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Gardening for small spaces

Anne Evans Anne Evans Gardening for small spaces
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If you like to garden, but find yourself a bit short on space, you may want to consider a few of these ideas. If you have even just a small patio, that’s probably enough room for you to place a container, and if it is getting at least 8 hours of sun (full sun) per day, you can most likely grow some vegetables.

Bell peppers are a very easy and rewarding plant to begin with. You could also try a tomato, but keep in mind they grow very tall and spread out. Adding a cage to help contain the plant and will provide support for when the fruit begins to weigh the plants down.

Maybe you have a larger space, or a fence? You could try gardening vertically. Robin Oatts has a large yard for gardening, but she was looking for something a bit more organized for her herbs. She attached minigarden to her fence and has an easy way to grow and harvest smaller herbs.

“I planted all my herbs in mini-gardens that were mounted on my fence right outside my kitchen door,” says Oatts. “I love being able to run out, no shoes and all, and grab what I need for whatever it is I’m cooking.”

A mini-garden herb garden happily hangs along a fence.

One of the most important parts of growing your own plants is having the right soil. The soil mix you want to use in ground is often different from what is best for containers.

A soil test can be performed in the Spring or the Fall and will tell you the fertility level of the soil and what you will need to do to make it optimal for growing the plants you would like.

There are a few laboratories in Ohio that will do soil testing. CALMAR Soil Testing Labs in Westerville has testing kits available for $14.95 (plus shipping). Make sure to tell the lab the kinds of plants you want to grow. You will receive nutrient recommendations based upon your current analysis and the type of plants.

You will also receive a bar graph that will compare your soil test rankings to optimum levels. It will show you which nutrients are low and which are high. The recommendations will help you select the proper plant food and the quantity the soil requires to reach its optimum levels.

Wooden boxes added to the top of this brick fence added more gardening space for this small yard in German Village.

If you would like to fill your containers with purchased soil, City Folk’s Farm Shop offers two blends from Ohio companies.

“We sell organic potting soil from Ohio Earth Foods and we sell a premium soil blend from Price Farms Organic (but their soil is not organic),” says owner Shawn Fiegelist. “The potting soil is a very nice blend great for starting seeds and can also be used in raised beds and containers. The soil blend is great in containers and beds especially when mixed with Price’s compost Zoo Brew.”

The soil blend sells for $$4.25 for a 1.25 cu ft bag. You can also buy in bulk and have it delivered up to 1/2 cu yd. The organic potting soil sells for $9.99 for a 30 dry qts bag.

A galvanized tub easily finds a new home as a container for plants.

Specialized bags of potting soil and container soil can also be purchased to fill your pots. Scotts Miracle-Gro offers quite a few varieties of soil. For containers, they have Potting Mix that will feed plants up to six months and a Moisture Control Potting Mix that will also feed plants up to six months and help protect against under and overwatering.

You can use any kind of pot you would like for containers, just make sure the diameter is large enough to accommodate the plant you are growing in it.

If you haven’t had much luck with gardening, or want something that seems like more of a sure-shot (although you will have to remember to water it!) Scott’s has a new product called Gro-ables Seed Pods.

“Gro-ables Seed Pods are great for gardeners of any experience level, but are designed with first-time gardeners or novices in mind,” says Tim McNamara, director, innovation, Miracle-Gro. “By giving consumers the confidence to try something new and making it easy for them, we hope to inspire younger generations of gardeners.”

Gro-ables Seed Pods are small, bio-degradable seed pods filled with growing mix, a seed, and plant food. The seed is placed at a proper depth inside of the container, so all you need to do is place it into a pot filled with proper soil. The product is sold with a six month guarantee.

“While each Seed Pod contains at least two seeds to help ensure successful germination, each Pod is intended to grow one plant, so we provide thinning instructions to remove any extra seedlings for best results,” says McNamara.

Currently Gro-ables Seed Pods are available online as Salad and Herb Garden 18-pod kits for $29.99, shipping included. Additional kits are priced at $14.99. The following plants come in the kit: 1 Globe Tomato, 1 Cherry Tomato, 1 Cucumber, 1 Bush Bean, 1 Snap Pea, 2 Loose-Leaf Lettuce, 2 Butterhead Lettuce, 1 Smooth-Leaf Spinach, 1 Romaine Lettuce, 1 Sweet Pepper, 2 Basil, 2 Cilantro, 2 Dill.

If you are shopping in the Columbus area, you can also find them here: Oakland Nurseries, Schreiner Ace, and select Kroger stores.

Enjoy gardening this summer! And remember to water your plants!

For more information about Gro-ables Seed Pods, visit www.buygroables.com.

For more information about CALMAR Soil Testing, visit www.calmarlabs.com.

For more information about soil testing, click here to download a brochure.

For more information about Scott’s Miracle-Gro potting soils, visit www.scotts.com.

For more information about City Folk’s Farm Shop, visit www.cityfolksfarmshop.com.

From April 15th to April 21st, Columbus Underground is celebrating Gardening Week! Throughout the week, we’ll be taking a look at various backyard gardening and community gardening trends, efforts, businesses and more. Gardening Week 2013 is sponsored by Scotts Miracle-Gro, who provides support to regional community gardens through grant programs and other philanthropic efforts. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter for more information.

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