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

 

Time to sow Delphinium seeds

Thanksgiving is a good time to sow Delphinium seeds. I say Delphinium because that is what they really are. Only one type interest me here in the South. Larkspur Consolidce is what I want yo talk about today. I say Thanksgiving because that is easy to remember when to sow them. The annual verity is not as pretty as the perennial verities. There are about 300 verities. You may have seen these beautiful flowers in arrangements at a funeral arrangement or in a fine hotel lobby arrangement. They are so beautiful. They are the most beautiful, but the do better in Northern conditions. Larkspur Conolidce is an annual and will do well her in the South. They need cool weather to get started. They are all shades of blue, purple, pink, and white. They need rich well drained soil.They do come up during the winter. They may be less than six inches tall by early Spring. When it starts getting warm, they take off growing. They may reach three to four feet tall by the time they start blooming. You may not have the seeds now because the stores are doing Christmas things now. When the seeds come in January, you can sow them then. They may not get as tall, but you can save the seeds for next Thanksgiving. There is a negative though. They are toxic to cattle and humans. They are not food. You do not eat them Once you grow them, I am sure that you will never be without them from now on.

Bare Root Planting

Have you ever thought about bare root plants?Arbor Day tree planting season is celebrated in South Carolina on the first Friday of December. Planting trees,(large, fruit, rare, or hard to find) are a better bargain by ordering bare root plants. Bare root plants are trees, shrubs roses, vines, and herbaceous perennials that are sold by mail order without soil around their roots. They are devoid of leaves, because they are dug and shipped during the dormant season. High quality plants are harvested during Fall and Winter . The soil is washed off, then dipped in a clay-based slurry to coat and protect the roots from drying out. They are then packed in damp peat moss, wood chips or shredded paper, then placed in plastic bags. they are then boxed and shipped. It may be a shock at first to see sticks with roots. If you will treat them like you love them, it will not be long until you really do. Check your package as soon as you get them. make sure you moisten them immediately. It would be wise to plant them right away. if you have to wait, store them in a cool dark space until you can get to them. make sure you spread the roots out so that they do no girdle. Make sure that the trunk is level to the top of the ground. too deep and girdling is just a disaster in the making. Be sure to mulch. that helps with temperature and moister .

LEAVES LEAVES LEAVES What do we do?

Autumn is such a beautiful time of year. It is especially pretty right now around here. We are in our peak. Some leaves are more beautiful than Spring flowers. As beautiful as they are, some cringe at the thoughts of the work to deal with the leaves. It is OK to just mow them into the lawn as long as they don’t get to thick. It will serve as mulch and that is a good thing. If they are to thick, rake them up and use them in your flower beds as mulch. You will be surprised at how fast they will decompose . And of course, they are a must in the compost pile. One plea is to PLEASE do NOT let them go to the storm drains. It causes all kind of problems downstream . It is so valuable in the yard. It is so harmful in the drains .Thank you for helping with that.

Daffodils in the field or in the garden

When I think Daffodils, I think Spring. There is nothing like seeing a field of yellow blooms. They are deer resistant, unlike many other bulbs. There are advantages and disadvantages to having these beautiful flowers, You have to let the leaves die down, and may take up until June to do so. In a field, it doesn’t matter. But in the garden, It can take up the space you need to plant your Summer bed. They can also be unsightly. To remedy that, just plant short ones. You still have the color without a mass of dying leaves. There are early, mid, and late blooming verities. If they are mixed in a bed, you will have blooms form Valentine until Easter. How could you complain with that?

Spring Bulb planting time

You know that it is fall bulb planting time when it starts getting cold, especially after a frost. I get excited at this time because I know that what I do now will determine how beautiful my Spring will be. The bulbs need the cold to develop roots to grow their bounty . Tulips, Daffodils Hyacinths ,and Crocus are among the favorite. However there are many more.  As a general rule, they should be planted where they will get 6 hours of sun in a well drained soil. Bulbs like crocuses and scillas can be planted beneath deciduous trees. These bulbs can satisfy most of their light needs before the tree leafs out. You plant the bulbs 3to 4 times the depth of  the size of the bulb. It is not that important if you plant them upside or not. They will adopt to that.

Where do Tulips come from

It’s Tulip time. I mean planting Tulip time. I personal visualize the bed in full bloom as I plant. The Spring almost always surpass what I visualize. Have you ever wondered where they came from, or just thought they came from Holland? Some species are indigenous to Turkey, where they have been cultivated for many years. But, the majority come from the mountainous regions of Central Asia.They can be found growing there today. They are much smaller bulbs than the ones we are use to today because of hybridization. I ordered some wild Tulips that comes from the island of Crete,Tien-Shan Mountains China,even Afghanistan and Tibet. I can’t wait to see how they do. I will let you know this Spring

Autuman Leaves

It is going to be beautiful here very soon. The mountains of North Carolina is in there peak right now. The foothills will be next, then us here in the Piedmont of North Carolina. There are reasons the leaves are turning. I always just enjoy the season, But I have found out why they turn.                                          We all know that the green in leaves is Chlorophyll. That is what photosynthesizes into food for the plant to grow.  There is also Carthaginians that is not visible until the weather changes   to short days and cooler temperatures.  That causes the photosynthesis stops and the sugars in the leaves turn color and is reviled.

Swamp Sunflowers

It seems most flowers that bloom in Autumn are yellow, especially the Native ones. There is one blooming now ( yellow) that is the greatest. It is Swamp Sunflowers. They can get 8 feet tall. They spread underground. That is why many people do not want them. If you start early, you can pull all the unwanted ones. Most do not know that you can trim them up till July. That can make you have an enormous showing in the fall. I like to start low and do it in layers to get the most results.