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The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

Growing Garlic in Containers

There aren’t many scents more delicious than garlic-laden food simmering in your kitchen. This bulbous plant is used around the world as a seasonings and condiment. Its popularity has made it a staple in modern grocery stores and specialty markets.

Still, store-bought garlic can’t compare to fresh garlic grown right in your own home. Garlic is a very hardy plant that can even be grown in the winter, so you and your family can enjoy its savory goodness all year long. Growing garlic is similar to cooking with garlic, because both beginning chefs and seasoned cooks can excel at it. And here’s the best part: when you’re growing garlic in containers, no garden is necessary.

The Best Containers for Growing Garlic

No matter what container your select, make sure that it can withstand long exposure to sunlight. Here are two that are perfectly suited for the task.

Tinley ceramic planters. Designed with a tree-bark texture, these planter pots come in black, white, or brown. They are 13″ in both diameter and height, so they’re compact enough for any area of your kitchen, windowsill, or patio.

– Vertical garden with containers. This multi-use product can be used to grow garlic or virtually any herb or seasoning you could imagine. The tough fir frame holds 16 small terra cotta pots that are as cute as they are functional.

The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

How to Grow Garlic

If you’re not sure about what variety of garlic to plant, DigginFood has some great tips about selecting local garlic varieties.

Step 1: Choose a high-quality potting soil. Garlic is known to develop root fungus when grown in subpar soil. Fill your container with your soil, leaving approximately two inches of space at the top.

Step 2: Select the largest cloves and break them apart. Make sure not to break the paper-like wrapper that encases each clove. Plant them 3″ deep within the soil, and 5″ apart from each other. Fill each hole back up with soil, leaving 1″ between the tip of the clove and the surface.

Step 3: Gather straw or bamboo. During cold months, cover your garlic with these materials to keep them warm. Remove them immediately when the weather heats back up.

Step 4: Wait for your garlic to grow. Keep the soil moist at all times. Begin fertilizing it every three weeks with a liquid fertilizer.

Step 5: Harvest. When the bottom third of the leaves have yellowed, it’s time to pick your garlic!

There is an endless amount of recipes you can prepare with garlic. From sauces to meat, your home-grown garlic is sure to be a hit with your family, friends, and guests.

 

Photo: EcoLibrary

Railing Window Boxes on a Brownstone in New York City

Drip Irrigation for Window Boxes

Irrigation Through the Ages

When it came to irrigation, the farmers of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Rome had geography on their side. Civilizations have always sprung up around large bodies of fresh water because of the fertile farmland they produce.

Today’s farmers have invested their resources into modern, high-tech irrigation systems that provide hydration to crops being grown across plains, mountains, and even deserts. Urban farmers aren’t lucky enough to have access to large tracts of land, or proximity to the undisturbed freshwater lakes and rivers that make irrigation simpler for traditional farmers.

The Benefits of Drip Irrigation

Growing fruits, vegetables and flowers in your window box can feel like a daunting task if you haven’t done this before. Window box planters are made from artificial containers that don’t allow for proper water drainage. Hot climates, especially in cities, make shallow soil dry out faster. This is especially true when your window box is exposed to direct sunlight.

Railing Window Boxes on a Brownstone in New York City

Drip irrigation has revolutionized urban farming
 The balcony drip kits listed below are perfect for beginners and seasoned farmers alike.

The solution? Look no further than drip irrigation. This form of irrigation allows water to slowly drip into the roots of your plants. Water application efficiency becomes very high, and your foliage itself can remain dry. Below are three of the top drip irrigation systems for flower boxes on the market.

  • Balcony drip kit with variable timer. This is an excellent irrigation choice for urban farmers who grow in a variety of different containers in the same vicinity. The circuit system can be set up to water window box planters, flower pots, and hanging baskets all at once. Once turned on, this drip kit exudes a water pressure of an even 14.5 ps, perfect for urban gardeners who strive to conserve water.
  • Oasis self watering kit. Are you worried that your urban garden may require numerous drip irrigation systems? If you have less than 20 plants, don’t fret. This kit operates on one 9V battery and is ideal for balcony, patio, or small-scale gardening in city plots with other farmers.
  • Basic drip kit. If you’re not in need of a timer, then you may want to consider this simpler version of the balcony drip kit. The amount of water dispersed throughout each planet can still be calibrated – you can choose for plants to receive between 0 to 1.59 gallons of water per hour.

All of these drip kits come with instructions for urban farmers who may be setting up drip irrigation systems for the very first time. As with all irrigation techniques, make sure to calibrate each planter box according to the specific watering needs of each plant.

See how the color pops? The flowers are bright, and the window box (Arch Decora Shown) is an architectural element all on its own!

Lucky 7 Decorative Planter Liners

Wrought iron window boxes and decorative planter liners add instant curb appeal to any home. Imagine the front of your home as it is. Maybe it’s a little plain, or maybe you have some nice landscaping in the yard. Now imagine splashes of pink, yellow, orange and blue spilling out of planters hung under the windows of your home.

