I’ve helped my 88 year old mother start her very own bucket garden just outside her garage. She’s thrilled to be able to garden again, even with lack of mobility.
I’ve also helped my young grandson plant a fun kid’s garden with a mix of small in-ground beds and containers. Every time he comes over, he runs to see how his plants are growing. Even though it’s small, it’s going to yield some serious harvest, one of which we hope will be huge pumpkins. He can’t wait!
This gardening concept is both old and new…old, because growing plants in pots has been around pretty much since time began; new, because modern urban dwellers have found out it’s easy to plant a container garden even on a fire escape!
Growing food in containers is exceptionally easy and can be adapted for both indoors and outside. Although, you get the most benefits and larger possibilities if you have even a small outdoor space to dedicate to growing some vegetables, herbs, fruits or microgreens.
If you’re interested in growing vegetables in containers, be sure to use the RIGHT containers that are food safe. Don’t want any nasty chemicals to leach up into the root system of food plants, and then find their way onto your dinner table!
3 Types of Food Safe Containers Perfect for Growing Vegetables
Here’s 3 food safe containers that you can easily use for growing food anywhere you have a small space: patio, deck, backyard, fire escape, balcony or front steps or even placed among your more traditional in-ground or raised garden beds.
1. Natural Clay or Terracotta Pots – Stone containers, such as terracotta or clay are good options for food grade vegetable gardening. Take care to choose pots that are NOT glazed and previously used.
At least know where they came from, if you are thinking about recycling any pots. Who knows what they have been exposed to previously if they are being reused. Clay and terracotta is porous and can easily soak up unhealthy materials when used for other purposes.
2. Wood – Wood is a common material used to build container boxes for gardens. You can also purchase pre-built boxes in a variety of styles and sizes that are perfect. Never use treated wood for your container vegetable garden. Also, don’t stain or seal the wood with unsafe products. The best types of wood to use for gardening purposes are:
They are rot resistant and can last for many years. In fact, Cedar and Redwood can last up to 20 or more years, while Juniper can last upwards of an astounding 50 years!
Building your own small container boxes out of wood can be an investment in your container garden for years to come. Plus, you can be assured of a safe, natural place to grow healthy, organic vegetable plants.
3. Five Gallon Plastic Buckets – Yes, it’s true. You can actually purchase food grade, BPA free, five gallon and 2 gallon plastic buckets in which to plant your vegetable garden. These particular buckets are now commonly available at local stores like Lowe’s.
In fact, they actually are designated food grade and BPA free for gardening purposes. If you aren’t sure where to find them at your local store, just ask a store employee. You can bet they’ve been asked that question before!
Never use typical 5 gallon paint buckets or other recycled plastic containers. Not only have they been exposed to unhealthy chemicals, but they most likely were manufactured with a variety of dangerous products.
Renee Miller from SFGate.com explains, “To determine whether a container is made of recycled plastic, look for the recycling symbol on the base of the container.
Pay particular attention to the recycle numbers on the container, which can tell you whether or not the plastic used has a high or low risk of leaching chemicals. Avoid plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7. The number 3 refers to vinyl or PVC (polyvinylchloride). PVC contains chlorine and can release dangerous dioxins.
The number 6 indicates the container contains polystyrene, which can leach potential toxins. The number 7 refers to a variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories. Polycarbonate is one of these plastics, which contains hormone disrupters.”
If you want to use five gallon buckets for container gardening, use food grade, BPA free buckets.
Container gardening is a type of gardening that is well worth mastering for its superb benefits and low maintenance style. You may also be interested in reading my latest best selling book on Amazon, The Backyard Food Factory. It will give you more organic food growing techniques for large harvests in small spaces. Enjoy!