Planter boxes give you the benefit of raising organic vegetables right outside your door or window. Rising costs of produce have caused some budget-conscious people to reconsider the money they spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. But at what cost to their health? And the price of organic produce is even higher. You can grow your own vegetables, even without much space. Roots, leafy vegetables, and fleshy vegetables can all grow well in planter boxes, if you choose the right varieties and provide the attention they need.

Root vegetables are edible roots of plants. Vegetables which fall in this category include carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, radishes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. Root vegetables can work well in planter boxes, as long as the planters are deep enough. Try carrots and radishes.

Leafy vegetables also can grow well in containers. Lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard will provide a base for healthy salads or will give you some extra crunch in your sandwiches. You can also cook some leafy greens for a hot side dish. Whatever your culinary plans, consider growing your own leafy vegetables in your planter boxes.

Finally, some varieties of fleshy vegetables adapt well to containers. Try fresh cucumbers in your salads or make your own dill pickles. You can also grow eggplant and squash in planter boxes. Certain varieties of tomato work well, as do peppers (both sweet and hot). To obtain further information on which varieties of vegetables grow well in planters, consult an experienced container gardener or the staff members at a greenhouse.

When you grow vegetables in planter boxes, your primary concerns will probably be the nutrients in the soil and the moisture of the soil. Some growers recommend a peat-based potting mix as the best base for your soil. Whatever your preferred soil, you can enrich it with compost. Combine your homemade compost with the soil mix, one part compost to two parts mix.

Plants in containers usually require more frequent watering than plants in the ground because the soil in planter boxes dries out more quickly. You should check the soil surrounding your vegetable plants every day to evaluate the need for a watering. If your plants wilt during the day, or seem to have a dull color, these could be signs that they need more water. Give them a little more water and observe if they perk up.

Watering your vegetables in the morning may allow more water to penetrate the soil. Lower temperatures and less wind equal slower evaporation of the water.

If you enjoy the freshest vegetables, try growing your own. Even if you have little space to devote to growing things, you can grow vegetables in planters. Select vegetables that grow well in containers, or varieties of vegetables bred especially for container gardening. Select roots, leafy vegetables, and fleshy vegetables that you enjoy eating. Consider the best ways you can provide nutritious soil and sufficient water for your vegetable garden. Stick to natural options if you wish to harvest organic vegetables. Start selecting your favorite recipes for your homegrown produce.

Rachel Dawson is a freelance writer who can’t survive complicated gardening. She writes about container gardens and planter boxes.

red onion
By mcav0y on 2009-07-10 03:19:58
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Easiest Vegetables to Grow In a Small Space

Here is what you’ll need!

How To Regrow Vegetables From Your Kitchen

Potatoes

MATERIALS
1 sweet potato
1 yellow potato
Toothpicks
Mason jar or cups
Water

INSTRUCTIONS
Halve the sweet potatoes, and place cut side down in a jar filled with water. Use toothpicks stuck into the sweet potato to keep it slightly elevated from the bottom.
Place it in direct sunlight.
Replace with clean water every one to two days.
Once the potatoes have roots and sprouts (called slips) about 4-5 inches long, twist the slips from the potato, and set them in their own bowl of shallow water.
The slips will begin growing their own roots, and once they are one inch long, you can plant them in soil.

Lettuce

MATERIALS
1 head lettuce
Mason jar or cup
Water

INSTRUCTIONS
1. On a cutting board, cut two inches of the base of lettuce off.
2. Set the lettuce on its base in a glass with ½ inch of water, and place it in sunlight. Change the water every day.
3. After 5-7 days, some new leaves should have begun to sprout from the center, and roots should be forming. Transfer it to soil and you can begin harvesting leaves when they reach 6-8 inches tall.

Bok Choy

MATERIALS
1 head bok choy
Mason jar or cup
Water

INSTRUCTIONS
On a cutting board, cut the the 2-inch base of the bok choy.
Place the bok choy in a container with water and place in a sunny location.
Replace with fresh water every day or two. Use a spray bottle to mist the center of the plant for extra hydration if necessary.
With time, the outside of the bok choy will deteriorate and turn yellow, while the center will grow turing from a pale green to darker green.
When the bok choy has grown new leafy-growth at its center, transfer it to a container with potting mix. The container must have a good drainage hole.
Plant the bok choy deep, so only the tips of the new green leaves pointing up.
Place in an area that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Bok choy requires a lot of water, so water generously.

Scallions

MATERIALS
1 bunch scallions
Mason jar or cup
Water

INSTRUCTIONS
On a cutting board, trim the base of the scallions, keeping approximately 2 inches of the roots and base intact.
Place the roots in ½ inch of water with sunlight. Change the water every other day.
Transfer to soil after 5-7 days or keep in the glass of water. You can begin harvesting when they are fully grown.

Onions

MATERIALS
1 red or yellow onion
Pot
Soil

INSTRUCTIONS
Trim the base of the onion into a cube, keeping 1-2 inches of the root base intact.
Plant the onion directly into soil with a thin layer of soil covering the cut top. To make room in your garden, you can trim the sides of the onion as only the center is needed for regrowth.
Harvest the onions when the green tops have yellowed and fallen over.

Ginger

MATERIALS
1 knob of ginger
Baking dish
Water
Pot
Soil

INSTRUCTIONS
Place the ginger in a baking dish and soak it in warm water for overnight.
Ginger roots grow horizontally so fill a shallow, wide plant pot with rich, well-draining potting soil.
If you want more than one plant, you can cut the root into pieces, as long as they are at least an inch long (each should each still have at least 3 “eyes”), and as long as each plant has at least 8 inches of its own space in the pot.
Plant the ginger with the eye bud pointing up below 1-2 inches of soil.
Water lightly (often, but not so that it is over soaked) and keep in a warm place, though not one with huge amounts of direct sunlight per day.
It will take a few months before the ginger is large enough to begin harvesting pieces from it.

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The Rapid Growth Of Spring Onions, Time-Lapse
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