Container gardens for vegetables popular (Google / Mercury News)

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http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-living/ci_15072431?nclick_check=1

Container gardens for vegetables are growing in popularity

By Dean Fosdick for the Associated Press

Two of the hottest trends in gardening are containers and cultivating fresh food, and savvy families are beginning to combine the two. They’re growing their vegetables in pots.

Improvements in potting soils and fertilizers have made this a straightforward and generally successful exercise, says Pamela Crawford, a landscape architect who has written four books about container gardening. Her latest is “Easy Container Combos: Vegetables and Flowers” (Color Garden Publishing, 168 pp., 2010).

“It’s so easy to put a tomato into a pot. It almost grows itself,” Crawford says. “It’s a whole different ballgame than putting one in the ground. There’s less weeding involved and fewer insects to fight. Container gardens are more productive and involve less work.”

Shapely pots and colorful plants are a great combination for growing edibles — especially where garden space is lacking. Containers can deliver the goods in large quantities.

“I’ve been able to harvest as many as 236 small spicy peppers all at once from four plants in a 16- to 20-inch container,” Crawford says, referring to habaneros. “I’ve also been able to get my fill of tomatoes from a pot that included a few ornamental sweet potato vines with their large root systems. It’s amazing how little ground space plants need to be productive. They can tolerate being crowded.”

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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