Container Vegetable Garden | Part One

Gardening has always intrigued me. Being outside and working with my hands is something I enjoy, but I was scared out of my mind to take the plunge into gardening. It must have been the perfectionist inside, holding me back from trying something new. Trying my hardest to put that aside, I decided to commit to having a vegetable garden this year.

Why Container Gardening?
Initially I planned on reserving a community garden plot in our small town and do all of our gardening there. I was excited about the possibility of gardening alongside others who had much more experience than me and do it in a community environment. Unfortunately, this endeavor had to be changed as Jacob and I are in a season of major transition. With a potential move coming up and lots of different pieces of life up in the air, it did not make sense for us to claim one of these spaces.

As I read more about gardening and brainstormed our small apartment space, the idea of container vegetable gardens kept popping up. With their rising popularity, space saving options, and ability to be moved, it was an attractive option that we decided to move forward with.

Starting as Seeds
Most of the books I read encouraged novice gardeners to start their gardens with baby vegetable plants as opposed to seeds. The success rate is much higher and minimizes the risky step of transplanting from indoors to outdoors. Being that I wanted to experience the whole process from beginning to end, however, I decided to take the risk.

I began my spinach, arugula, and pepper seeds indoors at the end of March. I perched them near my east facing window that receives the most direct light and opened the window on nice days. They began to sprout within a week or so and grew significantly over the course of April.

Preparing Outdoor Containers
We had a very nice spring. Our last frost date was early on and the average temperature climbed steadily. The first weekend of May was gorgeous and I decided to transplant the seedlings outside to acclimate to the weather. It was as if I was bringing my child to kindergarten for the first time!

I bought several different sized tubs and containers. The peppers, green beans, and peas were planted in the biggest tubs to give them space and room to grow. The blue tubs were actually all-purpose buckets that were cheaper than large planter pots. I drilled holes in the bottom to release excess water and provide ventilation. The leafy greens were left in smaller pots and I planted some flowers for an extra measure of garden love.

The Progress
So far, so good. We have had lots of rainy days since bringing them outside, but this seems to be doing them well. A few of the peppers did not weather the storm, but most of them survived. The arugula and spinach are thriving and it won't be long until I can include their leaves in my lunch salads.

Throughout the summer I will periodically blog updates and changes that have been either successful or unsuccessful. You can also follow along with the hashtag #gillelandgarden for frequent posts.

What tips do you have for a novice gardener?
What vegetables are you planting this spring?

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