Growing Vegetables in Pots and Containers

If you don’t have much space in your garden but want to grow your own vegetables, don’t worry, many vegetables can be successfully grown in containers. Whether you have pots or window boxes, you can grow a range of vegetables from herbs to tomatoes. Containers of vegetables can be dotted around your garden, even placed in amongst the flower beds, or you can create an attractive and useful arrangement of pots and containers outside your kitchen for easy access. If container vegetable gardening appeals to you there are a few things to consider before you start.

Types of container

There are many types of container you can buy nowadays and you can grow vegetables in just about anything, from classic terracotta to plastic, wood, metal and even recycled materials like old tyres. Terracotta pots look great but they do tend to heat up quickly, drying out the soil. You can remedy this by lining your pot with a plastic liner; a strong bin liner should do the trick. Terracotta can also be prone to frost damage, so look out for frost proof rather than frost hardy ones. Wood can be very stylish but does have a limited life span as it will eventually rot. Again you can prolong the life of a good wooden planter by lining it with plastic and treating the wood. But make sure you use an organic product that won’t leak harmful chemicals into the soil. Metal planters are great, especially if you’re garden has a more contemporary feel. However, the drawback with metal is that it heats up quickly and also conducts the cold.

Plastic may not be the first choice of many but it does have many advantages for growing vegetables. Plastic pots are lightweight and so easily moved around; they retain water longer than clay, don’t break and are not affected by frost. You can also get some very realistic plastic containers that replicate natural materials like terracotta and even metal very well. Growbags are also a useful way of growing vegetables, particularly tomatoes and cucumbers. Old compost sacks or dustbins can be used to grow potatoes. Also, try growing tomatoes in a hanging basket. Choose a tumbling variety that will cascade down and provide you delicious fruit all summer.

Size of container

The size of your container is very important. It may seem obvious that you aren’t going to grow much in a litre sized pot, but it it’s worth noting that many vegetables grow quite large and of course, the more space you allow, the more crops you can grow. If you want to grow root vegetables such as carrots or parsnips, which often benefit from container growing because there is less obstruction to the growth of the root from stones or large clods of earth, choose a deep container. Root vegetables need a container with a depth of at least 30cm. Use shallower pots for growing salad crops such as lettuce or radish, or herbs.

Preparing containers for growing vegetables

Vegetables grown in containers are more restricted than those grown in open ground, so make sure you use good quality compost. It is also a good idea to use compost that retains water. Drainage is very important, so you will need to make sure you have plenty of drainage holes in your container. Cover the bottom with broken shards of pots which will also help with drainage.

Looking after your vegetable containers

Limited space in a container will mean that your vegetables have access to only a limited amount of nutrients from the compost they are grown in. It is therefore important to feed them regularly. You can add slow release fertiliser to your compost before planting but if not then feed with a general all round plant food. Remember, crops such as tomatoes will need plenty of potassium-rich fertiliser in order to produce a good crop.

Watering is also important. Just as you don’t want your container to become waterlogged, you also don’t want it to dry out. It is not enough to rely on rainfall as even the heaviest shower often does not penetrate the roots of container grown plants. In dry weather you may need to water at least twice a day. The best times are first thing in the morning and last thing at night. As a general rule your container will need watering when the top inch of compost feels dry. You can help retain water in a planter by mulching the top with grit or well rotted garden material.

Lastly, make sure you check your containers regularly for weeds and pests such as snails and slugs which can decimate a crop in a very short time!

Advantages to container vegetable gardening

If you still need some convincing, consider some of the advantages to growing vegetables in garden planters. Pots and containers can be moved around the garden more easily, either to take maximum advantage of the sun or to make them more accessible when needed, such as moving them nearer to the kitchen. You can also grow a number of varieties together in the same planter. You can create some very attractive arrangements by mixing vegetables with flowers or instance. Combine herbs and salad leaves with flowers such as marigolds which will not only look pretty but help to keep harmful insects away too.

Jo Poultney is one of two people behind Garden Planters. I have an RHS general certificate in horticulture. Garden Planters source unusual outdoor and indoor planters, and other garden related gifts – whatever your taste, be it traditional, modern or just a bit quirky, we will have something for you. I believe garden planters are an integral part of any garden – they enhance the overall design and say a little something about the person to whom the garden belongs. If you would like to know more about Garden Planters, visit our website at http://www.gardenplantersshop.co.uk

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Jo_Poultney/1203126

 

Vegetable Health Benefits

While mothers all over the world never shy from reminding their kids to eat vegetables, the missing link is in explaining the vegetable health benefits that make eating vegetables worthwhile. Let’s admit it, the taste of many vegetables does not make them great favorites among kids, especially when there are other choices around. However, wouldn’t it be more proactive to teach our kids the value of vegetables based on their health benefits so they can begin forming the right eating habits at an early age? It is this mind-set that should be deeply ingrained in our adult minds and subsequently passed on to the next generation.

Here are some of the reasons why vegetables are so healthy for us.

· Vegetables are good for us because they pack a lot of vitamins and minerals that are not present in meat and meat-based products. For example, green vegetables are rich in iron, magnesium, calcium, sodium, and selenium while yellow vegetables are packed with Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B-vitamins, and Vitamin K among others. Eating at least two servings of various vegetables a day can easily meet all your daily dietary requirements making them one of the more complete food groups that you will ever find.

