It is never too early to get some of those cool veggie seeds started like kale and swiss chard. You can also get the containers prepared for a new adventure in landscaping this season. But keep the design simple.
Every summer you will see my large containers planted with ornamental trees or shrubs and surrounded with other trailing annuals and perennials like ivy, Goldilocks, or potato vine. I will bet you are nodding your head right now because you do the same container combo. Ho Hum. This year, let’s spice it up a bit with some veggies!
Keep it simple
First, consider light and water. You can’t just pick any flower and vegetable combinations. They should need similar light conditions and growing habits.
Start with a large container with drainage holes in the bottom. You can use a window box, old metal washtub, or even cheaper metal containers at the dollar store. The container doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be able to let the extra water drain out so the plants roots won’t rot. If you love a container but it doesn’t have drainage holes, get the drill out and make some.
Fill the pot with a potting soil mix and sprinkle in some slow-release fertilizer and water-retaining polymer like Soil Moist. Water your little oasis at least every other day.
You can find some containers that are built to hold layers of plants. Usually they have a basket frame with straw cloth liner. There are holes in the liner to make it easier to figure out where to put the plants.
Grasses stand tall
In my own containers, I like to use grasses as a focal point. They are double-duty plants, bringing height and interesting texture to the arrangement, then are easily popped into the landscape in the early fall. Try a combo of juncus grass with mustard greens, pansies, and cabbage for some oohs and aahhs.
Colorful clipping edibles
Lavender is a nice herb to use as a focal plant in the center of a pot. Who knew? I usually keep them in my landscape bed along the edge, but we are breaking that mold this year. Try planting lavender in the center with ornamental kale on the sides, then finish off the look with edible violas. How adorable and tasty!
In mid-June, plant your melons at the base of a fence and train the vines to grow vertically instead of horizontally. You might have to help the vine hold the fruit in place as it grows with a gentle sling made of nylon, but it is a real space saver in the garden and looks nicer. Melons make a great base plant, and so do cucumbers and squash. Some even look beautiful all by themselves in a colorful container.
Here’s a new idea to try with tomatoes.
In a layered hanging container, try planting a smaller variety of tomato around the bottom, then potato vine, begonias, and salvia on top of it. Add bonnie grape tomato plants with purple sweet potato vines, lime sweet potato vines, and fill it in with wax begonias and one large mystic spires salvia in the center.
This one will be a show stopper. Cut the tomatoes out after they have been harvested in the late summer and it can roll right into fall.
Contact Kelly Heidbreder at: email@example.com.
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