions.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.