As the season begins to change from summer to fall, there’s a lot for us to look forward to as we unwind from the hustle and bustle of summer. The leaves changing, the kids going back to school, hot soups, cozy clothes, home décor, the kids going back to school and fall gardening! If the idea of fall gets you excited about a new planting season, you’re not alone. Fall is the best time for planting vegetables and fall bulbs. If you’re not excited about a new planting season because you live in an apartment and don’t have a lawn, we’ve got good news for you. Every year at Wildwood Outdoor Living Centre, we help more and more customers with their fall container planting. It’s increasingly popular, and we’re here to show you just how easy it can be. In this article, we’re going to share with you what there is to know about planting your own vegetables and fall bulbs in containers.
Fall Bulb Containers
Planting fall bulbs in a container is just as easy as it is to plant them in the ground. The great part about planting your fall bulbs in a container is that you can plant almost every type of fall bulb there is. Even better, you can layer your fall bulb arrangement in your container, giving you blossom after blossom! To start, choose a fall bulb assortment that will thrive in the environment you’re going to place them in. If you have plenty of sun, you’re in luck and you can choose just about any bulb you like. If your container will be placed in shade for most of the day, you’ll want to consider bulbs that can tolerate shade, like Snowdrops, Crocuses, Scillia, Daffodils, or Fritillaria . Once you have your container, soil, and bulbs. You’re ready to follow these quick and easy steps!
1. BULBS – You’ll need to pick several different species of bulbs that have different bloom times to make this work. Small bulbs like snowdrops, rock garden narcissi or crocus for the top layer, mid- season flowering bulbs like narcissi or tulips for the middle layer and late-season flowering bulbs like tulips and alliums for the bottom layer.
2. CONTAINER – Now it is time to choose your favorite larger container- ceramic, plastic or even wood. For layered planting you want your container to be at least 14” deep. The other key to the container is that it must have good drainage. Bulbs can easily rot over the winter if the soil stays to wet.
3. SOIL – After you’ve selected your container, you can start to fill it with a few inches good quality potting soil (garden soil or topsoil are too heavy for in containers). Add a pinch of bonemeal.
4. LAYER 1 – Add your late season flowering bulbs which need to be about 12” below the rim of the pot, the bigger the bulb the lower the layer it is.
5. LAYER 2 – Once your bulbs are all in place- pointy side up and not touching the sides of the pot – it is time to add another few inches of soil covering the bulbs completely and then you add another pinch of bone meal before you put in your mid-season flowering bulbs which are now going to be about 8” deep. Be sure to have your soil under, over and in between all the bulbs so they aren’t touching the sides of the pot- don’t want them rotting or freezing!
6. LAYER 3 – Now for more soil, bone meal and your final layer of small early flowering bulbs which are going to be placed about 5” below the rim of the pot. Once you’ve placed the last layer of bulbs you can finish the pot off with some more soil and plant a few winter flowering pansies or violas to give you some added cheery colour until spring!
Now you wait for your masterpiece to appear! The bulbs will all start sprout up and flower at different times throughout the spring. Don’t worry about the smaller ones getting in the way of the bigger ones. All bulbs know the way to the surface and will avoid the others while getting there. Try one of these popular combinations for a perfect layered bulb arrangement.
When choosing the right container for your veggies, remember that small containers dry out quickly. Requiring you to water your veggies frequently without ever missing a watering. To make you and your plants happier, choose a large container but remember…the bigger the pot, the more soil, the heavier it will be. Make sure to plant your veggies right where the pot will stay, to avoid having to haul it across your house – if you can. When choosing your vegetables, you’ll want to consider how much sunlight your plants will get. For low light/partial shade vegetables, a few good choices for you would be Chard, Kale, Arugula, Spinach, Lettuce, and/orRadish. For plants that get full sun, try growing Beans, Tomatoes, Peas, Hot peppers and/or Cucumber. Set yourself up for success by using the cheat sheet below to find the most compatible container veggies for your space.
|Container Size||Harvest time||Light|
|Garlic||5 gallons||16-20 weeks||6-8 hours|
|Hot Pepper||5 gallons||8-13 weeks||6-8 hours|
|Cucumber||5-7 gallons||7-10 weeks||8 hours|
|Peas||3-5 gallons||8-10 weeks||4-5 hours|
|Beans||5 gallons||7-8 weeks||8-10 hours|
|Tomato||5 gallons||6-10 weeks||6-8 hours|
|Green Onion||1-2 gallons||5-7 weeks||13-16 hours|
|Radish||1 gallon||3-5 weeks||6 hours|
|Chard||5 gallons||4-6 weeks||3-4 hours|
|Lettuce||1 gallon||6-8 weeks||3-4 hours|
For more veggie container inspiration, check out what Wildwood Outdoor Living Centre’s, President, Gord has to say below when it comes to hanging tomato baskets and growing baby lettuce, below.
Creating a fall garden is just as easy as getting the right size pot, soil, seeds and bulbs. Even if you live in an apartment, or you just don’t have the outdoor space you thought you needed. Fall offers the opportunity to grow and change with the seasons. Stay tuned for more container friendly garden tips and tricks.