Container Gardening 101

Not everyone has a yard in which to plant a garden. They might live in a high-rise overlooking a major city skyline with only a deck or a large sunny window. They might live in a tightly-packed condo or apartment complex that has small “yardlets” that get no sun. They might rent a house or duplex from a landlord that won’t allow them to dig up the yard for a garden – after all, if they move away, will the next tenant do anything with the garden or will it end up being a big muddy hole?

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Weed Control

Weeding your vegetable garden is a necessary evil. Healthy soil that supports healthy vegetables will also support weeds, and your job is to stop them cold. Not only do they compete with your vegetables for space and soil nutrients, they also attract pests and disease to your garden.

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Growing Crops: Brussels Sprouts

Mini-cabbage-on-a-stick pretty much sums up Brussels sprouts. There are several varieties to choose from, including Jade Cross, Long Island Improved, Prince Marvel, and Rubine. Lightly steamed with a bit of butter, lemon juice, salt and pepper, they are a surprisingly tasty vegetable.

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Growing Crops: Beets

You either love beets or you hate them. There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. If those purple pickled things don’t appeal to you, the good news is that’s only one way to eat beets. And for that we are grateful, indeed.

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Tilling Your Garden – Go Deep!

One of the best things you can do for your brand-new garden before you plant a single seed is to double till your patch. We don’t mean till it twice along the surface, we mean till it twice as deep. About 2 feet deep. Urban and suburban soil has been covered with lawn, compacted and neglected below the surface. If you want a bountiful harvest from fertile soil, you have to peel off the lawn and dig deep to bring your soil back to life.

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Growing Crops: Lima Beans

Lima beans are a prolific crop, nicknamed Butter Beans due to the buttery flavor and creamy texture of some varieties. The bush varieties include Baby Fordhook, Burpee’s Improved Bush, Fordhook 242, Henderson’s Bush, and White Dixie Butter. The vine or climbing varieties include Burpee’s Best, Carolina Red, King of the Garden, Prizetaker, and Sieva.

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Growing Crops: Citrus Trees

Grapefruits, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Tangerines…they’re like little balls of sunshine, particularly during the Fall and Winter months, when a great many varieties produce fruit. Contrary to what you may think, you don’t have to live in California or Florida to grow citrus trees. Did you know that citrus trees are evergreens? No? Well…you do now.

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Growing Crops: Cranberries

Most gardeners do not realize that they do not have to live waist-deep in a bog in order to grow their own cranberries. Highbush cranberries (viburnum trilobum) come in several varieties, including Alfredo, Early Black, Howes, Stevens, and Wentworth, that have been specifically bred as shrubs, some of which can grow as tall as 15 feet. Hand-picking is all that’s required, rather than flooding a field and floating the berries like logs in a boom.

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Growing Soil – Soil Is Not Just Dirt!

Soil is a living, breathing, organism that can make or break your garden. If it is too sandy or silty, it will drain too quickly and your plants will die of thirst. If it is too hard and clay-like, it will take too long to drain, if it drains at all, and your plants will suffocate.

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Growing Crops: Cauliflower

Cauliflower is rather polarizing vegetable – either you love it or you hate it, there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground. It always seems to be the last vegetable left on the veggies-and-dip platters. There’s the “brainy” appearance, the odd texture…however, we like it – with plenty of Ranch or Blue Cheese dip, thank you very much.

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