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Container Gardening

So, what if you would love to have fresh foods to eat and you don’t mind the idea of growing them yourself, but you just don’t have a place to grow them.  You may live in an apartment with no yard. You may live in a community with Neighborhood Association rules that prevent your chopping up the yard. Or you just may not have the motivation to put in a full-fledged garden. Well, you can still have fresh food produced by your own hands. You can certainly use the idea of “container gardening.”

Even before we get to the “containers”, consider replacing the decorative concepts of trees and shrubs with fruit trees and berry plants that will serve the same purpose AND provide fruit and berries for your table.

Most fruit trees are also lovely to look at, bloom in season, and then produce a crop of tasty, nutritious fruit for family consumption.  And, truly, few shrubs are any lovelier than a blueberry – with dozens of varieties and even a variety of colors of foliage and fruit! Some other berry bushes – like thornless blackberries, bilberries, gooseberries, etc. – may be planted within your other flowering shrubs for contrast and fruit.

And don’t forget that there are many popular flowers that have edible parts – rose petals and rosehips make delicious tea and are rich in vitamin C; nasturtium leaves and blossoms are delicious in salads; technically broccoli, artichokes, and capers are the immature forms of these plant flowers; and one of the most expensive spices in the world is saffron, from a type of crocus flower. I did a simple search for “edible flowers on Wikipedia and found a list of about 50 edible flowers! Add some to your flowerbed and “spice up” your meals.

Last month, as an introduction to this concept, I posted “Literally, all you need is a container, some soil and some seeds.  You can grow an abundance of produce in a relatively small space.  My sister lives in an apartment and has only a 5’X6’ balcony, but it’s room for one chair and over a dozen different sizes of pretty pots.  She grows a lot.  And stuff grows in ugly pots like tin cans and soup cans as well as in the pretty ones. And when in the past I’ve done container gardening I didn’t adhere to the spacings listed on the seed pouches. The packet may have said plant one seed every 6”, but neither I nor my plants seemed to mind touching each other. I had a friend who planted everything she needed for salads in a half whiskey barrel and kept it going spring through fall.  When she picked one thing, she just put in a couple more seeds!”

An August 19, 2011 issue of the Southern Living magazine I found online presented “125 Container Gardening Ideas.” Among them were ideas for hanging baskets, indoor containers, outdoor pots, and many others. They suggested planting food crops in your containers, mixing perennial herbs with some annual veggies in the same larger planters, or substituting a large container for a traditional raised bed. You are limited only by your imagination – or your ability to “Ask Siri” for suggestions on your smartphone!

My wife and I garden, and we can/preserve each year.  Again, join me, and you too can control the quality and variety of foods you eat!  Good health and God’s blessings!

–  For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.