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Hooks & Lattice Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Top Ten Gardening Gifts for Christmas 2014

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

 

Hello, holidays! ‘Tis the season to discover wonderful and unique holiday gift ideas for family, friends and Secret Santa trades. Check out these home and garden decorations to delight a range of loved ones and colleagues on your shopping list this year.

This set of mini garden statues fit gardens of any size.

This set of mini garden statues fit gardens of any size.

1. Gorgeous Garden Statues 

Price range: $30-$70

These pretty little toadstools make great gardening gifts all-around. Whether planting in small containers or a large back yard, statuettes lend an element of surprise to botanical arrangements. In addition to bright, whimsical colors our selection also features metallic styles like pewter statues for more minimalist gardeners.

 

Glittering with fresh 'snow' this live pine wreath welcomes everyone warmly.

Glittering with fresh ‘snow’ this live pine wreath welcomes everyone warmly.

 


2. “Whispering Winds” Winter Wreath

Price range: $50-$60 with shipping

Delicate snowflakes, noble fir sprigs and silvery frosted accents – it doesn’t get more wonderfully wintery than that! This living evergreen wreath makes an elegant front door hanger for the holidays. Great for party hosts, office gift trades and next-door neighbors.

 

Fun and unique for the gardener who has everything.

Fun and unique for the gardener who has everything.


3.Decorative Moss Obelisk 

Price range: Starting at $46

Although these garden decorations are not officially holiday-themed, they certainly feel seasonal. Each cheerful wire obelisk is embellished with lifelike moss-mat material. Gift recipients will love them for front steps or the holiday hearth. Available in three sizes.

A complete DIY kit for indoor gardeners.

A complete DIY kit for indoor gardeners.

 

4. Hanging Teardrop Terrarium Kit

Price range: $25 + shipping

Whisk life and color into someone’s wintertime decor this season. Terrarium kits are among those unique holiday gift ideas with a “green” spirit. And anyone can assemble and enjoy with this easy all-in-one package – kids and growing-novices included!

 

Fun and modern, terrariums fit in windowsills and on desktops for a pop of color.

Fun and modern, terrariums fit in windowsills and on desktops for a pop of color.

 

5. Bottle Terrarium Kit for Tabletops

Price range: $39 + shipping

Just a touch more advanced than our #4 gardening gift suggestion, this tabletop terrarium kit lets indoor growers start from seed. Again, we love this as a Christmas gift idea for eco-inclined youngsters. Terrariums also make memorable ideas for holiday gift exchanges with a $50 spending limit.

 

Rolls come in 4, 8, 16 and 33 foot lengths.

Lengths: 4, 8, 16 and 33-foot

 

6. Coconut Coir Liner Rolls

Price range: $25 and up

This may not seem like the most exciting of garden gifts, but we guarantee container growers who use coco husk will love you for it! Want to spruce up the presentation? Add fun wrapping paper and tie springtime seeds onto the roll with a festive bow.

 

Urban dwellers love these modern hanging planters.

Urban dwellers love these modern hanging planters.

 

7. Lunar Hanging Bowl Planter

Price range: $24 and up

Know someone with an eye for modern details? This indoor hanging basket is oh-so sleek and stunning. Potted with simple green grasses and herbs, it’s the ultimate addition to minimal-chic home decor. Also available in sphere and oblong shapes for a modern mix-and-match.

 

This should spice things up!

This should spice things up!

 

8. Hot Pepper “Foodie” Growing Kit

Price range: $22 + shipping

Help friends and family heat up cold winter nights with some spicy, homegrown peppers. Ideal for lovers of cuisine or as a creative $25 gift exchange idea. All materials and instructions included. Foodie Seed Kits also come in tomato and basil varieties.

 

Eco-conscious giving never looked so stylish!

Eco-conscious giving never looked so stylish!


9. Lavender Seed Kit and Bamboo Planter

Price range: $20 + shipping

Looking for Secret Santa ideas in the $25 range? Tap into the appeal of lovely lavender for your lucky recipient. This handy growing kit is made in the USA and totally eco-friendly. Great for windowsills and work desks. Not into purple? Check out green herb alternatives like mint and parsley.

 

A green & recycled gift for small space gardening.

A green & recycled gift for small space gardening.