Now that you have pictured the final product, it’s time to get down to details. HooksAndLattice.com offers a variety of window box liners that are sure to meet your needs.

See how the color pops? The flowers are bright, and the window box (Arch Decora Shown) is an architectural element all on its own!

See how the color pops? The flowers are bright, and the window box (Arch Decora Shown) is an architectural element all on its own!

Many of our customers choose to purchase our metal window box liners because of their versatility. Something like a galvanized window box with oil rubbed bronze finish is the perfect example. This elegant, yet simple window box is well suited for a number of uses. Many customers use this as a planter insert, for example, placing it inside a wrought iron window box cage. This style of planter insert is also capable of being used as is topping deck railings, hanging from railings using supports or of course hung under a window.

If the smooth finish is not to your taste but you love the bronze color, consider a textured bronze galvanized decorative plant liner. This rust resistant window box has a hammered finish giving it loads of character. With a variety of sizes available online, you are sure to find a product to fit your project.

Of course bronze finishes are not the only option you have when shopping for metal window box liners. Another classic choice of top shelf materials for outdoor applications is copper. A real copper window box is unique in the fact that it will change over time. Starting out the same color as a shiny new penny, this precious metal planter ages with dignity. It gains a sophisticated green patina over the years, depending on use and the weather it’s exposed to.

Like modern design? This sleek black window box makes the yellow and orange tones pop!

Like modern design? This sleek black window box insert makes the yellow and orange tones pop!

These bronze finished and real copper window box liners are great for adding a classic look to any home. If you are after a more modern look something like the Galvanized Black Metal outdoor planter gives you just the style you are after. Aside from looking great, this planter insert is of the highest quality construction. Formed of galvanized sheet metal and then powder coated to prevent rust, you will be enjoying this window box for years to come.

As you can see, HooksAndLattice.com makes a point to offer a variety of products to suit the tastes and needs of our customers. For our full line of window boxes, planters, and other home and garden accessories be sure to visit our website. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please call us at 1-800-896-0978 to discuss building custom planters.

Seedlings Sprouting

Growing Herbs in Containers: Light, Life Cycles and Planting

There’s nothing quite like fresh herbs. Instead of making a run to the store when a recipe calls for some extra zing, what if you could just head to your herb garden to get that fresh rosemary, basil, or mint? Growing herbs in containers is a simple project that can yield big rewards. Below are a few things to consider before planting your herb containers:

You can sprout seedlings in just about anything. Invest in long-term solutions for best success growing herbs in containers.

You can sprout seedlings in just about anything.
Invest in long-term solutions for best success growing herbs in containers.

Light

Herbs require strong light to grow, which can be a problem if you’re trying to harvest chives during the short, dark days of winter. The best herbs to grow can be planted in indoor containers. Planting in herb containers, either indoors or outdoors, allows for the pots to be moved around according to the sun. If you plant an herb that needs less sun, like parsley, simply move it out of the sun in the middle of the day. On the flipside, you can move a sun-loving herb around your yard or house for optimal growth. The Glendon Tapered Round Planter can be used indoors or outdoors, allowing you to give your herbs the light they need.

Life Cycles

A good understanding of plant lifecycle helps when growing herbs. Allowing your herbs to go to seed and turn into flowers signals that their lifecycle is about to end. The best thing to do is to harvest your herbs frequently. Luckily, with something as delicious as fresh herbs, you will most likely be plucking it often. If you see a flower forming, just pinch it off to keep your herbs happy, healthy, and productive. A good herb container for keeping an eye on your plants is the Tinley Ceramic Low Bowl Planter, which has a short profile so your herbs and their progress are always in view.

Planting Herbs

A successful herb garden starts right from the beginning with strategic planting. You may be tempted to cram lots of herbs into the herb container, but make sure to read the plant tag carefully and allow enough room for the fully grown herb – overcrowding can stop plants from expanding their root system and be harmful in the cold winter months. The best herbs to grow will easily fit into your pot now and when they are full size. A good option for an herb container that allows room for plenty of plants is the Danbury Round Planter, which has a wide diameter for plenty of planting room.

With a little research and a little planning, a container herb garden will be spicing up your kitchen in no time! For best results, shop smaller containers that fit on countertops or tables.

Flower Box Holders for Railings

We all know that flower boxes are a great way to add life and color to any home. No matter how dull the walls might look, window boxes will add an element of cheerfulness and freshness to the image, significantly improving your home’s appeal. Moreover, you can also increase your house’s curb appeal by placing window boxes on railings, thus embellishing stairways, balconies or terraces.

This is done with the help of flower box holders which, as the name suggests, allow you to attach your flower box to railing and support the weight of the planters. There are different kinds of holders, and they differ in terms of size, design and, most importantly, the type of the railing they are compatible with and the way in which they attach themselves to the railing.

Wrought iron railing brackets suspend a beautifully planted Fiberglass Supreme window box.

