Growing Tomatoes in Containers
Well, if you get some of these little tomato plants that are available at the local nursery or pepper plants, plant them now and you will be eating fresh Thanksgiving tomatoes. It's time to start fall vegetable gardening.
A lot of people say, "Hey fool, I don't have a vegetable garden because I live in an apartment, or condo, or something like that, decide I'm a little bit on the lazy side, and I don't want to do all that work". Well for those types of people what you need to do is get you a container and grow them in containers.
I have two types of containers that can be used. Here is a great big old 20 gallon one and here is a little lighter 5 gallon one. Which size of container you decide to use depends on two different things. First of all how strong your spouse is; now I didn't say your wife I said spouse didn't I. How strong your spouse is to tote them in on that first cold night and also how much potting mix you can afford to use because you fill these things with potting mix, not soil or anything else. You use straight potting mix, such as you get at the local nursery, such as we have right here. And then simply, you mix in with the potting mix something like this Osmocote slow release fertilize, and mix it according to instructions. You won't grow twice as many vegetables if you mix twice as much in, you'll have a plant that will die twice as fast. So you follow instructions and that will keep your plant growing through the year or until it's really producing.
Next thing is you get a water soluble fertilize, like Peters for instance, or Miracle Grow, or Rapid Grow, put a tablespoon in a gallon of water and every time you water this container you use this water soluble fertilizer. Now that's all basically you have to do. You have to keep it in the full sun; we're talking about six to eight hours of sun a day, and be sure to keep it structured. In other words, I have a tomato cage around this five-gallon, so when you do plant a tomato or pepper in it and it does get cold you can take it on in.
So try container gardening, you can be just as productive in containers as you are in vegetables, or in the garden, and believe me, the vegetables that come out of the container will be just as good for you for Thanksgiving as the ones you grew in a great big vegetable garden.
This is Jerry Parsons, Vegetable Specialist for the Texas Agricultural Extension Service, the Weekend Gardener.
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