10. Basil Seeds & Recycled Bottle Planter Kit

Price range: $40-$45 with shipping

Calling this the ultimate “green” Christmas gift isn’t a stretch. A re-purposed wine bottle turned into eco-friendly growing space? Um, yes please! Add some basil seeds to the equation and you’ve got a delectable pesto-producing plot that doubles as attractive home decor. A no-brainer for anyone on your holiday shopping list. Check out more ideas like this one here.

 

For more unique, garden-centric holiday gift ideas be sure to visit us at http://www.hooksandlattice.com and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Group containers filled with colorful perennials to maximize seasonal decor.

Best Containers for Perennial Success

Group containers filled with colorful perennials to maximize seasonal decor.

Group containers filled with colorful perennials to maximize seasonal decor.

Best Containers for Perennial Success

If you want the beauty of fresh plants without the trouble of planting new seeds and starters each year, perennials are the way to go. These plants come in a huge variety of options and keep growing, year after year. Perennials are perfect plants for containers, but choosing the right planter is key to perennial container gardening success. Here are a few things to look for:

Size

Perennials tend to have larger root systems than annuals, so size is a very important factor in determining container gardening success. Larger pots also give perennials room to “overwinter”, or last multiple seasons, because the larger amount of soil and roots protects the plants from freezing conditions. Pay close attention to plant tags when choosing your perennials. Consider how big the plant will be at its fullest, and pay special attention to planting depth. For plants that don’t require as much root room, a shorter container such as this Lattice Premier Planter will work. If you are planting larger perennials that need room to grow, opt for something like the Laguna Premier Planter.

Drainage

Pick a container for perennials that has at least one hole for drainage so the roots get some air circulation and don’t rot. More holes can be better for some plants, but don’t pick a container with too many holes or the plant will lose all nutrition from the water. The material can also play a big role in how a container holds water. Plastic containers are lightweight and tend to hold moisture well. Clay pots can be more attractive but may not hold water as long if they aren’t glazed or sealed. A good alternative is an imitation or composite resin pot, like these Eloquence Tall Resin Planters, that are lightweight and hold water well.

Style

Perennial flowers containers should compliment the style of your home and the flowers in the pot. Consider the look you are going for; if it is a sleek, modern look opt for a container like the Devondale Round Planter. A more traditional style garden would work well in a container like the Fieldfare Planter. Perennials do well mixed together in large containers or separately. A grouping of small containers like the Glendon Tapered Round Planters is a trendy and stylish option to showcase plants in a way that can be rearranged and moved. Remember than perennials in containers can thrive for years, so pick a container you will be happy with for years to come.

The good thing about perennials is that they are generally hardy plants. If you feel overwhelmed trying to find the perfect container for perennials, experiment a bit until you find one that fits your needs. You plants can always be moved from one to another. For more information and resources on perennials, visit the Perennial Plant Association. Soon you will be on your way to a beautiful container garden year after year.

Make your victory garden even more patriotic by lining beds with American flags.

American Victory Gardens – A Brief History of Food and Freedom

Starting a garden is a fitting way to show your patriotism this Fourth of July. That’s right, fresh grown veggies and fruits are the very reason Cobb Salads and apple pies are so American. And, it just so happens, planting food for freedom is part of our nation’s history.

Victory, Garden Style

During the first half of the twentieth century, as our nation was entangled in World Wars I and II, growing fruits, vegetables and herbs was actually a part of the war effort. These civilian contributions came to be known as Victory Gardens.

By producing food locally, communities were able to subsist on their own harvests while easing demand on the national food supply. Plots ranged from small raised bed gardening on urban rooftops, to large suburban yards and rural fields. According to The National WWII Museum archives, at the height of the Victory Garden during World War II, there were more than 20 million individual plots operating across the USA. Now that’s what we call patriotic produce!

Make your victory garden even more patriotic by lining beds with American flags.

Make your victory garden even more patriotic by lining beds with American flags.

Local Food Fuels Freedom

While container and vegetable gardening obviously did not win the war outright, communities banding together for the common good rightly demonstrates the American Way. While soldiers sacrificed to fight battles thousands of miles away, their families were at home helping to free up food supplies needed overseas while boosting civilian morale.

In peacetime, the same idea of better living and stronger communities rings true. Things have changed a lot since the Victory Gardens of WWII, but the lingering sentiment is just as relevant today. When we have access to our food source and understand its workings, Americans emerge empowered.