Wrought iron railing brackets suspend a beautifully planted Fiberglass Supreme window box.

Holders for wood railings

Railing brackets for wood decks allow you to attach planters securely without having to drill any holes in the material. This is very practical, as it allows you to rearrange planters whenever you feel like making a décor change, without worrying about any unaesthetic holes. These planters use either adjustable railing hooks which allow them to fit on railings of different width, or a clamp system that utilizes an adjustable screw so that it can be attached to any wooden railings, regardless of their thickness.

Holders for wrought iron railings

Many homes use wrought iron railings, which require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan than their wooden counterparts. Rail planters are attached to the deck through brackets similar to the ones for wooden railings. You can choose either adjustable deck railings or metal brackets for your specific rail width.

You can find a great diversity of models of metal brackets for your specific needs. Make sure that you know the measurements of the window box you want to mount on the specific railing, as some types of holders are compatible with window boxes up to a certain width and/or length. And, if you are not opting for an adjustable holder, don’t forget to measure accurately the width of your railing before placing your order. Click Here to contact us for consultation.

All holders on the market are coated with a special finish which makes them impervious to water and humidity, and thus less prone to rust.  This ensures a long life expectancy of these products, making them a cost-efficient purchase which can help you add to the curb appeal of your home for many years to come.

A flower box beneath a window with shutters

What Size Window Boxes Should You Use?

A home with several window boxes

A good rule of thumb: Match the width of the flower box to the width of the window. Use smaller flower boxes on smaller windows, and larger ones on larger windows.

Matching the right window box to your home can add curb appeal, but there are many things to consider before making a final decision. What materials should the box be made of? How big should the box be? What size and depth is best for the plants that you want to pair with your home?

A flower box beneath a window with shutters

For windows with shutters, consider using a flower box wider than the window.

 

Window Box Length Tips

Once you’ve settled on a flower box material and style, deciding how long your new window boxes should be is the next big decision. In general, window boxes look best if they are the same width as the window, but there are exceptions to the rule. For example, if your home has shutters or wide exterior trim pieces, you may want your window boxes to run under these architectural features or sit slightly inside. Since many windows are around three feet long, almost every window box style is available in 30″ and 36″ lengths.

When placing a window box on a deck or porch railing, it should fill the space without making the railing unusable. Leave several inches between the end of the window box and any steps so that your growing plants don’t make these spaces unsafe. Use a cardboard cut-out or chalk outline to help yourself visualize the perfect window box for your space if you’re unsure of the right size.

an eight foot long window box under a window

This 96″ long window box was custom made for a homeowner who wanted something impressive! Very long flower boxes look stately.

For a very long window, railing, or fence, you can either mount several small window boxes or one large one. Most Hooks & Lattice window boxes can be purchased in 60″ and 72″ lengths, and many can be manufactured in even larger custom sizes. We’ve built flower boxes over 100″ inches long! Long window boxes look dramatic and impressive; just remember that you’ll probably need some serious help to lift and mount them.

An XL window box

This extra-wide, extra-deep window box has lots of room for plants and their roots.

 

Window Box Depth & Width

Window box suppliers like Hooks & Lattice usually offer our most popular boxes with standard dimensions and extra-large boxes that are wider and deeper than usual. Standard boxes are a good fit for many homes, but sometimes the extra-large flower boxes are more appropriate. Organic Gardening magazine recommends measuring the height of your windows before settling on a size. A box that is 20 to 25 percent of the height of your window feels adequately robust on most homes. If you choose very large brackets for your flower boxes, consider their visual impact in your decision as well.

Bigger boxes have a practical benefit: Because they hold more soil, they won’t dry out as quickly, and so they will allow you to plant less drought-tolerant plants. For this reason, we recommend that gardeners in hot climates use XL hayrack window boxes instead of hayrack planters in normal sizes. Deep flower boxes also work better for perennial plants, which tend to root more deeply than annuals. Extra-large boxes are more flexible to plant, even allowing multiple rows of small annuals if you want to create layers of colors.

This cedar flower box is just 6" deep, so your flowers will draw most of the attention.

This cedar flower box is just 6″ deep, so your flowers will draw most of the attention.

On the other hand, shallow boxes look nice on homes with delicate features, since the smaller box and brackets won’t overwhelm the home’s architectural details. Small window boxes won’t stand out in an obvious fashion, instead providing a subtle space for gardening. Our Tapered Cedar Window Box is just 6″ high, putting the spotlight on your plants. These smaller boxes are great for annuals, herbs and artificial plants. Because they hold less soil, they’ll weigh less, making them easier to lift and mount.

As with any décor decision, you should be aware of these design suggestions but ultimately choose whatever looks best to you. Don’t be afraid to defy convention! With some skill, almost anything can look great. Above all, window box gardening should be a fun and relaxing way to express your creativity. Experiment with different options and find the one that suits your style. Need flower box sizing advice? Comment below and we’ll let you know what we think!