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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are a lot of folks who think that if you grow in containers, you don't have enough food to put up, i.e. can, freeze or dehydrate. I have to disagree. I have a larger garden, but I also use containers for a few of the things that I grow: Snow Peas and Strawberries are a couple. The first few pictures are from the side of the house and show the containers the Strawberries and Snow Peas grow in.

I chose to plant Everbearing Strawberries, which I found on Ebay last year for a very reasonable price ... 25 plants for about $20.00. They multiply, so this year I have about 60 plants. Now Everbearing Strawberries will produce all summer and through to the first fall freezes. Though you don't get as many berries all at once like you would with the June Bearing berries, you get more in the long run. The problem most people see is that you are only getting a bowl full every two or three days, so it isn't really worth their time to do anything with them for later use.

I plant my Snow Peas in containers as well. It is true that I won't get as many in the beginning as I might if I had chosen to plant them in the big garden, but the fact that I can keep them going much longer, means that I save my garden space and my plants produce a lot longer than they would have. Peas hate the hot summer, and they will start to dry up and wilt in the summer heat. Because they are in containers (black cement mixing trays from Lowes - 2' X 3' with holes drilled in the bottoms), I can start them next to the brick wall on the side of the house which will radiate heat and help them grow faster in the cooler spring days. Then when the summer heat starts to crank up, I can move them under the trees in the back yard which will give them early morning sun and late afternoon sun, but none of the hot, mid-day sun that would fry them to crispy compost. That prolongs my season, so I have fresh peas coming in all the time. Still, you aren't getting enough to really do any serious canning or preserving. Well, I have come up with my own little ways of preserving, and I thought I would share that with you folks.

Strawberries: I pick the strawberries every few days and get a bowl full. It isn't quite enough to make desert for two big guys and me ... so, I freeze them. I wash the berries and cap them. I take a small container ... about pint size, and I line it with Saran Wrap. Then I cut up the berries that I got for the day into the container and put a layer of sugar on them. I put the top on and freeze them. A few days later, when I pick my next bowl, I wash the next batch and cap them, and then I take the container out of the freezer and add more berries and sugar to the top. When I get the container full, I put it back into the freezer and let it freeze. Then when it is frozen, I lift the Saran Wrap out with the berries in it, peel the plastic off the berries, and put the cube into a gallon size freezer bag. For space, it would be best to use a square container to start with. I usually have a couple of containers in the freezer at a time. One has been filled and is freezing, and the other is only partially filled awaiting more berries.

By freezing them as you harvest them, you don't loose any to spoilage, and you are saving up enough to actually do something with them. Once frozen, I can choose to thaw a few bricks and make a desert, or I can wait until I have quite a few bricks, thaw them and make jam.

The Snow Peas are harvested every two or three days as well. I get a pint to a quart every few days, but that really isn't enough to pull out a canner. For the peas, I wash them and snip the stalk ends off. Then I put them into boiling water and blanche them for 60 seconds. The blanching part is important, because plants continue the growing process even after they are picked. The blanching stops that process. After I have let them boil for 60 seconds, I pour the water out through a wire basket that catches the Snow Peas and let them sit until they are cooled down. Then I put them into quart size freezer bags and label them. They are the perfect size to use if I am cooking an Oriental dish, or they can be stockpiled until I have enough to dehydrate or can.

The point is that nothing gets wasted, and I am able to put away food for winter, even though it is coming in and being harvested in small amounts.
 

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We have done something similar .The neat thing about container gardening is you can move them to suit the weather conditions .Most things love that morning sun ,,but that mid June/Aug . sun can be a killer ,simply move them to the shade.Also we have a very heavy clay soil that makes admending it kinda tough ,so the containers are a lot easier to supplement your soil.A good source for containers are the local bakeries ,they get supplies in food grade buckets which most of the time get thrown away.
 

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We have done something similar .The neat thing about container gardening is you can move them to suit the weather conditions .Most things love that morning sun ,,but that mid June/Aug . sun can be a killer ,simply move them to the shade.Also we have a very heavy clay soil that makes admending it kinda tough ,so the containers are a lot easier to supplement your soil.A good source for containers are the local bakeries ,they get supplies in food grade buckets which most of the time get thrown away. Not sure why this posted twice ,moderator please delete .
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Graywolf, could you tell us more about your containers [sizes, sources, etc.]? Those black ones look like they would be good for herbs and things as well as peas, for example...
Hey Cat,

The green ones along the side of the house are mostly about 1 foot wide X 3 foot long X 1 foot deep inside the container. A few are 1 foot X 1 foot by 1 foot deep along with a couple of round ones. They were purchased as planters from the Dollar General at the end of a season one year when they went on sale. They are deep enough to plant tomatoes and peppers in, which I use to do until I started doing the big garden again. I use them to grow crops of spring onions and strawberries, raspberries and a few heirloom red pepper plants that I don't want crossing with the garden peppers.

The black ones I found at a salvage store for about $7.99 each, but I saw them at Lowes for about $12.00. They were in the construction area where the lumber and such was. I think they use them to mix cement or something like that. They are about 2.5 X 3.5 feet ... I think, and they are about ten to twelve inches deep. We drilled holes in the bottom to give them good drainage. If you look in Graywolf's 2010 Garden, I have close up pictures of the black tub with Live Oak seedlings growing in them in the second post of that thread. You can grow anything that doesn't need to grow really deep roots in them: lettuce, kale, leaf crops, radishes, peas, green beans, garlic, snow peas, green onions and if you filled it with dirt up to the top, probably regular onions and turnips would fit. Also, like Survival Dog said, you can move them when the weather gets hot, so they only get the morning sun, which helps to keep the plants going a lot longer. A lot of plants like peas and lettuce and leaf crops start to dry out or bolt when the temperatures get really hot, so as long as you give them lots of water, moving them to the shady areas gives them another month or two.

Hope this helps!
 
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