Do you have limited space, but still want to growing vegetables? This article will share with you simple steps to growing vegetables in hanging baskets.
First, decide what you like growing and want to eat. If you hate spinach, you won’t enjoy growing it.
Once you know what you’d like to grow, take some time to study what does well in your area in the current season. Your local agricultural extension can often provide you with guidance.
Consider the size of what you are growing and how you will grow it. For example, due to the height of corn, it wouldn’t make a great choice for a hanging basket. However, things like tomatoes if grown upside down may work well. Cucumbers are also an excellent choice, as the vines can provide interest to your basket. Pick them when small to avoid weighing down your vines.
Think about the position of the sun. Most vegetables benefit from a lot of light. Shady locations aren’t a great choice. Choose a place that receives light for the majority of the day.
Choose the potting soil that matches your needs. If you live in an area that is really hot and sunny, materials like coco peat that can help hold moisture. If you get a lot of rain, choose a mixture that contains sand for drainage. (There is also difference between potting soil and garden soil mixes. Thus, be sure to ask questions about what you are purchasing. Garden soil may be higher in clay, which is heavier and doesn’t give roots as much freedom to move. Quality may not be the same from vendor to vendor, either.)
Fill your hanging planter with soil and scoop out appropriate size holes to make room for your plants.
Transplanting plants from the original container to the hanging basket is the fun part. Simply place your hand around the base of the plant to hold it in place and turn the container upside down. If the plant doesn’t fall out, squeeze the container lightly (if you can) or tap it. Once the plant slips out, turn it right side up, place it in your pre-scooped hole, cover it with soil and water.
Hang your basket, check it every day to see if it needs water, fertilize as recommended on your fertilizer package and watch your vegetables grow. (If you see bugs or your plant doesn’t grow as expected, write us on Facebook and we can help.)
Do you have a plant that is dying in your garden? Figuring out plant problems can really be frustrating and you may feel like you’ve failed. Don’t worry. Even seasoned gardeners lose plants. This blog will give you a light introduction into diagnosing your growing issues.
In order to understand why your plant may be struggling, you need to assess its quality of life. Start by running a web search without quotation marks for “requirements for growing [insert plant name].” This should lead you to knowledge on the basic needs of your plant.
After reading a bit about your plant, take a look at the plant and its surroundings. Put your fingers in the soil and observe the leaves and stem. Ask yourself the following questions:
Is the soil too wet or too dry?
Are the leaves wilting, falling off or changing colors?
Am I giving the plant too much or too little sun?
Is the temperature too hot or too cold for this plant?
Are there bugs crawling on the plant? If so, does it look like they’ve chewed holes in the leaves or fruit?
Has anyone sprayed anything recently near the plant that could have damaged it?
Once you run a quick diagnosis with the questions above, you may be able to understand a bit more about why your plant is suffering and can run a web search on possible remedies. If you find yourself stuck and in need of assistance, post a question on our Facebook page and we can walk you through suggestions on solving your issues. You can also contact your local agricultural extension office. Diagnosing plant problems can be really hard, as there are a lot of variables. Extension offices most likely will have the ability to test soil (for a fee) and experts that may be able to make a diagnosis from a photo or sample of your plant.
Do you love to garden, but have poor soil or have difficulty bending your knees? Consider growing vegetables in a raised garden bed.
A raised garden bed gives you the ability to plant in fresh soil in an area that is off the ground. This may reduce the amount of bending needed, while allowing you to have better control over the quality of your growing medium.
How do you grow vegetables in a raised bed?
Begin by choosing your container and location. You want a raised bed that is large enough to plant the vegetables you desire, while holding enough moisture to keep your plants thriving. Where you plant is also important. While under a shade tree may be fantastic for shade-loving flowers, vegetables need to be in the part of your yard that gets a significant amount of sun throughout the day.
Secondly, choose and fill your raised bed with a potting mix recommended by your garden center and fill your bed.
Next, add your plants and water well. (If it is really hot in your area, you may need to give them extra water the first couple of days to help them transition into their new home.)
Finally, be a good friend to your raised bed and check it every day. Stick your fingers into the soil to check to see if it needs water. If it feels dry, add water to the base of your plants. (Splashing can spread disease. Watering in the morning before the heat of the day is a great habit to choose.) Fertilize as recommended by your plant food manufacturer.
Harvest your vegetables when they are ready and enjoy!
Living with insects is part of gardening. There are good bugs and there are pests. Knowing how to control the bad insects naturally can help save your garden. One of the more destructive and frustrating enemies is the squash bug. Let’s talk a bit about what to do with them.
Squash bugs can suck the life out of your squash, if you are not vigilant. They love hiding and can be quite frustrating to control. If you are an organic or sustainable gardener, harsh chemicals are not your favored choice. Thus, as disgusting as it may appear, the best control measures are searching and destruction.
Searching for squash bugs means that you need to get close to your plants and move the leaves around. You will find the insects crawling anywhere on your plant. When you see them, simply pick them up with your hands and drop them into a bowl of soap water. If they don’t drown, you can remove them one by one and crush them with a stone.
The second thing you need to do in your search is look for eggs. Typically, the eggs will be lined up like soldiers in a pattern on the underside or top of leaves. Scrape the eggs into your soap water. You can also remove the leaf and crush the eggs with a stone.
