Colour on balconies, decks and porches

Photo credit: Dallas News

Railing planters filled with colorful combinations add interest to balconies, decks and porches /Gardener’s Supply Co.

Plant variety of outdoor containers to enhance the view

Brighten up your patio, deck or front entrance with containers. They’re an excellent way to add color, fragrance and beauty where plantable space is limited or nonexistent.

Set a few containers on the front or back steps, in the corner of your deck or any location where they can be enjoyed. Try stacking and planting several containers to create a display with greater vertical interest. Check the views when looking from inside the house as well as when outdoors. Strategically place containers to be spotted from frequently used windows.

Save even more space by using railing planters. You can dress up the porch or deck by filling these planters with colorful flowers and edibles. Carefully inspect a product to make sure it is sturdy and will be easily installed given your property’s specifics. Reduce time spent installing and maintaining with easy-to-install self-watering rail planters, like Viva balcony rail planters from or metal English troughs at Home Depot and other local retailers.

Don’t limit yourself to flowers. Mix in a few edibles to bring some homegrown flavor to outdoor entertaining. You and your guests will enjoy plucking a few mint leaves for beverages, basil to top a slice of pizza or a sprig of dill for just-grilled fish.

Read the full article: The Dallas Morning News

Indoor Plants in Winter

Photo credit: The Record Herald

Rosemary in window-Turn 1/4 every few days to keep growth even (B.Petrucci)

Winter Care Tips for Indoors Plants

by Carol Kagan, Master Gardener


From Master Gardeners I have learned a few key things, so here is my quick tip list followed by a number of great resource sites. It is important to check the needs of each plant since they can vary greatly.

Aloe roots crop -
Aloe roots crop –

1. Be sure the plant is potted in the right size container (with a drainage hole) and right potting soil.

If you are digging it up and dragging it in from the outdoors then potting it up, don’t use garden soil. It’s too heavy.

2- Water only as needed when the soil is dry.

Water from the top until water comes out the drainage hole (You do have a drainage hole, right?) into the saucer. About two hours later, drain any excess water from the saucer. Don’t allow the roots to stand in water. If you don’t see drainage but have watered well, check for a clog in the hole and clear it. Inconsistent watering is one of the primary reasons for plant loss.

3- Use room temperature water.

Leave tap water out overnight, uncapped or uncovered, to allow the chlorine and fluorine added to city water to dissipate. Although these probably don’t harm plants, you want the water to be at room temperature anyway. Rainwater, snow melt and well water are ok. Don’t use water run through water softeners.

4- Light should be appropriate for the plant. – See more at:

Balcony gardening

Photo credit: Edrick Tobias Molina

(Tokyo – Balcony – cherry tomato)

CAROLE MCCRAY: Grow tomatoes, peppers, herbs on your balcony

No yard? No problem. Reach for a tomato from a container on your deck or enjoy one from a container on an apartment balcony.

As long as you have a space that receives about eight hours of sunlight during the day, you can have a container garden.

There are vegetables ideally suited to growing in containers.

• Tomatoes are one. Their tenacity and ability to grow in small spaces make them good container plants. Sunny, sheltered locations are ideal for tomatoes, but if the space is windy and exposed, choose smaller varieties such as patio and cherry tomatoes. (Patio tomatoes are the only type of tomato that can produce a decent crop in partial shade.)

If you keep watering and fertilizing a little, your tomatoes will keep producing throughout the summer.

• Bush beans can be planted in containers because they don’t require much staking and they ripen fast. Bush beans have the extra benefit of adding nitrogen to the soil, which helps the next crop planted in the pot.

• For colorful and ornamental vegetables, try chili peppers. If you plant them in a decorative container, it can be a dramatic touch and one you will enjoy looking at. Also, your container with chili peppers can double as an edible table centerpiece.

• Herbs do well in containers. Rosemary, any of the thymes, marjoram, various basils and parsley are popular culinary herbs that like lots of sun. It is nice to have them close to the kitchen where you can step outside and snip fresh herbs for your favorite dishes.

• A container plant that is both ornamental and has texture is kale. It can span the seasons, planting and harvesting as the season goes along since it is a good cool weather crop. Try grouping pots of kale with colorful potted flowers such as zinnias, impatiens or marigolds for a decorative touch, some contrast and interesting textures.

