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Container Gardening: Growing Fruits and Vegetables in Containers
If you thought containers were only for flowers, think again! You could be enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables grown on your porch or patio in containers and hanging baskets. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Strawberries - Strawberries are easily grown in containers. Plant them in barrels, tubs, hanging baskets or strawberry jars. Plant in early spring and place them where they will get at least 6 hours of sun each day. When the season is over, don't toss them out. They can be overwintered by covering with straw or move the container into your garage or basement. The next year's harvest will be bigger and better.
2. Tomatoes - Who doesn't love the taste of home-grown tomatoes? Plant tomatoes in a container that is a least 16" deep and 20" wide. Be sure to stake or cage the plants to encourage a high yield and to keep them from flopping over.
3. Carrots - Carrots and other root vegetables will grow well in containers as long as the pot is deep enough. Be sure to choose a container that is twice as deep as the length of the carrot at maturity.
4. Salad Greens - Arugula, endive, leaf lettuce, and mustard are great choices for containers. Imagine being able to open your door and harvest fresh salad greens! Keep soil moist and be sure to fertilize every two weeks with a liquid fertilizer at half strength. You should be able to get four or five cuttings from each plant. Replace mature plants with new ones to keep your salad supply growing.
5. Herbs - Herbs are easy to grow in almost any type of container. Suggested herbs are: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, margoram, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, and thyme. Harvest as soon as there are a fair amount of leaves on the young plants. Cut off leaves as you need them, but never cut more than a third of the foliage at any one time. Constant trimming of the leaves for use in your kitchen will help keep the plants bushy and productive. Many herbs are perennials and can be overwintered by moving the container into your garage or basement.
Take good care of your container grown vegetables and fruits by providing plenty of water, sun, and fertilizer as needed. You'll enjoy the fruits of your labor all season long!
Copyright (c) 2004, Kim Noblin
About the Author:
Kim Noblin is the editor of HerWorldOnline.com, an online magazine with articles and ideas for everyday living.
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