Mini-gardens for vegetables
Wednesday, February 13, 2013 12:00 AM
Lack of yard space is no excuse for not growing a vegetable garden. Whether you live in an apartment, condominium or mobile home, some space is available for growing your favorite vegetables. However, the area you choose to grow your garden must receive five hours or more of direct sunlight daily.
As a general rule, leafy vegetables such as cabbage and mustard greens can tolerate more shade than root vegetables like radishes and beets. Peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers will need the most sun.
Apartment dwellers will probably be limited to using containers or window boxes for vegetable growing. Choose containers large enough to hold the vegetable plants when they reach maturity. All containers should have drainage holes in the bottom for proper drainage.
You have many more alternatives if you live in a duplex or house. You may still use window boxes, but now you have access to borders along walkways and foundation plantings. You will be surprised to see how attractive a walkway can be when edged with colorful vegetables such as Red Giant or Green Wave mustard, Red Sails leaf lettuce or Red Bor kale. You can also strategically place large containers such as baskets with pepper or tomato plants.
Fences are ideal for growing vining types such as cucumbers and melons. Pole beans (Lima and snap) also do well here. When melon fruits begin to enlarge, tie them to the fence in a sling made from nylon hose to avoid self-picking.
If you are planting in the soil, it should have a pH of about 6.0 to 6.5. Soil can also be used in containers as a growing medium, but most soils contain diseases and weed seeds.
A quality soil-less mix is a much better choice for container gardening. The peat-lite (peat moss plus vermiculite) or bark-lite (pine bark plus vermiculite) mixes such as Jiffy Mix, Pro-Mix, Readi-Earth, etc., are much better choices. These mixes are nutrient charged, pH adjusted, and relatively sterile. They also provide good aeration and water availability.
There are numerous varieties of dwarf or pixie hybrids of vegetables for container gardening. Choose from these, if possible. Dwarf varieties are best suited for containers since they take up less space. Check seed catalogs for varieties that meet these requirements.
If you would like to get involved in the 4-H gardening project, please give me a call. My phone number is (601) 656-4602.
Feb. 13 - Leadership Neshoba, 8 a.m., CDP Depot.
Feb. 13 - County 4-H Council, 3:30 p.m., Neshoba Coliseum.
Feb. 18 - Shotgun Practice, 3:30 p.m., Beason Property, Fork Community.
Feb. 19 - Archery Practice, 4 p.m., Northside Park Archery Range.
Feb. 21 - Rifle and Pistol Practice, 4 p.m., Herring Property in Sandtown Community and Beason Property in Fork Community.
Feb. 22-23 - Mississippi 4-H Volunteer's Leaders Association Meetings and Workshops, Mississippi State University.
Until next week, get into 4-H!