Healthful Gardening in a Pot
Author: Shannon Miller
By Melinda Myers
Don’t let stiff knees, a bad back or lack of time stop you from gardening your way to health.
Plant a container of nutritious vegetables and herbs. Include a few planters on your front porch, back patio or right outside your kitchen door. All you need is a container with drainage holes. A fifteen to twenty-four inch diameter pot or twenty-four to thirty-six inch long window box is a good starting size.
Bigger containers hold more plants and moisture longer so you need to water less frequently. But check containers daily and water thoroughly as needed. Self watering pots need less frequent watering allowing busy gardeners and travelers the opportunity to grow plants in pots. Fill the container with a well-drained potting mix. Read the label on the container mix bag. Many contain fertilizer and water holding crystals so no additions are needed. I like to add a slow release fertilizer, like Milorganite, to those that don’t.
This eliminates the need to mix and water in fertilizer throughout the season. Mix colorful flowers with nutritional vegetables for attractive healthy results. I like Bright Lights Swiss chard, pansies (their flowers are edible), colorful leaf lettuce, spinach, radishes, and trailing ivy for cool season gardens. Fresh from the “container garden” vegetables make the best tasting salads and the greens provide Vitamins A and C and calcium. For warm season plantings use a tomato, pepper, eggplant or beans, and cucumbers trained on a trellis for your focal point. All are packed full of nutrients and make a great vertical accent.
Surround the towering vegetables with purple basil, tri-color sage, carrots, beets and a colorful trailing annual like verbena, alyssum or bidens or herb like oregano and thyme. Don’t forget to squeeze in a few onions or garlic. The fragrant foliage can be decorative and these vegetables help lower blood sugar and cholesterol while aiding in digestion.
So be creative and add a few small scale attractive vegetable high in nutritional value to your containers this season.