More on Container Gardening

By Nelson Stewart Published 08/29/2007 | Gardening

Previously I wrote about having hanging baskets full of edibles as a way to enjoy gardening in a limited space such as a mobile home park, or even an apartment balcony. Here are a few more ideas for those with green thumbs.

I recently met someone who makes very unique hanging gardens. He sews burlap into a long tube, inserts a thick piece of wire about 5 or 6 inches longer than the tube and then fills the burlap tube with dirt. The wire must be bendable, but not so soft that it will lose its shape. Poke it out the bottom of the tube slightly, and bend it at a tight angle to act as an anchor. Form the top of the wire into a loop which can then be fastened to a hook and hung. These tubes of earth can be bent into coils or curves in whatever way that suits your amusement, or just left long and straight.

Plant anything in your hanging tube: strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes and basil are all suggestions I've made before. Another idea is edible flowers.  Nasturtium with leaves and flowers which are both edible, is quite peppery, A bonus of nasturtium is it grows on a long vine, making it perfect for the hanging container. For a mild and sweet edible flower try pansy, or the cucumber tasting borage. All of these are easy to grow from seed.

To plant your hanging garden tube, just cut very small holes in the burlap with scissors. Seeds can be pressed right into the vertical surface of the soil. If you wish to plant seedlings, you will want to prepare the holes in the tube ahead of time and insert the plants as you fill the tube with soil.

Adding a slow-release fertilizer will help your densely packed plants thrive in such a small amount of soil. This burlap tube method of hanging garden will need to be watered often to prevent it from drying out, as it is such a small volume of soil. A water-retaining substance added to the soil can help maintain moisture, but too much compromises the nutrient levels as it takes away from the quantity of soil. A liquid fertilizer could counter-act this affect, being effectively held in the water-retentive soil additive

Of course all of these planting ideas can be used for on-the-ground container gardening, too. In fact, a combination of both ground and hanging containers could make any porch or balcony a lush oasis. The addition of edibles adds to the rewards.

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