Present Day Victory Gardens

Today, nearly 70 years since the Second World War ended, the United States has undergone rapid changes in the way our food is produced, packaged and sold. While supply shortages are no longer a concern as a direct result of war, our country faces new struggles tied to sustenance. As evidenced by childhood and adolescent obesity rates that loom higher than ever (see: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), many Americans have gone astray when it comes to basic nutrition. When did we lose touch with what we put on our meal table?

Many claim the reason behind this quandary is simple: Limited knowledge of or connection to our food sources. Detachment leads to choices based on what is available and affordable, even if that means frozen and processed goods with little to no real nutrition. But what if we could change all that and put American communities back in touch with agriculture and the food they eat?

Several community-based and grassroots movements are aiming to do just that. The Victory Garden Initiative is one such effort, citing in their mission statement that, “When everyone is a farmer, we will have a socially and environmentally just food system.” Kind of like farming for freedom.

Food For Thought this 4th of July

Working to ensure there is fresh and wholesome meals on the table at breakfast, lunch and dinner is about as American as it gets. And on no day is this more apparent than July 4th. This summer, though, rather than relying fully on big box stores for mealtime ingredients, show your local farmers a little love. Or, better yet, grow your own!

To get started on a small scale, raised bed gardening in cedar or redwood is a great way to go. It works anywhere, from the back yard to a downtown rooftop. Also, check out some tips tied to the modern-day Victory Garden, courtesy of the aptly named PBS program.

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.

Cool DIY Projects for Spring Gardening

It’s that time of year again, dust off your shovel and rake and break out the gloves, its time to start planning your spring gardening projects. Whether you plan to plant a few potted flowers to brighten up the front of your house, or grow enough vegetables to feed your family for the year, spring is always a busy and exciting time for gardeners.

The most important lesson to take with you, is that you've just got to get outside in the garden and do something! Photo Credit: M. Dolly

The most important lesson to take with you, is that you’ve just got to get outside in the garden and do something!
Photo Credit: M. Dolly

Planning your Spring Gardening Projects

The key to any DIY garden project is planning. In any space the largest pieces draw the eye immediately and demand your attention. A great idea for the anchor piece in a small garden is a dwarf fruit tree planted in a Cedar Planter. Imagine orange juice fresh from your backyard, or juicing your own limes to liven up some homemade salsa. If you live in a cooler climate planters have a undeniable benefit. Some of the more delicate fruit trees can’t handle harsh climates, but a tree in a mobile planter can easily be moved inside when the mercury starts to drop.

Cedar planters are the easiest to paint, plus it's a fun DIY project that will get the kids in the garden too!

Cedar planters are the easiest to paint, plus it’s a fun DIY project that will get the kids in the garden too!

Not a fan of citrus? No problem, try arranging multiple planters around the perimeter of your patio or deck to create separation from the rest of the yard. Fill these barrier planters with flowers, vegetables, or perennial shrubs. Do you have a creative friend of family member? Provide a few cans of paint and some brushes and that row of planters will become a canvas allowing infinite options for customization of your outdoor space.

Gardening in Small Spaces

A living wall is an excellent addition to any small gardens décor. If your garden is limited to an enclosed area try hanging a Living Wall Planter on any wall to add life to a once dead space. An absorbent mat set behind this durable planter protects your walls from any water damage. Let your creativity run wild and arrange several planters on a large wall to add a custom touch to your garden. If your felling ambitious try covering a large vertical space with planters, then use a variety of colored flowers and plants to make a design, or even spell your family name.

For small space gardening, check out our living wall planters. They're modular, so you can make your project as big or small as you want!

For small space gardening, check out our living wall planters. They’re modular, so you can make your project as big or small as you want!

Enjoying the Results of Your DIY Garden Projects

After all your hard work be sure to sit back and enjoy the results. If you have grown vegetables you and your family will surely enjoy a few meals from the garden. Flowers with large and fragrant blooms can be cut fresh and arranged in a vase as a thoughtful gift for the neighbor who is always there for you, or kept on the dining room table as a DIY centerpiece straight from your garden. On the other hand, if you have grown some smaller succulents or flowers, glass pendant terrariums hanging in your home or office are the perfect way to display the product of all your hard work.