• Lettuce is a good container plant. However, in the hot summer heat, it will bolt quickly. When that happens, cut the entire plant and refrigerate it, making sure all soil, debris and insects are gone. Do not wash the lettuce until you are ready to eat it.

If you want lettuce throughout the season, plant several containers in stages to keep harvesting.


Read the full article: Indiana Gazette

The year of containers

Photo credit: Nha Hoan Le (Santa Monica, CA, USA)

Containers on a balcony

Cooperative Extension: This year, consider planting a container garden

by Carrie Murphy UD Cooperative Extension


Containers can make a garden when space is limited, in-ground growing is not an option, or accessibility and convenience are considerations. For example, plant herbs in containers near the door for easy access while cooking. Containers can also serve as accessories by adding additional dimension and flexibility to grow in spaces you normally couldn’t. If strategically planted and well-maintained, they can be highly productive, yielding fresh produce for your family, friends and neighbors.

Containers can be made from wood, clay, fiber, plastic, metal or stone, and vary in size and shape. Cost and durability also vary. Whenever possible, reuse and recycle appropriate items that are lying around your home that might be used for planting. Every container, whether recycled or not, must have holes to insure good drainage. You also need a good, nutrient-rich growing medium that will retain moisture and still drain well. Commercial container mixes are readily available in local garden centers, or you can blend your own.

Situate your containers for maximum sunlight and easy access to water. Most vegetables and herbs will need at least six hours of sunlight a day; however, others will need more to flower and fruit properly. Remember to harvest regularly to maintain productivity.

Start with healthy plants – disease resistant varieties if available – and maintain your plants well to prevent insect or disease problems. Monitor your plants regularly for any symptoms or signs of a pest problem. If you suspect a problem, contact your Extension office for help with identification and treatment recommendations.

Read the full article: Newark Post Online

Gardening on your balcony, patio or unused driveway (Google / SteubenCourier)

Read at : Google Alert – container gardening

Home Help: Balcony gardens

Gardening on your balcony, patio or unused driveway is a great alternative when you cannot raise produce in the ground.

When placing your container garden, look for a full-sun location. Produce needs full sunlight to collect enough energy for a good crop.

“Pots can also be placed on dollies or wheels to follow the sun if necessary,” said Nancy Pollard, a University of Illinois Extension horticulture educator. “An old child’s wagon will grow lettuce nicely and can be moved to where the sun shines. Taller plants may be too top heavy to move easily. Don’t have eight hours of full sun? Try some leafy vegetables in light shade.”

If a container holds soil and has drainage holes in the bottom, it can be used for the garden. Big containers are best. They must be able to stay upright with fully grown vegetables in them, unless it is of the hanging variety. Large containers also make it easier to keep the soil moisture from fluctuating.

In the container, use a potting mix, not heavy garden soil. Many have slow-release nutrients or fertilizers already added. The size of the plant determines how much soil it will need. A gallon container will grow about five leafy lettuce plants, but only one plant of Swiss chard collards or kale.


Planting your own backyard (or window box) garden (Google / Daily News)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Planting your own backyard (or window box) garden: What to know before you grow

Whether or not you’ve got a green thumb, this just might be the year to get in touch with your inner gardener. It’s politically correct (check out the Obamas’ vegetable plot),  it’s thrifty, and it’s healthy.

“We’ve had a lot of interest this year in edible gardening and seed companies are selling out of their seeds like never before,” says Charlie Nardozzi, senior horticulturist at the National Gardening Association. “People are concerned about the economy and they are trying to save money by gardening.”

The association calculated that you’ll save $600 a year by planting a 20 by 30 foot garden and growing your own vegetables. If you grow pricey veggies like mesclun greens ($10 a pound at stores), you’ll save even more.

