Best Small Vegetable Garden Ideas in 2023
Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots
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Creating a Hanging Garden
Details how those in even the most cramped of spaces can create a viable fruit and vegetable garden in hanging baskets.
For people who love fresh fruits and vegetables, but lack the space to plant them, creating a hanging garden offers a unique and efficient way to enjoy the benefits of homegrown fruits and vegetables without compromising space or quality. Hanging planters, long used for ferns and flowers, are now a viable way to grow healthy, edible plants. In addition, nurseries are beginning to offer plants specifically bred to thrive in hanging baskets, taking much of the guesswork out of deciding which plants will or will not work. Today, creating hanging garden is easier than ever before.
Hanging planters come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials. Wire baskets are attractive, but plastic planters are very inexpensive. What type of planter you choose is a matter of personal taste. However, understanding the characteristics of different types of planters will ensure that your garden is a healthy one.
• Plastic Planters
While not as attractive as wire planters, plastic planters are considerably less expensive and retain moisture more efficiently. Concerned that a plastic may not fit in with your décor? Keep in mind that some plants will cascade over the planter, causing it to virtually "disappear." In addition, stores offer plastic planters in a dark green (in addition to white), making them much easier to blend in with garden foliage.
• Wire Planters
Wire planters are quite attractive and work especially well with herbs, which favor drier (not dry) soil conditions. Typically, planters are lined with coco-fiber, or sphagnum moss-both available at most garden supply stores. However, burlap and old woolen fabric also make attractive liners. Wire planters will require more watering, so be careful to monitor the soil between scheduled waterings.
• Other Planters
Don't be afraid to use non-traditional planters in your hanging garden. Galvanized buckets, baskets, and colanders are just a few items that can add an eclectic and custom look to your hanging garden.
No matter what type of planter you choose, make sure that the hanging fasteners-and the hanging location-are secure and adequate for the weight of your planter after watering. In addition, choosing a planter that is 12-16 inches wide and at least 12 inches deep will help ensure that your plants have room to grow.
Unlike regular planters, hanging planters are more susceptible to damage from high winds. Therefore, it is important to find a sheltered location that will still receive at least four hours of sun a day. If finding a wind-proof spot is not possible, just remember to move your planters to a different location on particularly breezy days. Otherwise, secure your planter with a bracket and a small chain to prevent it from falling in high winds.
As with a regular hanging planter, your plant choices are only limited by your imagination and feasibility. For example, watermelon would not be a good choice for a hanging planter, as a developing watermelon would be too heavy to support itself. However, some ornamental gourds work quite well in hanging planters, as do cherry tomatoes. The following is a brief list of possible plant choices, as well as some recommended varieties, for your hanging garden.
• Cherry Tomatoes
Tumbler, Yellow Tumbling Tom
• Ornamental Gourds
Small Fruited, Bottle Gourds, Warted
• Edible Squashes
Little Gem, Rolet
• Sweat Peas
• All Herbs
If you are using a wire planter, begin by soaking the liner in water overnight. Scoop potting soil-garden centers offer a wide variety of lightweight soils perfect for hanging planters-into the bottom of the container. Arrange plants, being careful not to overcrowd them, and then fill in more potting soil until it is level with the top of the planter. Pack the soil loosely, being careful not to wash it out during the first watering.
Remember, this is your chance to showcase your gardening creativity. Don't avoid to mixing and matching plants. As long as you choose plants that have similar soil and watering requirements, any combination is possible. For example, if you like tomatoes, but want to plant chives as well, feel free to combine them into one planter. Combining plants offers a way to save space and create visually appealing, diverse planters.
Tip: Don't be afraid to plant tomatoes, herbs, and other suitable plants IN and AROUND the liner of your wire planter. Poke holes in the liner and carefully slide plants in, adding dirt into the planter to secure the plants. Place a little more soil in the planter, and then add your choice of herbs, vegetables, or fruits (as you normally would) in the planter for a truly efficient and visually appealing hanging garden.
As with any type of garden, hanging gardens require regular watering and feeding to thrive. In order to make sure that your planter receives enough water, check the soil every day to determine if it needs watering or not. During the hot summer months, anticipate watering your garden on a daily basis.
Nurseries and garden centers offer a variety of methods to feed container plants. Plant spikes work well, and require little maintenance. Water-soluble fertilizers offer better results, and can be administered once a week during regularly-scheduled waterings.
With the wide array of plants and hanging planters available today, gardeners in even the most cramped locations can enjoy their own fruits and vegetables. Yes, creating a hanging garden that is a visual and gourmet feast is easier than ever before. Even those with ample space can benefit from the joys creating a hanging garden can provide. So what are you waiting for?