Container vege gardening in Portland, OR- part 1?

by Esmeralda
(Portland, OR)

Some of the many containers dotting my yard

Some of the many containers dotting my yard

I live in Portland, OR- and we have a nice cool, temperate climate that is excellent for vege gardening. Unfortunately, I live in the inner city, where there is both

A) a lot of soil pollution, and
B) not much space (I have an especially small yard)
C) quite a few dark overcast days that make some fun things (peppers, okra, melons) difficult or impossible to grow.

In addition to these limiting factors, the previous resident of the home I purchased lay down TWO seperate layers of plasticy material that prevents weed growth... or ANY growth for that matter.
As I laboriously pulled up these horrible garden implants---
(the only plant in my yard when I moved in was a fig tree and spurge! Not even dandylions would grow.) ---I realized that the soil in the garden was one part sawdust, and one part hard clay! Oh no!

I had 100 cubic feet of tri-mix topsoil brought in for hardy herbs and shallow rooted plants, but my dreams of chioggia beets were crushed.

Finally, it occurred to me that a creative, elegant solution was right in front of my nose. Containers! It had never occurred to me, since when I think of containers, I mainly think of flowers (as I imagine most people do), but after some investigation, I discovered that this was not only workable, but highly effective, and would help me overcome some of the big problems of an inner city yard.
In addition to having control of the soil, I can place plants in areas that I know will maximize thier sun intake, even if that area is concrete.

Well it doesn't look like much yet, but I'm sure hoping it will. I plan on adding more containers if space, time, and the budget permit it, but good dirt is not cheap!

I am still going to try and grow a few tough plants in the ground I do have, but for the most part, this will be a container vegetable garden experiment- on a very very tight budget.

Here's part one, hopefully I'll have more lush exotic photos to follow it up with.

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