February 22, 2009
During World War II, Americans were encouraged to convert their back yards into Victory Gardens to contribute to the war effort. The gardens also saved families money. With the current economic downturn, starting a backyard vegetable garden is a great way to help reduce grocery bills during the summer months while keeping your family supplied with healthy foods. Even if you don't have a lot of space — maybe only a balcony — you can still produce plump red tomatoes, fresh lettuce, spicy peppers and more. Here are some tips for gardening in small spaces for big results:
Mix vegetables with your flowers
If you already have an established flowerbed but no more land available for a vegetable patch, work some of your vegetables in between perennials. Carrots and onions don't need a lot of root space, and their foliage above ground can bring variety to the look of your landscape. Just make sure your vegetables will have plenty of sunshine and are protected from hungry wildlife.
Start a container garden
Balconies and porches are perfect locations for container gardens. Start easy with lettuce seeds or onions set in a deep window box. Or use a larger pot for peppers or tomatoes.
Grow tall gardens
Cucumbers, squash and melon plants take up plenty of space when they're sprawling across your ground. But getting them off the ground is an ideal solution for maximizing your harvest in a minimum amount of area. Installing a trellis next to plants allows you to direct vine plants' growth upward while protecting fruit and vegetables from ground rot and pests. Using nylon netting or a porch railing around your container pots is a great and durable way to encourage climbing vines.
Container gardening tips
Find containers that are large enough for the fullygrown plant to prevent root binding. Make sure containers have adequate drainage holes and are not plugged with soil or rocks. Avoid container materials that contain products toxic or harmful to plants. Don't use regular garden soil. Instead, use potting soil or a mix of garden soil with compost or perlite for enhanced drainage.No Backyard? No Problem!
Steuben Courier, NY