Container Gardens Made Easy

Try planting a container garden with these helpful tips from Mary Ann Amodio, owner of Amodio’s Nursery in White Plains. 


What type of container should you start with?

“Choose any container you like as long as it has a drainage hole, can hold enough soil, and is large enough to support your plants as they grow,” says Amodio. “Clay pots are heavy and porous and need frequent watering and must be brought inside for the winter, or they will crack. Wood must be coated with a nontoxic preservative and lined with plastic, so they will not rot over the years. Plastic is lightweight and lasting.”

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How do you plant your vegetables in a container?

“Put your pots in place before planting, as they are heavy when filled,” says Amodio. “Fill the container to three-quarters. If your container is very large, add soil in layers and water each layer before adding the next. As your vegetables grow, harvest regularly for better production. You can compost all healthy plant material at the end of the season.”


What vegetable plants work best in containers?

“The best vegetables to plant in a container are tomatoes (all varieties), peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, and any herbs,” says Amodio. “Transplant seedlings into posts about mid-May, which is our last frost date. Heirloom and Big Boy tomatoes and zucchini do best after the frost date in May. Lettuce, kale, cabbage, and garlic are cold-weather crops and can be planted in late April, with a second crop in the fall.”


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How should you care for your container garden?

“After planting, water thoroughly and check daily,” says Amodio. “If the top inch is dry, add water. Water so it drains out from the pot, and water slowly so it doesn’t run off. You can use a time-release fertilizer, like Osmocote, a water-soluble fertilizer, like Miracle Gro, or a liquid organic fertilizer, like Fish Emulsion.”

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