The benefits of homegrown produce are amazingly diverse: it’s safer and more nutritious than conventional foods, it’s more flavor-rich — it can even act as an anti-depressant. And in the face of climate change and rising energy prices, it makes better environmental sense to grow closer to home —reducing the energy and carbon costs of moving perishable food in refrigerated trucks long distances from farm to fork.
There are certain advantages to urban container gardening over conventional food gardens. For one thing, self-watering containers are fantastic, easy, and keep your plants perfectly moisturized. Also, you tend to deal with fewer weeds and pests. Veggies can be more densely planted in containers than in conventional gardens, assuming they get the moisture, fertilizer, and sunlight they need.
Overall, most of the rules of container gardening are consistent with the rules of in-ground gardening — you need plenty of sun and water, rich soil, and good fertilizer. But there are some key subtle differences, which we’ve outlined below. If you want a comprehensive guidebook to container gardening, get Ed Smith’s amazing Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible . But you can also wing it, and with the following brief rules, you should do just fine: