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whiskey barrel halvesYou don't need a lot of land to grow fresh vegetable and flowers. A sunny porch or roof top will do nicely. Most plants will grow just fine in one of our rustic Kentucky Whiskey Barrel or Wine Barrel Planters. With some thought to selecting bush or dwarf varieties, almost any vegetable can be adapted to grow in a Barrel Planter. Vegetables that take up little space, such as carrots, radishes, green onions, and lettuce, or crops that bear fruits over a long period of time, such as tomatoes and peppers, are perfect for Barrel Planter vegetable gardens. Pole beans work well in a Barrel.

Soil and Fertilizer
Any growing media must provide water, nutrients, and a physical support in order to grow healthy plants. A good growing media must also drain well. Synthetic or soilless mixes are well suited for vegetable container gardening and may be composed of sawdust, wood chips, peat moss, perlite, or vermiculite. These are free of disease and weed seeds, hold moisture and nutrients but drain well and are lightweight. Many synthetic soil mixes such as Jiffy Mix®, Bacto®, Promix®, and Jiffy Pro® are available at garden centers. Soilless mixes can also be prepared by mixing horticultural grade vermiculite, peat moss, limestone, superphosphate and garden fertilizer. To 1 bushel each of vermiculite and peat moss, add 10 tablespoons of limestone, 5 tablespoons of 0-20-0 (superphosphate) and 1 cup of garden fertil­izer such as 6-12-12 or 5-10-10. Mix the material thoroughly while adding a little water to reduce dust. Wet the mix thoroughly before seeding or transplanting. Soil mixes are made up of equal parts of sphagnum peat moss or compost, pasteurized soil, and vermiculite or perlite. Composted cow manure is then added to improve the soil’s physical prop­erties and as a nutrient source. Soil mixes tend to hold water better than soilless mixes.  Available fertilizers will be either time-release or water soluble. Time-release fertilizer is mixed with the potting media at planting time. Osmocote® is a pelleted time-release fertilizer. Water soluble fertilizers, on the other hand, are added to water and used when plants begin to grow actively. The easiest way to add fertilizer to plants growing in containers is to prepare a nutrient solution and then pour it over the soil mix. There are many good commercial fertilizer mixes available to make nutrient solutions. Always follow the application directions on the label. You can make a nutrient solution by dissolving 2 cups of a complete fertilizer in 1 gallon of warm tap water. Make sure the mixture is di­luted before you use it to fertilize the plants. If you use transplants, begin watering with the nutrient solution the day you set them out. If you start with seed, apply only tap water to keep the soil mix moist enough until the seeds germinate. Once the plants emerge, begin using the nutrient solution.
While the frequency of watering will vary from one crop to the next, usually once per day is adequate. If the vegetable produces a lot of foliage, twice a day may be neces­sary. Plants require less water during periods of slow growth.

Pots and containers always require more frequent watering than plants in the ground. At least once a week, it is advisable to leach the unused fertilizer out of the soil mix by watering with tap water. Add enough water to the container to cause free drainage from the bottom. This practice will flush harmful minerals out of the the soil mix. Don't wait until you see the plants wilting. Check your containers daily to judge the need for water. Water-holding gels are becoming popular for use in container gardening. These starch-based gels are called hydrogels. They absorb at least 100 times their weight in water and slowly release that water into the soil as it dries. To be effective, they should be incorporated in the soil mix before planting. Mulches can also be placed on top of the soil mix to reduce water loss. Compost, straw, pine needles, grass clippings, shredded bark, and moss are examples of mulches and vary in their effectiveness. 

Nearly all vegetable plants will grow better in full sunlight than in shade. However, leafy crops such as lettuce, cabbage, greens, spinach and parsley can tolerate more shade than root crops such as radishes, beets, turnips and onions. Fruit bearing plants, such as cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant need the most sun of all. One major advantage to gardening in containers is that you can place the vegetables in areas where they can receive the best possible growing conditions.

Planter Video from DIY NetworkVIDEO: DIY Network demonstrates how best to use our Kentucky Whiskey Barrel Planter
CLICK HERE to view a You Tube video titled  "The Best Way to Plant A Whiskey Barrel Planter"

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