Small Garden Design
A guide to small garden design explaining how to plant a vegetable garden using containers, including how deep the containers must be and how far apart to plant the plants.
The first step in planting your garden is to decide what you want in it. Then you must make sure you have enough space. Vegetables will naturally want full sun, so your space must have either constant sun or you will have to move things around each day, which will require your plants to be planted in a container. Container gardening is great for just that reason: its mobility. You can change the look of your garden instantly as well. And if you discover that a plant is not thriving because of its location, it's easy to move. You can also grow plants in your containers that would otherwise not thrive in your soil because of a high alkaline or acidic content.
Tall plants, such as tomatoes, will require very large containers. Tomatoes tend to grow rapidly and get wider as opposed to taller when the container in which they are grown is too small. A two-feet high container should work quite well.
Peppers also need a deeper container, but a 12" deep one should do just fine. If you choose to put them in a longer planter box, place only two plants in the box, a foot or more apart. The plant will get quite bushy as it grows.
Carrots, onions, and radishes, since they are root vegetables and are going to grow down, need a two-feet deep container as well. These three vegetables can be grown next to each other nicely.
If you are having trouble finding containers that are deep enough, simply buy the two deepest you can find, cut the bottom out of one of them and tape the two together. If you want to hide the tape, put a wide ribbon around the seam and tie a a large bow in it.
Plants grown in containers tend to dry out very quickly and need watering everyday. Try to water at night after the sun has gone down; it will prevent water burn. If you water in the morning and droplets remain on the leaves, the sun will fry the plant rather unattractively. During periods of extreme heat, the plant will need to be watered in the morning as well. As long as the sun has not yet started to hit them, go ahead and water the plants. As the sun warms the air, any remaining droplets will evaporate.
Make sure when planting that adequate drainage is put on the bottom inside the container. Mix your soil mixture with 1/2 part of peat moss; this allows for air to circulate down in the soil, and it will also hold in moisture.
Check for parasites, beetles, and aphids every day and spritz with a garlic water mixture if need be to keep garden pests at bay. Cayenne pepper water poured into the soil will not only not harm the plant, but will keep earwigs and slugs away for the balance of the summer.