Choosing the Right Plants for Your Gardening Space

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Have you ever walked into a room that was so full of over-sized furniture it made an already small space feel miniscule and unusable? Or tricked your tummy into being satisfied with less food by using a small plate to make a modest portion look huge? Scale makes a decided difference in many aspects of life, and gardening is no different.

Whether you’re gardening in containers or have a big plot in your backyard, right-sizing your plant picks to coincide with your available garden space can yield a more productive and pleasurable gardening experience. More than a third of all American households now grow some type of food themselves, making food gardening the third largest yard activity after landscaping and lawn care, the National Gardening Survey shows.

Whether you aim to trim grocery bills by growing your own produce, add your own fresh herbs to your summer cooking, or just plain love to garden, choosing the right plants for your gardening space – pot or plot – is your best bet for great success.

Get your garden growing

Veggie and herb gardens need plenty of sunshine and water, no matter what you’re planting, or growing them in. Six to eight hours of bright light every day is best, so choose a sun-drenched spot in your yard for raised beds or larger gardens, and place pots and containers on sunny porches, decks or patios.

Use a good potting mix for containers and raised beds; it should be light weight and provide fast drainage. For garden plots, till soil, test for quality and work any necessary amendments into the soil before planting. All food plants need to be fed. Consistent and frequent watering, good drainage and a quality plant food are needed for good plant health and harvest.

Cultivating in containers and raised beds

Gardening doesn’t require a huge plot of land for hefty harvests and good success. Planting in containers can solve space problems and raised beds allow you to enjoy a garden if you’re short on space or have poor soil quality in your yard. Place containers in a sunny spot, whether it’s an apartment balcony or backyard patio. Make sure the pots are large enough for the plants you’ll put in them and have good drainage holes. Consider container color; dark containers will absorb more heat, so try using lighter colored containers.

Plants suited for containers include:

All herbs.

All greens. Add flowers to the same pot for an ornamental touch.

Tomatoes like Bonnie Plants’ popular Husky Cherry Red, Patio, Bush Early Girl, Bush Goliath and Better Bush. For larger varieties, use a large pot, at least 5 gallons for each plant and support plants with a cage.

Smaller eggplants such as Patio Baby Mini Eggplants.

Peppers, like Lunchbox Sweet Snacking Peppers, that are smaller in size and high in yield.

Cucumbers if you add a trellis to the pot and train them to climb.

Raised beds can host bigger veggies like Beefmaster Tomatoes, or varieties that require more room to spread on the ground like zucchini. They’re also great for greens like collards, lettuce, mustard and Swiss chard, and a variety of peppers, beans and eggplants.

Planting plots

In-ground gardens allow you much more room for larger plants. Even if your plot isn’t huge, it can accommodate plants that require more room, like watermelon and corn. In addition to staples for your table like greens, tomatoes and peppers, a garden plot allows you to incorporate a greater variety of veggies, like beans, peas and squash, in your garden plans.

No matter where you live or how much or little space you might have, you can enjoy growing your own food. Be sure to right-size, according to your space and need. Once you get growing, you’ll love the homegrown flavor of your harvest and the enjoyment gardening brings.


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