Brilliant Ideas! Steal this One!
Growing edibles like veggies, flowers, and herbs is gaining popularity right now. Why? Because it’s easy! Edibles you grow yourself are healthier, taste better, and in many cases are cheaper than buying them at the store.
Not all of us have the space or the desire to grow a large vegetable garden. Container gardening means anyone can grow their own crops, even in a small space.
What You’ll Need!
You just need the right growing conditions. All vegetables, fruits, edible flowers, and herbs need at least 6+ hours of direct sun every day for the best results. You will need a good soil mix – I like Fafard’s Urban Garden Container Mix (Sphagnum peat moss, black earth (humus), coconut husk fibre, Biosol compost, lime, organic fertilizers) as it creates the perfect environment for veggies and herb growing. Don’t forget to fertilizer. Try Farad’s Vegetable Organic 4-3-7 slow release fertilizer. Simply sprinkle the pellets on the top of the soil and as you water, the nutrients break down and are released to plants roots. When selecting a container for growing vegetables, make sure there are drainage holes in the bottom to take away excess water and that you cover the holes with landscape fabric so soil doesn’t seep out when you water. Make sure to water your containers daily – if not twice a day – in warm weather. Soil needs to be moist but not wet. Just a gentle reminder, wait until frost has pasted usually after the long weekend in May before starting your container gardens.
Here’s a few brilliant ideas for growing vegetables, edible flowers, and herbs in containers!
Strawberries in a Hanging Basket
Love strawberries but lack space? Try strawberries in a hanging basket. For the best performance, try a couple different varieties. June-bearing strawberries produce fruit in early summer whereas ever-bearing strawberries produce fruit mid-summer through to frost. Plant one hanging basket of each variety and enjoy strawberries throughout the summer. Fill hanging baskets with Fafard’s Urban Garden Container Mix to about 1 inch from the top of the basket. Using strawberry starter plants, place plants around the hanging basket leaving enough room for each to grow. You will need between 5-6 starter plants per hanging basket. Make sure plants roots are buried in the soil, hang the baskets in a sunny location, and check them daily, watering when needed. You will know when it’s time to harvest because the berries will have turned red.
Potatoes in a Bag
If you like potatoes, and who doesn’t, try your hand at potatoes in a bag. A simple way to get home-grown produce.
Start with a potato bag (can be purchased) or a burlap bag, and place 6 inches of soil in the bottom. For soil I would use Fafard’s Urban Garden Container Mix. Plant 3-5 seed potatoes (mixed potato varieties are okay) in the soil, evenly spacing out the seed potatoes and cover with 3 inches of soil. At this stage, you don’t need to water. Overwatering can rot the seed potatoes. Once the foliage emerges, you can water daily when the soil is dry. The idea is to keep the soil consistently moist but not overly wet. When the foliage and stems of the potatoes reach a height of 12 inches above the soil, it is time to add 6 more inches of soil (this is called hilling) around the base of the plants – it’s okay to cover the lower leaves and stems with soil. Mix a couple tablespoons of Fafard’s Organic Vegetable Fertilizer in with the hilling soil for added nutrients. Continue growing until the potato stems and foliage are once again 12 inches in height and add another 6 inches of soil around the base of the plants. At this point you should have about 18-20 inches of soil in the bag. Continue to grow until the plants start to wilt and the leaves have turned brown. It’s time to harvest your potatoes. If you are using a burlap bag, you can simply cut down the side of the bag and harvest your crop. Enjoy!
Lettuce in a Barrel
Salad greens and loose lettuce in a barrel (or large container) means you get fresh produce over-and-over. Lettuce is quick growing, takes up little room, and is delicious. Here’s how it’s done. Take a large barrel – you need at least 12 inches of soil for best results – fill with Fafard’s Urban Garden Container Mix to about 2 inches from the top of the container and tamp down the soil to get out air pockets. Take a pinch of lettuce seeds and sprinkle them over the soil thinly and evenly – you don’t want too many seeds in one area. Cover the seeds with a fine layer of soil about ½ inch in depth, and very gently firm down the seeds and soil. This ensures the seeds come into direct contact with soil. Carefully water the newly planted seeds using a watering can – you don’t want to wash the seeds around. Move to a sunny location. You will need to check on your seeds, daily. Make sure you keep the seed bed moist, not wet. It will take about 5-10 days for them to germinate. When the seedlings start at appear and are about 1-2 inches in height, you will need to thin them out. Remove some of the seedlings until there is about 2 inches between each of the plants. Brilliant Idea! You can use the discarded seedling to start a new container garden. Keep watering and check your plants daily. In about 4-6 weeks you will be rewarded with a lovely crop of lettuce. Use a sharp pair of scissors and cut away the largest outside leaves every couple of days. This will stimulate new leaf growth. Start a second container (or even a third container) of lettuce a few weeks after the first container for a continuous supply of summer lettuce and salad greens.
Use your imagination to create amazing edible containers. Growing vegetables, herbs and edible flowers is easy and fun for everyone!
The Gabby Gardener