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Karen Ridings

Theme gardens and container gardening

The first day of spring is almost here and signs of spring are everywhere. Now is the time to start planning a garden even if you do not have the space! Window sills, patios, balconies and doorsteps are wonderful alternative areas. The first consideration is light. The amount of light a space receives will determine the type of crops that can be grown. Next, think about a theme.

A theme garden is a garden that revolves around a specific concept or style of cooking. For example, if you frequently cook Italian style dishes, you might consider planting tomatoes, oregano, and basil. If you love salads, think about planting a variety of lettuces, tomatoes, peppers, carrots and/or bush cucumbers. Other ideas for theme gardens might be kitchen herbs, pickling spices, edible flowers, or cutting flowers.

When planning a container garden, select containers that are large enough to support the plants when they are fully grown. Some suitable materials may be clay, wood, metal, or plastic. Never use containers that have stored toxic materials. The containers must also have good drainage. Use a fairly lightweight potting mix for soil. If the potting mix contains fertilizer, then it will not be necessary to fertilize for 8-10 weeks.

Plant your garden in early May. Depending upon what you are growing, you may want to plant seedlings. Be sure to water frequently as soil in containers dry out quickly. Enjoy watching your plants grow and cooking with the fresh vegetables that arrive in the summer!

For more information about the do's and don'ts of container gardening go to:
http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-336/426-336.pdf

For more information about gardening and plant selection, contact your local Extension office to speak with an Agricultural Agent or Master Gardener.



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