BROAD beans are easy to grow from seed and can be sown straight into the ground or under cover, depending on the season.
You can plant them outside before the soil gets too cold, in October and November, and once it starts warming up again in March or April, but during the winter months you can get ahead by planting seeds in modules and growing them in a greenhouse, coldframe or on a window sill.
It is also worth growing them in modules in March or April too, ready to plant out once they have put on a few leaves, so they don’t instantly fall victim to slugs and snails.
Just fill modules with seed compost, drench them in water using a watering can with a rose nozzle and once they have drained put one of the large seeds into each module, pushing it half way down into the moist compost.
If the drenching has made the compost more compact top it up, but you won’t need to water it for a day or two.
It’s a good idea to sow another lot of seeds about three or four weeks later, then more three or four weeks after that, so that the plants don’t all produce beans at the same time.
Sow up to a dozen seeds each time, depending on how much you like to eat broad beans.
You can sew seeds into catering-sized tin cans to grow some healthy lettuce
By DEBORAH STONE
Growing lettuce and fancy salad leaves from seed in a container is the ideal solution for those who want to get an early start to the season or are limited to balconies or courtyard gardens.
Seeds can be sown indoors from February in modules or straight into the container you will put outside, as long as you have the room.
Choose a container that is not too deep – because lettuces only have shallow roots – and make sure they have drainage holes so the plants don’t become waterlogged after a downpour.
If needs be you can drill holes into recycled containers such as large catering-sized tin cans, or if you don’t want to damage something like an old tin bath then grow the lettuce in a proper container that will sit on bricks of pieces of wood within the bath.
Fill your container with multi-purpose compost and water it before sowing the seeds, which are quite small and may get dislodged if you water them immediately after sowing.
Sow the seeds as thinly as you can – an inch or a couple of centimetres apart is ideal – then cover with just a thin layer of compost so the light can get through to them.
It is best just to sow half a dozen seeds at a time, then sow more in another fortnight, so you don’t have a glut of lettuce – or choose a multi-variety mix so there are different types of leaves to harvest.
It is best just to sow half a dozen seeds at a time
Keep them inside if the weather is very cold or put them in a sunny sheltered spot and invest in a horticultural fleece to throw over them at night if a frost is forecast.
Water the compost every few days so it does not dry out and the seedlings should emerge within a few weeks.
Repurposed items such as this wine crate can make the basis of a fun and creative combination container planting.
GARY BACHMAN — MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION SERVICE – Office of Ag Communications
Ease spring fever with combination containers
Putting together beautiful flowers and colorful foliage and enjoying combination containers is a pretty easy process. Just gather some pots and plant them with everything from heirloom vegetables to flowers or any other type of plant you like. It is an uncomplicated way to scratch that gardening itch when gardening in the landscape is not practical.
One convenient aspect of combination containers is that you easily can change out plant materials to match the season.
I believe more thought should be put into the container itself. I have a lot of fun picking out the container for combination planting. You can go old school and use classic terra cotta. There’s also a large selection of glazed ceramics to fit into any design scheme.
These containers can be very heavy and difficult to move. A solution is available in containers made out of foam-like materials that look just like their heavier cousins.
If you’re a fan of home remodeling shows like I am, finding something you can repurpose can be very satisfying. The uniqueness and beauty of these objects can serve as focal points themselves. Old-fashioned potato chip cans or wine crates are useful to the creative container garden designer.
Great yet simple ideas for unique containers for container gardening
Container gardening is the best solution if you love gardening but have space restrictions. Yes, not all of us are fortunate enough to own big independent homes with a lot of outdoor space but the love most people have for gardening need not be thwarted due to this space restraint; yes, try container gardening and you will be pleasantly surprised at how well it can thrive!
Ideas for container gardening
If you are a beginner just trying to figure out how to grow your container garden you need not worry about not having good ideas of how to go about it; thanks to the internet, you can get plenty of great ideas from this source or you could even try your local library for books that can guide you. But best is to use your own ingenuity and come up with out of the box ideas for a unique container garden.
Simple yet awesome containers available in your own house or your attic
One need not necessarily spend a fortune on buying those smart, beautiful and glossy containers to get into container gardening; rummage through your attic, cellars, basement of your home or your garage; you will be surprised to see how many you can find that not only serve the purpose of containers but also look really unique and creative.
Did you ever think of trying your old kitchen pots and kettles made of iron or your old sinks and bathtubs for starting your container gardening? Yes, there are a lot more things like the rickety wheelbarrow that you were planning on throwing away, those old wash tubs, cookie jars, coal boxes and a host of other such things that are great ideas to start up your container garden.
Places where you can find such innovative and unique containers
Organic container gardening for those avid gardeners who lack enough garden space
The term ‘organic’ has caught on in a big way and people are looking upon organic container gardening as a best solution to growing fresh organic vegetables in spite of having limited garden space. But before we look into ways of growing an organic container garden let us see the basics of container gardening and what is meant by organic gardening.
About container gardening
If you are an avid gardener but faced with a constraint for garden space what do you do? I am sure you would not give up but would try some other means of growing your own garden and here comes the perfect solution for your problem, container gardening.
Container gardening in a truly innovative method for growing a beautiful garden even in limited space; people have learnt that you can grow almost anything in containers. Container gardening is based on the same principles of growing potted plants but here you can grow not only ferns and flowers but can cultivate your own organic veggie container garden or a herb container garden for your kitchen.
Urbanisation has forced many of us to move from spacious farm lands to smaller homes or apartments with limited or virtually nil garden space. But the farmer in you craves to sow seeds and grow your own lovely garden and here comes the container gardening to your rescue.
Square Foot Gardening is an easy to understand method of planting vegetables which splits a gardeners plot into square foot areas rather than into rows. This system is especially good for beginners as it makes plant spacing much easier and also makes more sense for growing in a small space as most beginners do.
The idea is each square foot contains a certain amount of each crop depending on the size of the vegetable and how close they can be planted. The original SFG is an excellent concept but we do feel many of the planting distances are too tight to grow really impressive vegetables. Yes, you can grow some acceptable crops at the recommended spacing but if you have seen really healthy and vigourous fruit and vegetables I think you will be a little disappointed. For this reason we have created our own New Square Foot Garden Plans with more room for the plants to grow.
Here are a few reasons why wider spacings are better for your garden:
There are many articles about pollinator friendly flowers, but what about herbs? Herbs have many uses medicinal, culinary and even ornamental. They can be grown in containers, draping over walls and planted in drought tolerant landscapes and in the shade. Herbs are excellent choice for planting on hillsides to keep weeds smothered. Unfortunately, they are not usually considered to be part of the flower garden or landscape for our pollinating friends. With the many new varieties and old favorites available there is an herb out there for any use to beautify your garden.
Monarda or Bee Balm is a full sun perennial that most gardeners are familiar with. The bright red flowers of this plant are iconic. Though with recent introductions, there is a myriad of colors available. There are varieties such as ‘Lilac Lollipop’, with soft lilac colored blooms to ‘Coral Reef’ that has a mellowed orange hue. These new introductions can grow to approximately 24” in height depending on the variety, enjoying the same conditions as the parent plant. Deadheading will keep this plant producing blooms thought the growing season.