Healthy Beginnings

Container Gardening: Tips for Homegrown Vegetables, Herbs This Spring

Container gardening is ideal for those with little or no garden space, as it involves using a pot, box or bucket in a variety of materials – terra cotta, ceramic, wood or plastic – to grow plants in a confined space.

Social horticulture specialist for the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Angela O’Callaghan, Ph.D., offers some helpful tips for Northern Nevadans to embrace container gardening this spring:

  1. Monitor nighttime temperatures. Now is the time to begin thinking about what types of greens you’d like to grow, as we are approaching warmer nighttime temperatures. Once nighttime temperatures fall at about 40 degrees or warmer, you can begin to plant your greens including lettuce, spinach and carrots.
  2. Select a container. Most plants aren’t fussy about the type of container they grow in, as long as the pot, box or bucket contains ample drainage holes. O’Callaghan recommends using a 14-inch plastic pot, which allows for growing multiple vegetables in one pot (such as different kinds of lettuce and mustard greens).
  3. Choose healthy soil. Fill your container with quality, nutrient-dense soil. Do not use soil directly from your yard or outdoor garden – field soil is not ideal in pots, as it contains low nutrient levels.
  4. Water frequently. Water whenever the soil surface feels dry to the touch, and read the plant tags so you know whether the plants grow best in sun or shade.

When Nighttime Temperatures are…

At or Above 40 Degrees, Start:

  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Turnips
  • Mustard greens
  • Lettuce
  • Beets

At or Near 60 Degrees, Start:

  • Peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Pumpkins
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Squash

(Plants will begin to stop growing at 75 degrees and warmer.)

Simple Herbs to Grow Indoors:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Chives
  • Parsley
  • Thyme