· Another aspect of vegetable health benefits center around “things that vegetables do not have.” One of the biggest criticisms against meat and carbohydrates is that these have too much fat or calories which result in all sorts of health problems. Fats and cholesterol are widely blamed for heart ailments due to clogging of the arteries. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, can lead to excessive weight gain which results in obesity and a slew of other health concerns that come along with it. Because these are not present in vegetables, you can literally have as many as you want without acquiring any health risk.

· Vegetable health benefits are also spurred on by antioxidants that are great for fighting various illnesses. Antioxidants function in a variety of situations, often as neutralizing agents to disease-causing free radicals, but also as anti-inflammatory substances to manage the onset of pain. Antioxidants are also great for boosting immunity.

· Vegetables are rich in dietary fiber which helps sweep the digestive tract and remove accumulated toxins and other deposits from unhealthy diets. This can help reduce the likelihood of many digestive illnesses as well as more serious conditions like colon and stomach cancers. A clean digestive tract also enhances digestion which then improves the absorption of nutrients the next time you eat.

So, make no mistake that vegetable health benefits can significantly enhance your life. They have the combination of healthy nutrients that you eat and bad substances that you are taking out of your diet. Plus, with so many different types of vegetables to choose from and so many ways to prepare them, you will practically never run out of options. Eat them as is, put them in your favorite dishes, prepare healthy green salads, or eat them raw. With so many things that you can do with vegetables, you will have no problem partaking of the many health benefits they bring to keep your body and mind in top running condition.

If you would be interested in learning just what benefits each vegetable has, be sure and check out the many articles we have on the many different types.

www.vegetablehealthbenefits.com

Robert Perry specializes in the building of income producing niche websites, usually using Google AdSense ads. For $100 he builds a 5 article website that the search engines love.

The Niche Builders

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Robert_N._Perry/652377

 

What Are Perennial Flowers?

Have you come across Perennial Flowers? There’s a possibility that you have come across a few and have seen a lot of these bloom at certain seasons and climates, but you’re just not aware on what those flowers are. Well Perennial Flowers are plants that grow year after year.

Choosing what kind of perennial flower garden to do and what types of plants to fill it with can be a tasking activity but seeing the results afterwards can be a rewarding experience. Personal preference should also be considered when choosing which plants to use, since this will the basis for the look and feel of your garden. You wouldn’t want to just pick any plant type at random and just let these bloom on their own.

Perennial’s are so many in variety but you just can’t choose any without carefully checking on their attributes. You can decide on what types of perennial flowers to get by going through this list of conditions:

• Use only plants that will suit your preference when it comes to culture and development. Take note that there are hard and easy ones to culture.
• Also take note of the season for when these plants start to bloom.
• The key to making a perennial flower bed thrive and look harmonious is to also pick out a good variety of plants. Control yourself by not overdoing your garden with too many plants in it. If you do, it will just look messy.
• It’s also important to consider the height, shape, size, color, and perennial flower shade.
• There are plants suited for specific seasons and climates, so check your options first before buying and planting any.

Now to make your choices a little bit easier, you can also look into some of the Perennial flora that can make an ideal addition to your garden. Here are some of the most common ones used:

  • If you have a patio that has no trees or any tall objects planted on it, then you can consider getting some Full Sun Perennials (will require 6 to 8 hours of sunlight on a regular basis). These plants need a lot of sunshine so it’s best that they’re buried in a location where the sun isn’t being blocked.
  • Full Sun Perennials (a nice set of perennial flowers that bloom all summer) – Lavender, Salvia, Chrysanthemum, Aster, Bergamot, Carnation, Butterfly Weed, Blanket Flower
  • Now if you have trees in the yard, then you can get yourself some Perennials that are best grown in Full Shade or in Part Shade (away from getting hit by too much sunlight).
  • For Full Shade – Ferns, Pulmonaria, Hosta, Siberian Bugloss
  • For Part Shade – Cardinal Flower, Primrose, Bleeding Heart, Bluestar, Foxglove
  • If your garden is composed of a good balance of clay, mud deposits, and sand then you can grow Perennials for Average Soil.
  • Salvia, Meadow Sage, Agapanthus, Lily of Peru, Columbine, Peony, Poppy, Boltonia, Blazing Star
  • For soil that can sustain dry or less damp conditions you can plant Dry Soil or Moist soil Perennials.
  • Dry Soil Perennials – Amsonia, Wormwood, Butterfly Weed, Wild Indigo, Yarrow
  • Moist Soil – Goats Beard, Pigsqueak, Primrose, Sneezeweed

There are a lot more Perennial Flowers that you can choose from besides the ones mentioned in the list. But do remember that these plants also require being placed in a good location. Make sure that their needs are really met (like conditions when it comes to moisture, type of soil they’re placed in, to have some shade or none, and drainage).

You can also use fertilizer on these Perennials by supplementing them with worm castings. These are harvested from worms for composting. You can try your hand in producing your own batch of organic fertilizer by getting yourself some red wigglers and compost bins for sale at UncleJimsWormFarm.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/James_W_Shaw/384573