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Gardening isn't for everyone, but newbies wanting to give it a try may want to consider container gardening.Growing vegetables in pots -- potentially even indoors -- is a great way to eliminate the X factors presented by weather and insects.Whether or not you're planting in April, you definitely want to plan for the space you have according to Ashley DeBord of Glory Gardens & Greenhouse.
"If I were doing a container garden on a porch and I was going to do one large container, the first question to think about is, 'What are my favorite things,'" she said.Using the example of salsa, DeBord suggested several plants that could be planted together.When planting tomatoes, be sure to choose a "determinant" variety that won't climb and get very large."We grow a variety here called the patio tomato," DeBord said. "It's just for containers; a small plant with a big tomato. That's what most people are looking for."With tomatoes, it doesn't matter whether you start with a seed or young plant. "April is a great time to seed tomatoes but you can also start looking for young plants," DeBord said, adding that if you do go the plant route, you should be prepared to move the container inside in instances of cold weather.Next DeBord recommended a pepper plant, one of which would suffice. "One pepper plant can yield 3-4 peppers every two weeks," she noted. "One pepper plant goes a long way."Sticking with the salsa theme, DeBord suggested cilantro or some other type of herb. However, she added that April is a bit early for herb planting, hence the need to save space for planting later."Typically I would recommend an herb transplant," DeBord said, "because seed starting herbs is very difficult. Not impossible, but difficult."DeBord added that herbs should be placed at the front of the container because their fragrance can deter pests. Another organic option for keeping insects and rodents away is to plant marigolds with your veggies. The flowers also add a nice pop of color."Stay away from any large vegetables such as zucchinis, squashes, corn and beans," she continued. "Stick with smaller things."
If you do plant anything that will grow larger than one foot tall, be sure to use a trellis or cage to keep it from falling over or breaking."One thing that is great to plant to early is lettuce, kale, Swiss chard and any greens. You can actually harvest those all year round if you don't …take every leaf off the plant."Lettuce, in particular, is a "great filler," DeBord said, that can be used to fill in gaps in the container and can be started from seed. Carrots also grow well in containers with loose potting soil.DeBord also noted that some cucumber varieties work well in hanging baskets. Grape tomatoes are another suggestion, though they should be harvested well so overgrowth doesn't break the vines.In terms of watering varied plants in one container, DeBord suggested keeping the plants drier as a way to keep disease at bay. Depending on placement, in shade or sun, a good rule of thumb would be to water every three days.While she didn't have a particular soil recommendation, DeBord did note there's a difference between "cheap" soil and that which is healthier but may cost a little more."There are a lot of options for a small patio," DeBord continued. "It's endless really, and just depends on what you like."Glory Gardens got its start in Eubank in 2012 with DeBord and her husband Stephen growing cucumbers for IGA and Sav-A-Lot. Two years ago, they began the transition into retail with bedding plants, vegetable plants, annuals, herbs and hanging baskets.DeBord specializes in pots which are all ready to set out on the porch -- either for decorative flowers or vegetable "patio gardens."Having grown up on a cattle farm, DeBord didn't start to develop her love of plants until she was in high school. She had a 10x12 greenhouse where she learned to raise tomatoes from her grandmother. Once she got a feel for the process, she tried her hand at flowers."Every year I tried something new and different," DeBord said. "It was a hobby that turned into a business pretty quickly."DeBord noted that there are several good options for local greenhouses in addition to her own."Just get out and find something that makes you happy," she said. "Just start there, then add something you'd want to try. One new plant is always good."
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