Easy to Grow Vegetables in Containers

Ecofriendly Porch to Table Ideas
If you can’t wait for summer to arrive, start thinking of fresh vegetables right out your back door! That should lighten your mood. And here’s even better news: You don’t need a big yard or garden to do it. Growing vegetables in containers is a viable option. You’ve heard of Farm to Table. Today we are talking patio or porch to the table!

Next, if you are wondering what vegetables will grow well in smaller spaces we can help. At Fresh Roots, our gardening services include designing and growing sustainable, eco-friendly gardens and landscapes. That includes growing vegetables in containers when you’ve got limited outdoor space. With that in mind, let’s get started!

When To Plant in The Upper Midwest
With normal weather patterns in the upper Midwest, it is generally best to hold off planting until after Memorial Day. Most vegetable plants don’t like cold weather or even worse frost!

If you are planting seeds, get them started now inside of your home. You can take the seedlings outside once it warms up. There is nothing wrong with transplanting a smaller plant to a larger pot. That’s something you will need to wait to do. Let it warm up first.

Let’s Grow Lettuce in a Container
Nothing says summer in the garden like fresh lettuce! This is a cool-weather crop and can be planted a little earlier than other vegetables. You will need a 2-gallon pot or bigger. If you want to grow several lettuce plants together, consider a wide planter.

Next up, place your container in a place that gets full sun to partial shade. When summer temps soar, move the container into the shade. Use loamy soil that drains well. If you are growing leaf lettuce space the plants about 4 inches apart. If you are growing romaine or heads of lettuce, double the spacing.

Let’s Grow Beans in a Container
It’s difficult to mess up growing beans. You won’t need a trestle if you grow the bush variety. But you will need a container that is at least a foot deep and 15 inches wide. Pole beans are a little more work and produce a later harvest, but it’s worth the wait. You will need a container that’s a bit bigger and a trellis for the growing vine.

A super sunny spot is your best bet for beans. Plant them in a loamy, soil that drains well. Place your bean plants about 3 inches apart.

Let’s Grow Radishes in a Container
Don’t you love the peppery, bright taste of a fresh radish? This is another plant that grows well in a container. Even better, radishes grow fast. Find a container that is wide and at least 6 to 10 inches deep.

Place your pot of radishes in a spot that gets full sun to partial shade. Radishes grow best in light, well-drained soil.

Let’s Grow Carrots in a Container
Carrots do well in containers. Like lettuce, carrots are a cool-weather crop and can be planted a little earlier than other vegetables. Remember, it’s the root that we are interested in here. That said, make sure your pot is big and at least a foot deep. With a 5-gallon container, you’ll have room for about two dozen carrots.

Carrots like a lot of sun. The soil should be loamy, light, and drain well. You can even add some sand to loosen it up. Plant your carrots about 2 to 3 inches apart. It’s fun growing carrots, especially with different varieties. The orange carrots are a little sweeter. The purple and white carrots taste a little earthier.

Let’s Grow Tomatoes in a Container
Tomatoes are a very popular choice for containers, but they are a little more challenging to grow. First, use a container that is at least a foot wide, 2 feet is even better.

Place your container of tomatoes in a sunny spot. Once established they will thrive in full sun. Just watch the younger plants. They won’t do well with excessive sun or wind. Tomatoes like water, but not too much. Check every day to make sure the soil is moist. Just make sure the soil isn’t soggy or your tomatoes will suffer root rot.

The big payoff comes when you pick your bright red beauties and put them in a fresh, summer salad!

Contact Fresh Roots for Eco-Friendly Answers
At Fresh Roots, our passion is designing planting and maintaining eco-friendly landscapes. Contact us for a free consultation, whether you are starting from scratch, adding to your yard, or making a container garden. Fresh Roots is a sustainable gardening service located in Waukesha and serving Greater Milwaukee. From garden design and planting to maintenance and clean-up, we’re here to turn your world a beautiful green!


