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Kaylor: Try container gardening

May 16, 2014
Carolee Kaylor , Pierce County Tribune

Gardening has become very popular, but not everyone has a big backyard to grow a large garden or the time to tend it. If you are short on space, consider container gardening.

You can grow many different vegetables in pots on a balcony, doorstep or hanging basket, in barrels on a deck or in planters on your window sill. Some people even grow flowers and plants in unusual containers such as worn-out kitchen pots.

Tips for planting in containers

Be sure your container has drainage holes so extra water doesn't pool at the bottom and damage the roots. If you want to grow tomatoes, peppers or eggplant, gardening experts usually recommend 5-gallon containers. Smaller pots work well for green onions, lettuce and herbs.

Add "potting mix," not plain dirt from your yard. Your soil needs to drain well.

Choose seeds or plants. You can start your own seedlings in egg cartons or even an old cake pan. Fill the container with potting soil, add seeds and cover with about inch of soil. Cover with a clear plastic bag, place in a warm, sunny area and water regularly. When the seedlings have four or more leaves, they are ready to transfer into the final pot.

Find a sunny spot for your container. If your plants aren't doing well in the spot you chose, move the container to a better place.

Water often and fertilize according to the directions on the fertilizer container. Container gardens need to be watered more than regular gardens, ideally at least once every morning.

Add enough water on top of the soil so it begins to leak out the bottom.

Be sure to pull weeds regularly. Weeds compete for space, water, nutrients and sunlight.

Grilled

Foil-wrapped

Vegetables

3 medium onions, peeled and quartered

4 c. water

1 bunch broccoli florets

2 small yellow squash, cut into 1-inch slices

1 green or red pepper, cut into -inch strips

Lemon juice (2 Tbsp. total)

Pepper and salt (regular or seasoned salt)

Butter (3 Tbsp. total)

Prepare vegetables as described. In a saucepan, boil water, then add onions. Allow the onions to cook for three minutes, then drain thoroughly. Divide all vegetables into six portions and place on pieces of heavy aluminum foil. Sprinkle each portion with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and a dash of pepper and salt. Top each with 1 teaspoons of butter. Wrap packets tightly and grill over hot coals for about 30 minutes. (You also can cook this recipe in a preheated 375 F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.)

Makes six servings. Each serving has 120 calories, 6 grams (g) fat, 14 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber and 180 milligrams sodium.

 
 

 

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