As with any hobby the key output of your spring gardening this year should be joy. The time spent planning, planting, and caring for your garden this spring will pay dividends throughout the summer and fall. Dream big this year and make your garden the talk of the town!

What are your spring gardening ideas? Share them in the comments below!

How to Add Curb Appeal with Outdoor Planters

Group outdoor planters together for a welcoming burst of color on the deck or patio.

Group outdoor planters together for a welcoming burst of color on the deck or patio.

Admit it: your house might not be the dumpiest on the street, but it could probably use a little pick-me-up. It doesn’t take much to spruce up your house and add a little extra curb appeal, especially through container gardening. Outdoor planters are a fantastic and easy way to add a little extra oomph and increase your home’s curb appeal.

Flank front entrances symmetrically with vinyl planters for a curb appeal knockout!

Flank front entrances symmetrically with vinyl planters for a curb appeal knockout!

Entryway

The front door can speak volumes about a house – it’s where visitors get their first impression of your home and the people inside. Outdoor planters can add a touch of life to the entryway to make your home more inviting and warm. When decorating around the front door, symmetry is key. Add a tall planter box, like the Doral Terra Cotta Half Round Planter, to either side of your front door with bright flowers or tall leafy plants. Line the walkway to your front door with smaller planter boxes in coordinating plants and flowers. A great option is the neutral but stylish Palo Alto Redwood Planter. Choose plants that fit with the overall style and feel of your home, such as papyrus for a modern home or impatiens for a more traditional style.

Driveway

An often forgotten part of the home, the driveway and garage doors have a huge impact on curb appeal. Not only is the driveway one of the largest parts of a home’s outdoor space, but it is virtually a blank canvas full of possibility. To spice up an often bland area, place outdoor planters between the garage doors. Tall planters, such as this Tall Tapered Patio Planter, can add height to a space and break up the monotony of multiple garage doors. Add plants such as verbena or alyssum for a pop of energy-just make sure the planters are far enough away from the garage door that you won’t hit them with your car! To define the driveway with more than just concrete, place large planter pots along the edges. For these planters, it is better to opt for lower plants like coleus or white licorice that will define the space but still allow you to see into the front yard and entryway.

entrance-planters

Deck

Just because a deck might be on the backside of the house doesn’t mean it can escape a curb appeal improvement. Instead of allowing your deck to turn into a yard furniture wasteland, add some large planter boxes. The color and life will work wonders on the space and create a more defined outdoor entertaining area. A grouping of large planter pots full of coordinating plants is an easy way to add a sense of style and personality to your deck.

Low planter boxes around the edge of the deck set off the area but still allow view into the backyard and surrounding areas. A great option is the versatile Hampton deck planter, which looks great on its own or lined with others.

Ready to start your own container garden?

Shop outdoor planters now for the best selection of the season!

Photo Courtesy Brenda B.

Hanging Year Round Containers

Photo Courtesy Brenda B.

Year-Round Gardening Tip: Rotate flowers throughout seasons for uninterrupted splashes of color!
Photo: Brenda B.

There is something about a hanging basket that is simply magical – the overflowing branches, the bright flowers, and the charming containers make for a perfect combination and a great addition to a yard or garden oasis. Add some height and pizazz to your home with beautiful hanging baskets in year round containers. You don’t need a lot of space to instantly increase your curb appeal and green thumb credentials.

Find the Best Basket

Photo Courtesy Brian W.

12 inch Hanging Baskets are the perfect size for this small shed. The decorative wall brackets are a nice touch!
Photo: Brian W.

Start at the beginning by picking the right basket. Outdoor hanging baskets come in lots of styles. An important factor is the size. A too-small basket means watering more often and a too-big basket can get heavy. For beginners, opt for a medium sized basket that will allow room for your plants to grow and also retain moisture. The biggest piece of the basket puzzle is picking the right liner. This English Garden Flat Steel Hanging Basket comes with a coconut coir liner to keep plants moist and promote lush growth. Other liner options include burlap or moss. For a truly unique look, combine the liner with the basket for a show stopping moss planter, like this Ashton Moss Vine Hanging Basket.

Pick the Perfect Plants

Now that you have your year round containers, what should you put in them? Hanging baskets can be used year round with a variety of plants. For a longer lasting look, go for hardy classics like pansies or cyclamen. Otherwise, you can rotate through flowers with the seasons or choose plants that will bloom during your favorite part of the year. Popular spring and summer options are fuchsias, geraniums, and trailing lobelia. In the fall and winter, viola ochre and other solanum plants are great choices. For a colorful look year round, go for an evergreen plant like buxus or ivy.

