Containers - size does matter

As an indoor grower you may know you can produce a good amount of food in a small space. To be a good grower you need to use containers that are the right size for your plants. Plants need adequate volume of soil to reach their full above ground potential. Below, I have listed the MINIMUM depth of some common plants you could grow indoors. If you don’t see your plant and are not sure, go with the bigger size you are debating between. To optimize efficiency indoors you want to give you plants enough root volume to maximize growth, but you don’t want to waste valuable space under the light with containers that are too large. There may be an infinite number of possible things to use for containers.  If you want to do it yourself, the first thing you should know that is true for all containers, make sure they have drainage holes.  The second thing is to make sure you have a container to catch the water that drains out.  The easiest thing to do is to order them from HTGSupply.com and have them sent to your house.  The 5 gallon buckets from HTGSupply.com don’t have holes so they can be used in hydroponics. I actually use 5 gallon buckets with soil, you have to drill holes in the bottom and you can use a second bucket as a tray to catch drainage. It is a good idea to put some stones or pellets in the drainage bucket for better drainage. With the 2-3 gallon pots a tray is needed below to catch the overflow of water. The plastic flats that are designed and manufactured specifically for germinating seeds seems to be the best solution for me.

In my greenhouse I REuse the plastic containers, I soak them in a garbage can over night and scrub them with a brush to wash them.  I add bleach if I had any pest problems.   I have also used the grow bags and coconut fiber husk pots sold by HTGsupply.com and would recommend them assuming you understand the limitations of size with the coconut fiber pots and the rigidity of the grow bags. They have there use but the plastic pots are the best all around in my opinion.

Minimum container depths for some vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers. I am listing in terms of containers sold by HTGSupply.com

Basil 1 Gallon
Beans 2-3 Gallon some with trellis
Cucumbers 2-3 Gallon with trellis
Chives 2 Gallon
Eggplant 2-3 Gallon
Lettuce 1 Gallon
Marigolds 1 Gallon
Nasturtiums 1-2 Gallon
Oregano 2 Gallon
Parsley 2 Gallon
Peppers 3 -5 Gallon
Radishes 1 gallon
Squash 3-5 gallon with trellis
Strawberries 1 Gallon
Sunflowers - (small)1-2 Gallon
Sunflowers - (large-mammoth) 2-5 Gallon
Tomato’s 3-5 Gallon with trellis


hillbilly said...

Doc - have you ever tried beds indoors? by this, i mean constructing a box approx. 3.5' x 3.5' x 13" deep. i am gonna give this a try in my grow room under 1 of my 3 hps lights and was wondering if you might have some construction ideas or be able to point me to some you approve of.

. said...

Yes, I have used beds in greenhouses. You need to think about drainage primarily. We used plastic lined boxes, and had some problems with the drains clogging, and water movement etc. I think you would have better luck with 3-5gallon containers for each plant.
Let me know how things work out for you.

hillbilly said...

hey Doc, here's another feedback for ya - instead of putting the bed together i bought some 4 gallon "tulip" shaped tall (not so squat) pots made by hydrofarm. i used my same old soilless mix, but this time i added about 30% coarse perlite and about 10% vermiculite. i transplanted my vegetative plants from 1/2 gallon grow bags to these 4 gallon pots almost 3 weeks ago. they've been in the flowering room now for a week, and have NEVER had such happy looking plants.. a lot of this success has come from my learning how to properly irrigate and schedule irrigation. your writing on this blog about "taking a 16 oz party cup and water your plants 1 cup at a time, waiting 10 minutes before adding the next cup" was the key my learning that i was not being a good grower and overwatering/ flooding my plants. something else i learned on your blog here that has been key to my increased growing success was your writing about "observe the lower leaves and let them tell you when it's time to water." i never caught on to this idea at all on my own, and your suggestion has made me a closer observer - making everything else in the operation better at the same time. looks like you've spent a lot of time writing out outstanding and helpful information - i thought you might like to hear that your time has helped, but mainly because of the high quality info. all i had to do was not be lazy in my practices and apply many of ypur suggestions in a simple and practical way.