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Choose the Right Pot When Growing Vegetables in Containers

Choose the Right Pot When Growing Vegetables in Containers

You can grow plants in just about anything that will hold soil — polystyrene boxes, hessian bags, wooden barrels, old wheelbarrows, and so on. But when growing vegetables in containers you should not allow the roots to become soggy. Remember to drill holes in the bottom to allow for proper drainage.

Choose the right pot

Many gardeners first choose a pot for its aesthetic appeal; the earthy look of terracotta adds style to any garden, but plastic is definitely cheaper and has a number of advantages.

Let’s look at the advantages of three different types of garden containers:

• Terracotta

• Plastic

• Wood


Size is an important factor when considering terracotta or clay pots. Large pots filled with soil are extremely heavy, so it’s a good idea not to have to move them once planted. Smaller pots can be arranged in different heights on shelves or pedestals to give variety, perhaps to a bare space against a wall in a sunny position.

When using terracotta, be sure to soak the pots in water for a few hours before planting. Clay is porous and if filled while dry the pot will absorb precious water needed by your plants. For this reason, terracotta pots should be watered more frequently than most other types of containers.

PlasticPlastic containers may not look as pretty, but they have considerable advantages over the more fashionable clay varieties. Plastic is light but will not break easily, which means you can move your pots around the garden without too much effort. They come in all shapes and sizes, are cheap and store away neatly when not in use. Most gardeners and nursery growers use plastic containers when re-potting their plants.

Plastic is a non-porous medium, so it’s important to make sure the container has good drainage. Cover the bottom of the pot with a few centimetres of broken pottery or loose stones to keep the holes from clogging up with soil.

WoodLarge wooden tubs make excellent containers. Buy round barrels or build your own square boxes to fit into any available space. If making your own, be sure to paint the inside of your box with wood preserver suitable for growing food.

The simple box garden is great for growing different varieties of vegetables together. Try a mixture of zucchini (courgettes), cucumber, carrots and potatoes. Add marigolds to your vegetable mix for color and to keep away pests.