Two kinds of containers — food and floral (Google / Newsminer)

Read at : Google Alert – container garrdening

Container planting is an easy way to start Fairbanks garden

by Linden Staciokas/
FAIRBANKS — Every gardener I know is having the same ridiculous thoughts right now. You know what I mean, the little voices that say, “It reached 60 degrees today, it is fine to transplant my cabbage seedlings.” Or, “If I drape plastic over the row, it will be warm enough for my basil.” Nonsense. The ground is still too cold, so stop trying to convince yourself it is time to play in the garden. Concentrate, instead, on your containers.

It is the perfect time to be messing around with hanging baskets and the like, because once transplanting and direct seeding start in earnest, you won’t have as much time. Containers can be brought out on warm days right now, giving them a nice head start. I put mine on those garden wagons draped with clear plastic and drag them in and out each day.

I plant two kinds of containers — food and floral. The food containers are all five-gallon buckets I have scavenged over the years. I have one of carrots, since they take a long time to mature and I want to start eating some at the beginning of June. There are three buckets of container tomatoes and one of bush beans and bush peas. I also have a flat of mesclun, those cut and grow greens that come up quickly and will last through four or five shearings before I have to dump the contents and start a new one. (The roots are so small and close to the surface, they will thrive in a shallow box knocked together from scrap lumber.)

Finally, I have salad buckets, each populated with miniature chard, baby pak choi called Green Fortune, Sweetie Baby Romaine and one of those miniature heads of lettuce called Garden Babies. Since the roots can go deep instead of sideways, you can cram them closer to each other than you might in the garden.

I stagger starting those buckets, so that one comes to maturity every week starting about the first week of May. Each container provides about a week’s worth of salad greens, which are supplemented with bucket scallions, carrots and beans or peas.

As we finish a bucket, I mix in some fresh soil or compost and re-seed it with more of the same greens. That way six or seven revolving buckets of greens can take us from May into October; the buckets of scallions, tomatoes and beans/peas, are not replanted because they soon will be available in profusion from my garden plot.


Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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