About Gardening: Vegetable Gardening Books

by Mira Dessy

Dear Mira,
I am living in a small apartment and I want to start growing my own vegetables. I live in Clarkston, WA and we have hot, sunny summers, so I get plenty of sunshine where I live.

I know that I can do "container gardening", but I have NO IDEA what size containers I should use for the different vegetables, or how to take care of them best. I have looked in the local library and they have tons of books on flowers, but NONE on vegetable gardening! Is there a source that you can recommend for me, or some advice? I know I should start soon.

I would like to grow tomatoes, broccoli, cucumbers, melons, herbs and maybe lettuce. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Laura M

Dear Laura,
The best two books that I can recommend for you are Taylor's Guide to Container Gardening, and Contained Gardens by Susan Berry and Steve Bradley. These will both provide a lot of information about container gardening in general and will also have information that you need to grow different types of things in the containers. If you only want to get one, I would start with Contained Gardens by Susan Berry and Steve Bradly, primarily because of the pictures and container layouts.

How big a container is dependant on what and how much you want to put into it. I would recommend that you probably do group plantings. Therefore you might want to consider having tomatoes with marigolds and basil in one container. How big? Well, how many tomatoes (probably one, maybe two), how much basil and marigolds? Up to you. Remember that you can plant things a little tighter than you would in a vegetable garden. A good resource about saving space when gardening is 60 Minute Vegetable Gardener by Jeff Ball. Although he gardens in a more traditional plot, he does tend to have a lot of information about growing in smaller spaces that might be helpful to you.

Remember that with cucumbers and melons you are going to need trellising so you need to have a pot that will be able to stand up to whatever trellis system you are going to use. You don't want the pot to be overbalanced, fall, break, and damage your crop when you have 20 cucumbers growing upwards on a frame. I hope this helps.

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