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1. A container. It’s been said that when choosing a container, you are limited only by your imagination and a drainage hole. Proper drainage is essential, as edibles do not like wet roots.
Here, chives, oregano and other herbs grow in a custom steel planter with two layers of planting area and plenty of drainage into a gravel courtyard.
Window boxes are a lovely and effective means of growing small edible crops like herbs and greens, especially in urban settings with little or no yard. Pictured here are pansies, which have edible flowers.
Size matters when it comes to containers for edibles. Most vegetables have rather large root systems that require pots to be deep and wide. Plus, larger containers won’t dry out as quickly, making it easier on you and less stressful for your plants. Find pots at least 12 inches wide and deep; 16- to 20-inch pots are even better.
2. Plants or seeds. Generally, it’s easiest for beginner gardeners to buy plants rather than start from seed. The exception is root vegetables, which do not like to be transplanted. So if carrots and beets are your favorites, sow these directly in your pot following the seed packet directions.
With the popularity of container gardening increasing, many growers and seed companies are offering varieties of vegetables specifically for growing in containers. These varieties are practical for smaller pots, but you might be able to use regular-size varieties if you have a container that's large enough. For example, a single standard-size tomato plant would be happy in a container at least 20 inches deep and wide.
5. Water. One of the most critical duties in container gardening is watering. The key here is moist yet well-drained soil. Drip irrigation is the best method for achieving this. If you're watering by hand, you will need to water once every couple of days when the weather is moderate, and at least once daily when temperatures are at their peak.
If you water only once per day, choose the morning so that there is less chance for fungus to develop. For the same reason, it’s also best to water the base of the plant rather than the leaves.