QUICK TIPS FOR PLANTING PRETTY AND PRODUCTIVE PATIO POTS
Have you ever wanted to plant a small vegetable garden in fall, but didn’t want to suffer the aches and pains that come along with designing and digging? Or maybe you just don’t have space to spare. Probably the easiest way to produce vegetables this fall is to grow them in containers. Containers offer many advantages to fall gardening. The potting mix is free of insects and diseases so vegetable transplants can get off to a good start. You can protect young, tender plants from the hot sun, storms and pests by moving containers to sheltered locations. You can also grow plants longer into the fall by protecting them from frosts and moving the pots into the sunny spots once the days get cooler and plant growth slows.
Many of us plant fall flowers, often in containers, but never attempt to add vegetables into the mix. It may seem like too much work, or maybe you just don’t know what vegetables and herbs to combine with annuals to make a pretty, productive container. Pamela Crawford’s book, Easy Container Combos: Vegetables & Flowers, has done the work for you. Crawford has ingenious ideas for combinations that you might not think of.
Here are some quick tips from Crawford for planting productive, pretty patio pots:
•Start with transplants: Transplants are much quicker and easier than growing from seed. Try using Bonnie Plants vegetables and herbs, you’ll find fall varieties, specific to your growing region, at your local garden retailer.
•Keep containers simple: Two to three varieties per pot are plenty. When picking your plants, be sure to read tags before you buy your varieties. You can’t just pick any flower and vegetable and plant them together in a container, varieties require similar sunlight conditions and should have similar growing habits.
•Get the right container: Combos like large containers that have drainage holes in the bottom. Vegetables will grower larger and produce more fruit when roots have more space to grow. More water can be stored, you won’t have to haul out the hose as much and most vegetables just look better in bigger containers. Drainage holes are extremely important so roots don’t rot.
•Plant as close as you can: Container gardens are planted much closer together than gardens in the ground. Don’t be afraid to plant varieties close together in your container, and yes, plants will live and flourish!
•Create a centerpiece: A centerpiece can be any type of plant as long as it remains taller than surrounding plants for the life of the arrangement. Choose a plant that is full or you can combine several skinny plants to create your focal point.
•Don’t forget flowers: Add pretty petals in, vegetables can get leggy. Be sure to plant flower varieties around the base edge of the container, you’ll cover up leggy stems, add some pop and soften the look.
All that’s left is to fill your pot with a good potting mix, sprinkle in some plant food and water at least every other day. Follow these tips and you’ll be picking produce from your patio this fall.
For more information, ideas and Pamela Crawford’s top tips on edible container gardening, visit www.kinsmangarden.com/category/URL_970.