Posts Tagged“gardening”

grow tomatos in containers

Face the facts—those tomatoes you buy in the grocery store? They can’t compare to the ones you grow yourself. The pale, hard and flavorless orbs that pass for tomatoes only leave you yearning for the juicy, aromatic, naturally sweet and bursting-with-flavor crop like your grandpa used to grow. You know, a real tomato.

So maybe it’s time you grew your own tomatoes. You can grow tomatoes in the ground, in a pot, in a greenhouse or upside down, and in almost every climate. They come in hundreds of shapes, sizes, colors and varieties, making it fun to experiment beyond the usual Beefsteak and Early Girl. And, you can let your culinary imagination run wild, because tomatoes are one of the most versatile fruits (yes, fruits) around.

This spring I decided I was tired of all the mismatched planters on my deck. So, before I filled the pots with soil, I crafted a solution to my planter dilemma that was quick and cheap.

I didn’t want to replace my perfectly good pots so I decided to buy a can of dark brown spray paint. I sprayed a thin coat of paint on each pot, let it dry and repeated—until I had three full coats of paint.

As you can see from the picture above, the results were surprisingly good. Both the terra cotta and plastic pots coated well, albeit with slightly different shades of brown.

container garden
Small space gardening can be a rewarding process. Whether you’re decorating a patio or looking to add fresh vegetables to the dinner table, we have some easy tips to get you started.

Container Gardening
Container gardening is a simple and portable form of gardening that can produce great results. Find a small space on your deck, balcony or entryway to place containers (ranging from 3 to 10 gallons). A 3-gallon container will fit one group of vegetables, where a 7-gallon will fit two or three. The larger the container, the more plants you can add.

Find a place around your home with good sunlight for the container placement. Once you have your containers arranged, line the bottoms with newspaper to prevent soil from falling out of the drainage holes when watering. Fill the containers 3/4 to the top with potting mix. Add some compost and add a small amount of slow-release fertilizer. (Try and avoid granular fertilizer when container gardening). If you use potting soil, add either vermiculite or sphagnum moss to aid the soil with draining water. The soil in your pot should be mixed well and sit 2 or 3 inches below the rim of your container once prepared.

Place your plant selection in the middle of the container and water generously. Having your containers close to the house, will make it easy for you to check them daily. This will also allow you to easily snip herbs for cooking. Expect to water the containers every other day—depending on the weather, and container size you choose.

Jump Start to Container Gardening:

  • find containers—3 gallons per plant average.
  • arrange your containers in a sunny location close to a door, for easy access to water and any picking of vegetables or herbs.
  • line the bottom of your pot with newspaper to prevent soil loss through drainage holes.
  • fill your containers 3/4 to the top with potting mix, then add some compost and a slow- release fertilizer. Mix this well, it should settle down to 2 or 3 inches below the rim of the container.
  • place your plant selection in the center of the container and water evenly and throughly. You’ll probably have to water every other day, depending on your container size, as well as the weather. You can add water soluble fertilizer to your watering can once a week if you choose.

Picking a Container
Ideally you’re picking a container that fits both the size and style of the setting around your home. If you choose a dark colored container, it will heat up more in direct sunlight—so make sure to consider the color that will best suit your climate and plant. In addition to the style of your container, you should be looking for some growing benefits. You want a container with wide openings for your plant to expand and grow. Glazed ceramic pots will last much longer than plastic, which tend to take a beating from UV rays. Terra cotta pots dry out faster and take water from your plants. If you want a wood look, use either Redwood or Cedar, which are both fairly rot- and stain-resistant. Make drainage holes about a 1/2 inch wide at the bottom of your container (if it doesn’t come with holes already). This isn’t necessary, but drainage holes are helpful.

When the leaves start to fall and temperatures drop, it’s the perfect time for serving healthy squash seasoned with delicious spices to warm the heart and soul.

Squash isn’t just about a weekend trip to the pumpkin patch for that perfect jack-o-lantern. This fruit, packed with nutrition and a combination of both sweet and savory flavors, will surprise you when you bake, steam, roast or even turn it into a favorite seasonal dessert, pumpkin pie! And that’s just one of the delicious varieties – there are many interesting types of squash to choose from besides the popular pumpkin.

Give an ordinary plastic patio set a 15-second makeover! Give an ordinary plastic patio set a 15-second makeover!

After a long winter indoors, we can’t wait to get outside to entertain friends, or relax with a cup of coffee and the Sunday paper. Is your patio ready? Here’s a little help with how to get it in shape for the sunny seasons to come.