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Rhonda Ferree's ILRiverHort

Rhonda Ferree's Horticulture Blog
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Grow Vegetables in Containers


Vegetables are most commonly grown in traditional gardens in rows. Large gardens can seem overwhelming, especially during the heat of summer or after a vacation. If you don't have space for that or just want to try something different, here are some others options to try.

Yet, a larger garden is sometimes needed for certain crops such as sweet corn. Still, you do not have to plant the garden in a traditional design of long rows. Gardens can be designed in interesting ways and include flowers and vegetables for more visual effect.

One trend right now is growing vegetables in raised beds and containers. Container vegetable gardens are particularly popular with gardeners who have little or no ground space. Containers may be located almost anywhere and can be both decorative and harvestable. Popular choices for container gardens include attractive pots of kitchen herbs, hanging baskets of ripe red tomatoes, and window boxes of bright leaf lettuce or fresh radishes. Dwarf vegetable varieties work particularly well in containers.

If you don't have a container you can actually garden right in the potting mix bags. Purchase potting soil bags at your local nursery or garden center, and cut a few drainage holes in the back side of each bag. Lay the bags flat on the ground, and then cut holes in the top of the bags to make room for the plants. Use a hose to moisten the potting mix, and then add plants. This makes a quick and easy vegetable garden.

For those with extremely limited space, a vertical garden might be the way to go. Vining crops work especially well when trellised up a wall. Other options include bean poles, teepees covered in vines, may poles, or even tomato cages. Vegetables to try include peas, pole beans, squash, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, and some tomatoes. When choosing the structure, make sure that it is strong enough to support whatever will be grown upon it. Plants loaded down with fruit can become quite heavy. In some situations, dwarf varieties might work better.

Gardening in containers and raised beds is the topic of an upcoming University of Illinois Extension Four Seasons Garden webinar series. Join Nancy Kreith, Extension Horticulture Educator, as she explains how to use above ground growing systems for safe and fruitful production of your favorite backyard vegetables. Methods to increase production by maximizing your space, recommended soil and fertilizer practices and construction material options will be reviewed.

Utilizing Containers and Raised Beds to Grow Vegetables will be presented via live webinar on Tuesday May 10 at 1:30 pm and again on Thursday, May 12 at 6:30 pm. Or you can listen to a taped version beginning the following week. For more information visit our website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt or call 309-543-3308309-543-3308.

Regardless of your gardening style or technique, have fun. Home gardening is quite rewarding and very tasty.



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