Container Gardening (The Final Chapter)

MIKE SKIPPER
EXTENSION DIRECTOR

By now everything is off to the races and our thoughts turn to the
maintenance of our containers throughout the growing season. Well,
the truth be known and this chapter actually started long ago with
site selection. Choose the right plants suitable for container
culture, selection of plants with little known pest resistance and
proper and timely maintenance.

Container plantings run into the same insect and disease problems as
garden grown plants, but container gardeners tend to have fewer
problems. The biggest causes of plant problems are simply lack of
water, lack of nutrients and overcrowding! Make sure to inspect your
plantings daily and monitor for foliage feeding and fruit feeding
insects as well as the occurrence of diseases.

As we close this chapter of container gardening here’s food for thought:
•Consider mulching your containers to stabilize soil temperatures and
conserve moisture.
• Rotate your plantings within the containers.
•If aphids, mites or white flies are giving you a problem, spray with
an insecticidal soap.
•On your tomatoes, if that old hornworm is giving you fits then
simply hand pick them off your plants and destroy.
•Need to clean a container? Simply scrub each container and
disinfect it with a 10% chlorine bleach solution.
•Make sure when setting transplants into the container to plant
deeply, burying the stem to the first set of leaves.
•Use a starter solution on your newly planted transplants to
stimulate new growth and help plants get off to a fast start.
•Protect newly set plants from harsh conditions such as sun, cold and
wind.
•Harvest your crops at the proper stage of maturity.
•Harvest when foliage is dry. This aids in disease prevention.
•Use the fruits of your labor as quickly as possible.

Need additional information on growing vegetables in general? Then
call or drop by the Extension Office and request the Garden Tabloid
or go to www.msucares.com.