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May 25, 2010 > Easy steps for a weekend garden

Easy steps for a weekend garden

By Suzanne Ortt
Photos By Doris Nikolaidis

Think fresh, think small, think delicious. Container gardens work for all, especially in limited spaces. Herbs are perfect, as are salad vegetables. Lettuce, tomatoes, beets, carrots, radishes, and peas fulfill the varied needs. Advantages are saving space, use of portable pots, little insect damage, and no problems with gophers. The one negative is these plants require more watering.

Get ready, get set, go! Select the seeds or plants you like. Start small, with just a few plants. One common mistake is over planting. Get proper sized pots with drain holes and have potting soil mix on hand. Peat moss may be necessary. Supplies should include a watering can and a mister.

Herbs grow outside or in sunny kitchen windows. Try cilantro, mint (which needs its own container as it spreads madly), oregano, and parsley. Mist daily.

Beets are a healthy selection, and fresh beets have twice the folic acid and potassium of canned beets. The green tops add beta-carotene, calcium, and iron to your diet (save when beets are thinned). Soak seeds 24 hours before planting. Containers need to be 8 to 12 inches deep. Water often so the soil never dries out. When beets reach the size of golf balls, pick and eat.

Carrots are happy when weed competition is nil. Carrots need containers 18 inches deep and 12 inches wide and sun six hours daily. Keep moist; peat moss helps. Remove moss once seedlings emerge. Thin. Wait 70 - 80 days then harvest.

Lettuce plants come in four or six-packs; choose your favorite. All grow quickly. Rectangular planters work well.

Peas, cool weather plants, work well in a shady spot. Start with one plant in a large pot.

If you are a radish fan, here is a fast growing vegetable. Radishes are terrific for children to plant. Sprinkle radish seeds thinly on top of the compost and add another thin layer of dry compost. Water the container before adding the seeds. Radishes will be ready to eat in 3 weeks.

Determinate tomatoes are the most popular for containers. Dwarf varieties take from 45- 70 days to produce. Sun is needed and each plant requires a deep pot of its own.

Have fun with your weekend garden. Remember to water your veggies and you'll have a super salad. Remember the beet greens!

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