Topper’s container gardening

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Topper’s Place Container 

Container Gardening…

Container gardening isn’t just for indoors… or just for indoor plants… or even just for flowering plants… Over the years I’ve enjoyed all types of gardening and love sharing my experiences and tricks. I hope that you find something that will make your container gardening more enjoyable – and less work / more fun!

I’ve done tomatoes (determinate regular types and indeterminate cherry that I trained), cucumbers (bush varieties as well as a new variety of cold greenhouse cuke that was self-pollinating), muskmelon, sugar baby watermelon, peppers, broccolli, cabbage, radish, lettuces, bush beans (both Henderson Lima and Blue Lake Bush), bush peas, and my favs.. alpine strawberries – all in containers. Here you can see a young Celebrity Tomato plant some dwarf Bib Lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson Lettuce and the little white flowers peeking out from the shadows are Alpine Strawberries.

You’re limited only by your imagination, your location (light and space) and the containers…  Here is a shot of some of the many Alpines that I kept. I LOVE strawberries, especially these (the only thing better is chocolate – but, if you dipped the berries in the chocolate! Oh gosh, time to stop that thought, right now!). The flavor of the little alpines is just like the wild berries and is so much better than the large commercial types, one taste and you may not be satisfied with the ‘jumbo’ berries again. They started to set fruit again in January (the low light levels in November and December slowed them down), in fact, if you look really close you can see a single berry that is just starting to ripen. By the end of February I was picking fruit, it was just great! Alpines don’t send out runners so they make a nice potted plant. When they get too thick for the pot you split the crowns just as you would an African Violet or Hosta to make more plants. With enough light they will fruit continuously. Even though they are prone to Spider Mites in low humidity I found a slick way to keep them under control. I purchased a bag of Lady Bugs from the garden center store and on top of that I gave the plants a quick bath each week. A mild soap solution using tepid water in a 2 1/2 gallon bucket. Just tip the plants upside down and swish the foliage through the water. The mites don’t tolerate the moisture or the soap well at all and it’s perfectly safe to use on food producing plants. The lady bugs that got an occasional bath weren’t real happy but I’d pluck them out of the water and set them back on a plant and they were none the worse for their little dip! For the plants that I kept in the house I just gave them their weekly rinse, only takes a couple of seconds per plant, and shot them with the mister bottle each morning as I walked around to wake up (I’m not a coffee drinker so my morning stroll to check on the ‘kids’ was my way of starting my day….. hehehe).


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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