But monetary concerns aside, gardens are sprouting up because consumers want to eat healthier food, Nardozzi says. “There is concern about the safety of the food and what is sprayed on it,” he explains. “People want better tasting fresh food and they’re tired of eating produce that has been gassed. There is also concern over the environment. Having a garden is a way to use less energy, create less pollution and reduce global warming.” Continue reading Planting your own backyard (or window box) garden (Google / Daily News)

Medicinal herb garden in your windowsill (Google / Boston Green Living Examiner)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Grow a medicinal herb garden in your windowsill

Growing a medicinal herbal tea garden on your windowsill is easier than you think. Sipping herb tea is especially rewarding using plants you have grown and harvested yourself. Using them to treat common everyday ailments is even more rewarding. Somehow growing your own medicine is like medicine in itself. Kind of like a dose of prevention, wisdom and love all wrapped up in a soothing brew. Growing an herbal tea garden is easier than you think. All you need is a sunny window, seeds, dirt and some pots and you are well on your way to enjoying the bountiful world of herbs.

The beauty of growing your own herbs is that you can harvest it as you use it or dry your own herbs for later. Considering most tea bags are the “dregs” you will feel indulgent! Continue reading Medicinal herb garden in your windowsill (Google / Boston Green Living Examiner)

Window Gardens: A Hobby for the Hurried (G. ANTOSH)

Read at : Gary Antosh <>

Window Gardens:  A Hobby for the Hurried

Gardening can be a relaxing hobby. In fact, studies have shown that gardening reduces stress and even increases longevity. Unfortunately, traditional gardening consumes so much time that the people who need relaxation most rarely have time to garden.

Luckily, there is an alternative for busy people, a window garden. Gardening in a window can be as simple as buying several potted plants and putting them on a windowsill. For people with just a bit more time on their hands, a window box offers more room for creativity.

Start a Window Box…

To start a window box garden, you will need a nice deep window box that runs the width of your windowsill. You can find a box that blends with any decor, ranging from fancy wrought iron boxes with glass inserts to simple solid cedar boxes. Of course, the inexpensive shallower plastic window boxes will also work, but these boxes require more maintenance, since they will dry out much more quickly. Continue reading Window Gardens: A Hobby for the Hurried (G. ANTOSH)

Window Box Herb Gardening (Google / Chef Paz)

Read at : Google Alert – gardning

Window Box Herb Gardening

While Paz has been recovering from surgery, she’s been dreaming about a garden in her window.  In the city, it’s a challenge to maintain any type of garden. The wind, heat, car exhaust, and even the noise test the resilience of the most hardy plants – and often test the patience of the gardener, too. But if your apartment has a sunny window sill, you can grow some of the same herbs I plant in my garden, indoors in pots, or outside in a window box.

There are a few secrets to successful window sill gardening. Most important, choose herbs that don’t grow too wide or tall. Don’t overwater if your herbs are growing indoors; on the other hand, herbs growing in a box outside your window need frequent water, to compensate for evaporation from the wind. Most herbs benefit from frequent snipping, but never cut more than one-third of the foliage at a time.

Chives, basil, parsley, rosemary and thyme are good choices. They’re easy to grow, and a small amount added to a recipe will have a big flavor impact. Paz can grow her favorite cilantro, too. Don’t forget about mint; invasive by nature, mint can only invade as far as the confines of your window box or flower pot, and no farther. You can try interesting varieties, like chocolate or pineapple mint. Nasturtiums, which you can start from seed, add color to your window garden, and to your salads.

In my herb garden, flat-leaf parsley is definitely the star of the show this year. I started with nine plants, purchased from our local organic gardening center, and set in the ground in late May. After a slow first month, the parsley really took off. Now I’m harvesting every day, trying to keep up with the late-season growth spurt.


Gardening On Your Patio (Google / Gardeners World Online)

Read at : Google Alert – gardening

Gardening On Your Patio

Patio gardening is for everyone with a patio. Even if you have a yard, don’t forget your patio or balcony. These are great places for gardening in containers. A trellis with ivy or some other type of climbing vine can become a shield from neighbors. They can also provide a reprieve from an unsightly yard or street. Don’t have or like a trellis but still want to block a view, consider a large plant – Ficus or other large container plant. So remember to grow in containers, grow vertically with a trellis and downward with hinging pots. Hanging plants such as a spider plant or a fern can become a conversation piece. Soon your patio or balcony with become your own personal retreat from the stresses of the day. Continue reading Gardening On Your Patio (Google / Gardeners World Online)