Container Gardening Can Cut Grocery Bills

container-garden-blogContainer gardens are a super-simple way to cut your grocery bills. This garden features cherry tomatoes, chives, strawberries and jalapeño peppers.

If you have three empty gardening containers you can start a vegetable garden on your back patio, balcony or deck. Not only will you save money at the grocery store, you’ll be having fun while growing your own nutritious and delicious produce.

Even if you’ve never planted anything before or if you’ve tried in the past without success, you can plant and grow a three-container garden with greens, tomatoes and peppers.

For your patio garden you’ll need the following materials:

3 containers for planting with holes in the bottom for drainage. Use plastic or ceramic flower pots, wooden barrels, or food-grade plastic buckets. For best results, use 2-5 gallon containers that have an opening about 12” wide.
3 drainage saucers for the containers to sit on.
Potting mix to fill the containers.
Fertilizer, either dry or liquid.
1 packet of baby greens seeds, like mesclun (a blend of lettuces, radicchio, endive and mustards).
1 pepper plant, such as Anaheim or jalapeño.
1 or 2 cherry tomato plants (depending on the size of the container.)
1 tomato cage or other support to keep the tomato vines off the ground.

1. Fill the containers with potting soil. Because the roots of the baby greens won’t grow very long, the bottom 1/3 of the greens container can be filled with rocks, broken pottery, packing peanuts or other material to take up space.

2. Sprinkle greens seeds over the surface of the soil in one container; lightly cover with potting mix; gently water.

3. Plant tomato(es) and pepper plants in the other two containers; water. Place the spikes of the tomato cage in the tomato container.

4. Place containers in a sunny spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun each day. The greens container will still do well with a little shade.

5. Monitor the plants for water needs and keep moist. Don’t let the soil dry out.

6. Add the dry or diluted liquid fertilizer to the tomato and pepper containers once or twice each month.

The greens should be ready in just a few weeks and you can starting harvesting them using scissors when about 1″ tall.

Depending on the variety of tomatoes you planted, some should be ripe and ready to pick in about 55-65 days; the peppers will take a bit longer.

Use your produce as it ripens and share the bounty with your friends and neighbors. Tomatoes and peppers can also be frozen to use in recipes throughout the winter.

What are some of your favorite fresh veggie recipes?


 

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Comments

I am container gardening this year for first time ever..started 11 days ago. Ironically, I planted tomatoes, peppers and baby greens. (I also planted a little basil and we bought a mint plant at a farm in New Jersey last week). Glad to know I am on the right track.

Any advice on homemade organic fertilizer?

I like your container garden choices, Nancy! They should all do well and it won’t be long before you’re harvesting baby greens for a wonderfully fresh salad.

As for homemade organic fertilizer– here are a couple of recommendations: if you’re using manure in the vegetable bed, make sure it is well aged; you can also make your own compost or manure tea which is a terrific plant booster.

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