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Gardening on your balcony, patio or unused driveway is a great alternative when you cannot raise produce in the ground.
When placing your container garden, look for a full-sun location. Produce needs full sunlight to collect enough energy for a good crop.
“Pots can also be placed on dollies or wheels to follow the sun if necessary,” said Nancy Pollard, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “An old child’s wagon will grow lettuce nicely and can be moved to where the sun shines. Taller plants may be too top heavy to move easily. Don’t have eight hours of full sun? Try some leafy vegetables in light shade.”
If a container holds soil and has drainage holes in the bottom, it can be used for the garden. Big containers are best. They must be able to stay upright with fully grown vegetables in them, unless it is of the hanging variety. Large containers also make it easier to keep the soil moisture from fluctuating.
In the container, use a potting mix, not heavy garden soil. Many have slow-release nutrients or fertilizers already added. The size of the plant determines how much soil it will need. A gallon container will grow about five leafy lettuce plants, but only one plant of Swiss chard collards or kale.