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Container gardening to suit your life and home

 

Photo credit: The Peterborough Examiner

Even a small garden bed can bring beauty to your living space and great bounty to your dinner table. Narrow raised beds alongside the The GreenUp Store in downtown Peterborough flourished last summer with species of squash, tomato, sunflowers and herbs. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Container gardening is one way your garden can be tailored to suit your life and home

KAREN HALLEY/Special to the Peterborough Examiner

May is here! Apple blossoms are starting to emerge, tulips are about to pop open, and many trees are showing their first sign of leaves. It’s not only the signs of spring that excite me at this time of year; it is the enjoyment of planning my garden.

I grew up planting a food garden with family, each May long weekend; it was the official start to spring at my childhood home. With a keen interest in the natural world and a love of getting my hands in the soil, I always enjoyed sowing the seeds, watching the garden grow, and eating the backyard harvest – my favourite being the juicy berries from the raspberry patch.

However, since the days of my childhood garden, I haven’t always had a backyard or the time to create and maintain a large plot. I have learned to take advantage of the time and space I’ve had to continue enjoying the benefits of growing small harvests for delicious summer meals.

My first garden was planted in the window of an inner city apartment building. I was living on my own for the first time and was trying to make my new place more like home. Instead of springing for typical houseplants, I grabbed some discarded pots from a neighbour’s recycling bin, purchased a bag of potting soil, and planted some seeds in my sunny windowsills.

That spring, I grew various edible flowers including nasturtium, pansies, and chamomile. The flowers brought colour and beauty to my living room and I was also able to enjoy them as lovely garnishes for salads and desserts while adding fresh flavors to my sandwiches.

If you’re considering your first experiment with gardening, The GreenUP Store and Resource Centre makes it easy with starter kits for growing edibles that include a mini-greenhouse, compost starter discs, and seeds – great for a windowsill garden or to get seeds started for transplanting later.

I have come a long way since my first window garden but I still opt to grow my tomatoes and peppers in pots. This is not because of space constraints, but because I am often away from my garden for short stints during the summer months and I enjoy an option that requires minimal commitment.

For this reason, container gardening is also a great option at the cottage where there may not always be someone around to tend to plants. Container gardening is extremely versatile. You can grow food on your balcony, patio, rooftop, fire escape, or boat deck.

Read the full story : The Peterborough Examiner

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

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