Photo: Darrell N

This lamppost and 22-inch hanging flower basket combination are truly a curb appeal home run! Brackets are custom-made for the perfect fit!
Photo: Darrell N

A typical outdoor hanging basket features trailing plants, mid-level plants, and tall plants. Pick a few blooms for each section so you don’t overwhelm yourself or your planter. Match the look of your plants to the style of your hanging basket. Earthy colors and textures are a great compliment to a moss planter.

Put It All Together

Dressing up a boring wall is easy with a decorative scroll bracket and a hanging basket with trailing vines.

Dressing up a boring wall is easy with a decorative scroll bracket and a hanging basket with trailing vines!

Once everything is in place, you are ready to plant your hanging basket. Fill your basket half full of potting soil and mix in a quarter cup fertilizer. This ensures your plants have nutrients even after the water drips out. Press the base layer of soil to create a solid foundation for your plants. If using a deeper basket like the classic Scalloped French Wire Basket, make sure your plants have enough room to grow roots. To maximize space, place hanging plants around the outside of the container, then work your way towards the middle with the taller plants. After the quick and simple process is complete, your outdoor hanging basket is ready to be hung anywhere around the yard and enjoyed all year long!

Early Spring Flowers and Window Planters that You Will Love

hayrack-window-box-purple-flowers

Shown: Mariposa Hayrack Trough Window Box with Coconut Liner and beautiful purple flowers; sent in by Alissa D.

Spring is just around the corner and with the change of seasons comes the opportunity to spruce up your spring garden. Whether you plan on planting a flower bed or are looking for other alternatives, learn more about your available options before spring finally arrives. Keep reading and you will discover early spring flowers and window planters that you will fall in love with.

Planning Your Landscaping

Before you start picking out your early spring flowers, it is a good idea to come up with a plan. Take a moment to think about the layout of your yard. For those with a patio, add life to your yard by placing standing planters around your patio. A tall tapered patio planter and other planters will brighten up your patio. To match wrought iron fences and other black trim around your yard, a standing planter with a metal frame is both elegant and convenient. There are plenty of ways to decorate the outside of your home, make sure that you consider some of the following options:

  • Window boxes and planters
  • Flower stands
  • Hanging planters
  • The flowers that you would like to plant
xl-catalina-pvc-window-box-BettyG

Betty G. painted her XL Catalina PVC Window Planters to match the exterior house paint. Her container garden continues to flourish!

When planning the arrangement of your flowers and garden, do not forget about the outside of your house. Window sills are a great way to add charm to your home. Planting a flower bed is one thing; though, why not work your way up your home by installing planters along your window sills.

Choosing Where to Place Your Flowers

medallion-decora-pvc-liners-KaraC

Kara’s successful balcony garden of early spring flowers has Medallion Decora Window Boxes to thank!

Just because you have a small yard does not mean that you are out of options for your spring garden. Many people forget about decorating their actual house when planning their home gardening projects. Planters and flower boxes will hang on the outside of your windows, requiring no yard space. This is a beautiful way to add to the appeal of your home. No matter what style of home you have, there is sure to be flower boxes that will match the look of your house. For example, for a modern home, consider purchasing contemporary window boxes.

With hundreds of options to choose from for your plants and flowers, spend some time browsing your options to match the aesthetics of your home. To go along with your black shutters, you can purchase wrought iron flower cages. Using simple curves, an iron flower cage makes a beautiful showcase for the plants that you have chosen. Other options include wooden boxes, such as red cedar plantersNo matter what you choose, you are sure to add to your curb appeal.

Another spring flower success story thanks to Royal Vinyl Window Boxes.

Another spring flower success story thanks to Royal Vinyl Window Boxes.

Your window sills are not the only location that you can install bases for your flowers. They can also be installed along fences and even the side of your home. When you are deciding on your planters or boxes, think outside the box and consider the outside of your home one large canvas.

While the flowers that you plant may not last through the winter, the durable window planters that you install can be used year after year. Always choose quality material that can resist weather conditions. Being outdoors, they will have to deal with plenty of rain and wind. Once you start populating your garden with your selection of flowers, you will truly enjoy spending more time with your family outdoors.

