Niagara Gazette — Two of the goals of Creating Healthy Places are to promote being active and eating a healthy diet. One way to be active and eat healthy is to grow a vegetable garden.
Having a vegetable garden doesn’t have to be back-breaking work. Container gardening is a great way to garden anywhere. You can buy container(s) to use or you can reuse something from around the house. That old kiddy pool or baby bathtub that hasn’t been used in years can make a great container garden. Wooden fruit crates and wicker baskets make beautiful container gardens. Old tires can be painted and recycled into container gardens. If it will hold soil and you can make drainage holes in the bottom, you can turn it into a container garden.
I recently asked John Farfaglia, CCE-Niagara County horticulturist, what he suggests I plant this year. He explained that “Some of the easier vegetables to grow for first-time container gardeners include lettuce, radishes, beets, beans, Swiss chard, onions, peppers and patio tomatoes.
“Herbs such as basil, parsley and oregano are also good choices. Virtually any other vegetable can be grown in containers if the container is big enough. Large plants such squash, cucumbers and tall tomatoes need at least 10 if not 20 gallons of soil volume for best results.
“At the other end of the spectrum, lettuce, spinach, radishes and green onions can do well in tin cans, 10-inch pots or any container that holds one half gallon of soil mix.”
John’s advice was great for starting some new container gardening projects this year. He also told me to place containers where they receive adequate light.
“Tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplant and squash do best with at least six hours of sun per day,” he said. “ Leafy greens like spinach, lettuce, and Swiss chard require less light and may actually show leaf burn in direct south exposure on the hot days.”