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This blog is filled with the things I love. Family, Nature, gardening, my pets, cooking in the fireplace, all things vintage, and the simple pleasures in life. Being a farmgirl at heart, I consider myself a 'Modern Day Laura'

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Growing Vegetables and Flowers in Containers


CONTAINERS- You can use just about any container for growing vegetables
or flowers as long as it has at least 3 or 4 drainage holes.
You may choose to consider your colors and/or style of containers
to coordinate with your home or outdoor theme or style.

LOCATION- Choose a sunny spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun
each day-(for sun loving plants).

SIZE- Size is an important factor to consider, as plants such as
tomatoes & squash grow very large, and therefore would benefit
from a large container –perhaps a half-whiskey barrel.

SOIL- You can either ‘make’ your own soil recipe, or buy a
commercially prepared mix. Garden centers now offer a range of mixes
that now contain slow releasing fertilizer and water holding crystals.
This makes growing your plants easier!

PLANTING- After danger of frost has passed, (see the last frost dates for
your zone) you may plant your plants outside in your chosen containers.
Support plants as needed-as with tomatoes, beans and squash.
Use a strong trellise to support these plants.

MULCHING- You may add a 1-2” layer of mulch inside the container to
maintain moisture. It will also look nicer!

INSECTS- Scout (check) your plants weekly for pests. Look
under the leaves as this is where pests love to hide.
Remove and kill with insecticidal soap -this is safe to
use on vegetable crops.

DISEASE- Scout once a week and watch for signs of disease or
a nutrient deficiency.

FERTILIZE- If you have a slow release feed already in your soil,
you may want to give a ½ strength dose of a water-soluble
feed to your plants as well –OR you can give ‘manure tea’.
You may apply these as a foliar feeding (apply with a sprayer
to the leaves) to boost the plants.

WATERING- Containers will dry out faster that plants planted in the
ground. Keep a close eye on them in the heat of the summer. I
recommend watering your containers very well in the morning.
Water them until the water comes out of the bottom of the pot.
If it‘s a hot day, water them again thoroughly about 3:00 in
the afternoon-or when you get home from work. Avoid wetting the
whole plant as you water, as this could cause fungal disease-
Try to just water down into the container.

HARVESTING- Pick vegetables as they become ripe to encourage
more veggie growth.

CUT FLOWERS- Pick flowers as you'd like for flower arrangements.
It is best to cut flowers in the morning before the sun is up.
Place all cut flowers immediately into water, and place out of direct
Sun and in a cool spot. Change water in the vase every 2 days, and make
a fresh slanted 1" cut on the end of the stem.

SEED HARVESTING- You can collect seed all summer. If you like to
collect seed as I do, watch for the flowers that fade and die.
Instead of 'deadheading' (removing the spent flower), leave the dead
flower head intact and let it go to seed. Once it has grown large,
and has dried and turned brown, you may harvest the seed.(free plants
for next year!)

SEED STORAGE- Store your harvested seed in envelopes, labeled and
put into a tupperware container. (tupperware keeps out moisture
the best)Store the container in the fridge. *I have had seed for
YEARS that germinated very well by storing it this way.

DEADHEADING- Deadheading is the act of removing spent flower heads.
If you do not deadhead, your flowers will go into seed production
and stop flowering. Deadhead weekly to ensure continuous flower bud
growth. *If you'd like to let a few flowers go to seed for collecting,
that's ok. Letting a few plants go to seed will not stop the whole
plant from flowering. I generally deadhead most of my flowers, and
let a few spent flowers go to seed. The quantity of seed I still
collect is incredible and I still get A LOT of flowers! Plus,
you get to share seed with others :)

ADDING OTHER PLANTS- You may add flowers to your mini vegetable
garden to brighten it up. Add a large variety of marigolds
to your tomato container(to repel pests), along with a couple of
bunches of basil plants. Maybe you can even fit a pepper plant
in as well! Experiment and have fun!

“When I lived in an apartment I always had gardens of some sort.
I used a lot of containers, hanging baskets and railing planters.
I would stuff them with all kinds of flowers. When midsummer came,
the containers overflowed with plants! What a beautiful site! I also
planted vegetable garden containers for my neighbors. They always
came out beautiful. Experiment with plants you like, whether it’s
veggies or flowers. There’s NO reason why you can’t create a
beautiful garden from a collection from containers. Even the
way you arrange the containers together can be incredibly beautiful.
Add a chair or two and a small table, a few palm trees, and you
have a mini garden getaway spot to retreat to after a long day at work!"



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