Hooks & Lattice now offers consultation for those of you who aren’t sure what to get. Call toll free 888-896-0978 to speak with our Design Department today about which window boxes fit your home’s architectural style.

Container Gardening for Vegetables

Carrots growing in a flower pot

All kinds of vegetables will grow in flower pots, including carrots! Image from Pernaculture for Renters.

Vegetable growing can be a lot of hard work – between the beating they get from tilling the garden and the back breaking bending to place each seed or plant in the ground, many gardeners give up and go shopping at the Farmer’s Market. Although this is certainly a viable solution, you still can’t be sure how your veggies and fruits were handled, or what kinds of chemicals might have been applied to them.

There is another way: container gardening! Containers simplify the labor intensive preparation required of vegetable gardens in areas with troubled soil and even allow apartment dwellers to grow a surprising amount of food in a very small space. With careful planning and the right containers, you can grow almost any type of vegetable in a planter pot, flower box, or hanging basket.

Choosing a Container and Medium

Before you plant your first tomato, pepper, bean, or onion, think about the spaces around your home where a planted container might fit. Small plants with upright growth like bush beans, carrots, beets or lettuce may fit nicely into an extra wide window box. A mixed planting of veggies can be every bit as pretty as flowers. Big hanging baskets are great for vining or tumbling plants like peas, small squash, cucumbers or runner beans.

Lettuce plants in a window box

In the city, grow veggies like lettuce in window boxes. Image from Dig Home Designing.

The selection of potting medium is vital to your success with container gardening. Starting with a sterilized, premixed general potting soil with slow release fertilizer is ideal, though experienced gardeners may choose to mix their own from a variety of sterilized mediums. Worm castings are a common addition to a basic soil mix, helping your container garden retain moisture and improving soil structure.

Caring for Container Veggies

Veggies in containers don’t usually need to be weeded and soil-borne pathogens are rarely problems, but they do require some special care. Since your plants are growing in a very small, limited area, they are going to need you to give them everything it takes for them to survive. Watering, fertilizing and careful pruning will ensure that your plants are all they can be.

Every plant needs water, but a container plant may need to be watered as much as three times a day in the summer. Check the soil a few times a day by sticking your finger in as deeply as you can. If it feels dry below the first knuckle, water the container evenly until water runs out the bottom. Try not to get water on the leaves, since this can invite problems with fungal disease.

Tomatoes growing in a hanging basket

You can even grow vegetables in hanging baskets! Image from Love Apple Farms.

All that watering will drive the nutrients from the soil, which is why a slow-release fertilizer in the mix is a nice bonus. If your plants are starting to produce lighter colored leaves, or just don’t seem quite right, a half-strength dose of water soluble 10-10-10 fertilizer mixed into the watercan may help. Don’t fertilize more than once a week, unless your plants are obviously struggling, and then only do so after performing a soil test.

If frequent watering seems like a challenge, consider a self-watering planter. You can turn any planter into a self-watering one by adding a reservoir. It will hold excess water at the bottom of the planter, and the thirsty plants will pull it up into their roots when they need it.

Some plants, like tomatoes, do better when they’ve been pruned heavily. It may seem counter-intuitive, but if you want big, fat tomatoes from your containers, limit the number of secondary shoots and pinch out excessive growth. Thin other plants, like carrots and lettuce, after seeding to give the strongest plants a little more room.

Recommended Container Size for Common Vegetables

Vegetable Minimum Container Size Spacing
Broccoli 14-inch pot 1 plant per container
Bush Green Beans 10-inch pot or basket
Extra deep window box
2 to 3 inch spacing
Carrots 5-inch pot or basket
Extra deep window box
2 to 3 inch spacing
Cucumbers 10-inch pot 1 plant per container
Leaf Lettuce 8-inch pot or basket
Regular window box
4 to 5 inch spacing
Green Onions 6-inch pot or basket
Regular window box
2 to 3 inch spacing
Peas 6-inch pot or basket
Regular window box
2 to 3 inch spacing
Peppers 10-inch pot or basket 1 plant per container
Summer Squash 14-inch pot or basket 1 plant per container
Cherry Tomatoes 10-inch pot or basket 1 plant per container
Standard Tomatoes 14-inch pot or basket 1 plant per container