With only 26 more days until Spring, there’s nothing more prevelant on my mind these days than planning my garden for this year. Gardening a great way to relax. I love spending time outdoors putting in flowers, plants and of course, herbs and vegetables. I’m lucky enough that i have home of my own with an ample space in the yard for a vegetable garden. But many of us aren’t so lucky. So here are some great ways on you can grow your own vegetables, herbs and flowering plants in containers!
Whether you attach your containers to the railing of your balcony, put pots on your porch or grow them in a sunny window inside your home; the options are endless for container gardens! You can buy seeds and plants at a local nursery or one of the big box stores; but if you want to get started now then check out online seed catalogs! There are a wide variety to choose from and they will ship your seeds or plants when it’s safest to do so to make sure that they don’t freeze during shipping.
THE HUMBLE TOMATO
Tomatoes are so versatile. You can use them in salads, turn them into pasta sauce or even homemade ketchup! One thing that most people don’t realize is that you can grow a variety of tomatoes in simple pots pretty much anywhere. Most big box stores now have a gardening center attached to them that are open Spring through Fall. Many of these stores carry what’s known as a Patio Tomato. These are perfect for limited space because they are hybridized to be taller, rather than wider and still provide a good yield of tomatoes. If you’re looking for Non-GMO or heirloom tomatoes, online catalogs are best. I’ve also waited until the weather gets warmer and find heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers market and save the seeds to grow my own plants right away or save them for the following year! Just remember, if you grow tomatoes in the house, you will have to pollenate the flowers in order to get any fruit, unless of course you have a beehive in your house. For more tips on growing tomatoes in containers click here.
HERBS, HERBS, HERBS
I love cooking with herbs. I usually have three or four containers of herbs in my kitchen window that I use throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall. But my windows get too cold in the Winter so I end up having to use some that I’ve harvested and dried or frozen for use during the colder months. Most box stores sell herb plants already “hardened off” which means that they’ve been exposed to the outdoors slowly and are less likely to die if cared for properly. (This is true for any plant, regardless of type) More popular herbs like dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme and oregano can be found in stores as living plants or can be purchased in seed packets just about anywhere that gardening supplies are sold. Herbs are great for indoor and outdoor gardeners alike. Just keep them out of reach of pets indoors as some can be hazardous to dogs and cats. Outdoors, you want to keep your herb containers out of reach of squirrels, skunks, opossums and especially Mr. bunny rabbit. They all love to eat herbs so you may want to grow them in hanging baskets if you have alot of critters running around in your backyard. Deer will also get into herb baskets so if you live near a wooded area, you may want to stick to growing them indoors.
A VARIETY OF VEGGIES
Vegetables are one of the most popular items to grow in a “garden”. Trust me when I say, it’s easy to get overzealous when it comes to planting vegetables. But if you do it correctly, you will have a wide variety of veggies all summer long that you can freeze, dehydrate or share with friends, family and co-workers. Now, the tomato is located with the vegetables in most stores, but it is actually a fruit. That’s why I gave it it’s very own section in the blogpost. Some of the best possible vegetables to grow in containers (or a yard with limited space) are listed below. Please note that only the most popular container vegetables are listed – the possibilities are endless.
Vine Vegetables: Cucumbers, beans, squash, eggplant, peas and any other vegetable plants that you can “train” to attach itself to a tomato cage, fence, pole or trellis. This allows for greater yield and the plant grows upward taking up a lot less space. Check online seed companies or ask your local garden center for recommendations.
Root Vegetables: Carrots, radishes, beets, onions, garlic, ginger and potatoes grow extremely well in containers. These are also great plants for beginners, because you sew the seeds, pull the veggies and sew seeds again for multiple harvests during the year.
Biggest Bang For The Buck: In my opinion; lettuces, spinach & peppers are the best plants of all for containers because you get the highest yield for the littlest investment. One pepper plant will produce all summer long so long as you keep it watered regularly and requires very little maintenance. Lettuces are also low maintenance, high yield crops. Some species will even allow you to harvest and regrow!
DON’T FORGET THE FLOWERS
One last item you can DEFINITELY grow in containers are of course, flowering plants. Just keep in mind that even though your seedlings are small now, they will grow and may overcrowd containers rather quickly. Typically, you can place three to five types of plants in the same container with no problem, as long as there is sufficient room for them to grow. Flower boxes under a window add beautiful color and curb appeal to your home, but you can also hang floral baskets or swap out different containers with different plants by your front door as the seasons change. Whatever you decide, try putting some floral containers in your yard this Spring for a beautiful way to show of your personality.
If you’re still not sure about container gardening, check out some of the gardening gurus below. Happy gardening!
YouTube – Just type in container gardening and go wild!