6 Steps to Prep Your Garden for Spring

The calendar may say late winter, but spring is around the corner and that means it’s time to gear up for gardening season. Planning and prepping your garden for spring now, will help everything go smoothly when the sun warms our yards, and the growing begins! 

At Fresh Roots, we specialize in landscape design, organic gardening, edible gardens, and sustainability. You can hire us to do the work for you or learn from us and do it yourself. Either way, it’s always great to have your fingers in the soil with your green thumbs up. 

Tip #1: Clean Your Gardening Tools 

Who thinks of cleaning their gardening tools in the winter? We do! Before you head out to your gardens in the spring, thoroughly clean and sterilize your tools, from pruning shears to shovels. Dirt, debris, and plant sap on your gardening tools are a haven for bacteria and mold spores. Both are detrimental to a healthy, and sustainable garden. 

To disinfect your tools, soak them in a solution of water and 10% bleach. After a half hour, you should be good to go. You can create a diluted solution using vinegar or an organic cleaning product, as well. 

Tip #2: Get Rid Of Yard Weeds And Debris 

Once you think the snow is done for the season and it is all but melted, get outside and start your outdoor spring cleanup. Remove weeds, and debris until you hit the soil. You can haul away the debris or make the most of it and add it to your compost pile. If you have wood mulch in your garden move it aside for planting and add new material as needed. Leaf mulch added in fall can be tilled into the soil or removed and composted. 

Tip #3: Trim & Prune In Early Spring 

Late winter and early spring are good times to get rid of wood on a tree or shrub that will hinder its growth during warmer months. That includes dead, dying, diseased, or damaged wood. Cut the twigs and branches back to where the wood looks healthy.

If you’ve got a spring-blooming shrub, leave it alone for now. Summer-bloomers like butterfly bush, Annabelle, spirea and potentilla can be trimmed during dormant months. 

The best time to prune fruit trees is while they are dormant. You will want to leave sturdy branches to support the fruit, while creating space for light and air in the canopy. 

Late winter and early spring are good times to cut back ornamental grasses. Trimming them down will allow the grasses to flourish during warmer growing months. 

Tip #4: Plan Your Garden & List Your Preferences 

When it’s cold outside, why not warm your thoughts with a vision of your summer-time garden? We believe a beautiful and sustainable garden has several elements that complement one another, just as they would in a natural ecosystem. So, let’s think out of the box.

Do you want a food forest with perennials like raspberry bushes and mushroom beds? Why not consider including edible plants mixed in with the rest of your garden? For example, try mixing leafy greens or herbs in with your flowers. Or maybe you would like to build a raised bed for your vegetables. Now is the time to start making your plans. 

Tip #5: Start Thinking About Soil Testing 

Like most things in life, a strong foundation is necessary for health and beauty. In the gardening world, we think of this as soil. You’ll want to ready your soil with the appropriate nutrients. The only way to really know what mother nature has given you, is to test it. You can send a soil sample to your local agriculture extension to test for nutrients and pH, or you can contact us at Fresh Roots, and we can take care of testing your soil. 

Tip #6: Soil Amending 

One of the best things for your garden is soil amending. Once all the debris is cleaned up and you have your garden planed out it’s time for some compost. Good organic compost is the number one amendment for the garden and it is best to add a 2 inch layer to your planting area in spring and fall. This feeds the soil and creates a healthy environment for your plants to thrive. If you do test your soil, now is the time to add any

recommended amendments to your soil. This can be done in an organic manner so be sure to dig into how each amendment can be added. 

Consider Fresh Roots Your Premier Garden Resource It’s exciting to see a garden grow, especially when you include beautiful flowers, herbs, fresh fruits and vegetables. At Fresh Roots, our passion is to help individuals and communities design landscaping that looks gorgeous and puts home grown food at your family’s fingertips. Located in Waukesha, Fresh Roots provides the Greater Milwaukee area with extraordinary gardening services. Whether you are adding to your garden, or starting from scratch, we consult, design edible landscapes, plant, and maintain gardens that fit your space and budget. So don’t be a stranger. Together, let’s make things grow!