While this procedure may seem distasteful and brutal, it will help decrease the destruction in your garden. If you do not control squash bugs, they will keep multiplying and kill your plants.
Growing your vegetables in a raised container like the Smart Farm can reduce the bending needed when inspecting your vegetables. If standing is challenging, you can even pull a chair up to your Smart Farm to make gardening more comfortable.
Please visit the Mr. Stacky page on Facebook for gardening pictures and help in answering your growing questions.
We introduced everyone to starting seeds in the Smart Farm in earlier posts. I thought it might be a good time to show you what the Smart Farm looks like approximately 24 days later. The picture on the right shows the current Smart Farm. Some of what you see is the lettuce that we started from seed, while other things are transplants. Can you find the basil, tomatoes and squash?
In less than a month, we have a gorgeous planter that is filled with green. The maintenance at this point is very easy. I just have to keep the bottom reservoir filled and the pump plugged into the timer. If you’re wondering how much fertilizer that I’ve used, I am still running off the initial small bottle that was sent as a sample. I initially poured the whole bottle into the reservoir once the seeds sprouted. Although I have added water, I have not added new nutrients. However, it is overdue for a refresher.
What do you think of my Smart Farm?
P.S. The pic to the left is a reminder of how bare it was before the seeds sprouted and other plants were added. What do you think you can grow in one month? If you need help, please write me on our Facebook page. I’m happy to answer your questions and help you grow whatever you dream about.
The picture to the right is the nearly finished product after growth. Cheryl
Why garden with a Mr. Stacky? We could share with you a bunch of fancy marketing taglines to entice you to buy our product, but we’d rather just write from the heart and share four reasons why gardening rocks.
#1 Gardening gives you fresh food. If you’re hungry for a salad and you’re growing lettuce, there isn’t any need to go to the store. Just tiptoe over to your planter and snip.
#2 Growing your own food and eating at home is great for the planet. Had you decided to go out to eat or make a run to the store, you’d more than likely be driving a car. Staying put and not burning up fuel is better for the environment. (Plus, you can eat dinner in your pajamas, which is more fun.)
#3 Playing in the dirt is fun and can relieve stress. Make some mud pies and act like a kid. (Just don’t eat the mud pies, please.)
#4 Gardeners are cool people. You have to love folks that can talk passionately about radish varieties.
If you want to be part of our cool group, come hang with us on our Facebook page.
Lettuce is one of the easiest seeds to start. All you need is sun, warmth, a growing medium and humid conditions. Unlike many other vegetable seeds, lettuce tends to benefit from having light while it sprouts. Thus, you don’t need to worry about how deep the seeds need to be planted. This makes planting lettuce seeds great for beginners, as you’re just basically placing seeds on top of soil and brushing it around a bit before watering.
If you really want to be sure your lettuce seeds are happy enough to sprout, you need to add humidity. How do you do this? Once you have planted your seeds and watered them, cover the container with clear plastic. The clear plastic will keep the humidity high, while allowing sunlight inside. A thin plastic drop cloth from the hardware store works great. Just be sure to weigh down the ends at the bottom with a rock to keep the drop cloth from flying away in the wind.
Please keep in mind that lettuce is a cool weather crop. If your temperatures are extremely high, you may cook your seeds under the plastic.
How do you know when is the best time to plant lettuce seeds? Your local extension office should be able to provide you a list of the best planting times for various vegetables. If you’d like help locating your local extension office, you can click this link at NPIC.
The video below from our Facebook page shows a quick way to plant lettuce seeds. If you’d like to chat with our gardener, please visit us on Facebook.
If you love the flavor of fresh strawberries, growing this delicious fruit indoors can be a tasty experience. Nothing gets more local than harvesting your own berries at home. Here are a few simple steps that will show you how to grow strawberries in a pot:
Step 1: Pour coco fiber into a 5-gallon bucket until it is about 2/3 full and add just enough water until fiber is damp and cool to the touch. It should not be dripping or have water standing in the bottom. Break apart any clumps with your fingers and work the fiber with your hands until it is light and airy.
Step 2: Add four to five handfuls of perlite into your coco fiber and stir with your hands. (Approximately one handful per gallon of coco fiber is just enough.)
Step 3: Use your hands to scoop up your coco fiber/perlite mixture into your container until the soil is about one inch from the top.
Step 4: Use your fingers to pull back just enough of your planting medium in the pot to bury the plug even with the existing roots. Do not cover up the stems or pedals with the coco fiber. If planting more than one strawberry plant in a pot, be sure to space them apart to allow them room to spread. (The length of an average hand is a good measuring stick for the amount of space needed between plants.)
Step 5: Water each plant with liquid fertilizer as written on the package directions.
Step 6: Place your planter in direct sunlight where it will be exposed for the majority of the waking day.
Step 7: Rotate your planter once or twice a day to facilitate even growth. Spritz all your plants lightly with water each time you rotate the planter. (This will increase the humidity.)
Step 8: Water as needed. Your plants should never be soggy or bone dry. A good indicator that it may be time to water is when the coco fiber on the top begins to turn a lighter shade of brown. If you are a heavy spritzer with water, you may find that you may need to pour water on your plants less often.
For More Information on How To Grow Strawberries and 10 Best Strawberry Recipes click on the following link