By Julie Provost
Gardening is not only good for the environment, it’s a therapeutic stress-reliever, too. If you live off base, then you can pretty much do whatever you want as far as your garden goes. When you live on base, you will have more regulations that can prevent you from having a traditional garden.
So what can you do? Start a container garden! These types of gardens are customizable, movable, require less physical work, and can be the perfect way to grow the vegetables and plants that you want while living in housing.
You will need to have pots with holes in the bottom for draining. You can make these yourself by drilling holes in any container that you want to use. You will also need the right soil. Potting mix with a fertilizer works well. Larger containers are best as plants can develop a better root system and require less watering. Containers, in general, do require more water as the plants do not have access to water found in the ground.
These plans will make container gardening a breeze:
Certain flowers are great to grow in containers and can give you a lot of colors in your garden. Marigolds, petunias, zinnias, impatiens, and African daisies all do well in a container. Plant flowers you would want to have in your home and use them to help keep pests away.
Determinate tomatoes do best in a pot. They will reach a certain height and stop growing and they are suitable for canning, making sauces, and will mature within a month or two. They will need some support such as a tomato cage.
Herbs are ideal for containers, and you can even have some of them in your kitchen if you have the space and the lighting for it. Basil, rosemary, thyme, and parsley are all great herbs to have on hand for cooking.
June-bearing strawberries will give you one main crop in the early summer and ever-bearing will give you a longer season. Hanging strawberry baskets are popular but you can also use most pots to plant them too. You can use a pot as small as 10-12 inches in diameter and eight inches deep.
Aphids can be an issue with peppers, but putting some ladybird beetles on your plants is a natural way to get rid of them. Make sure to harvest your peppers as they ripen. Sweet bell peppers are an excellent and versatile choice.
Growing lettuce in your container garden can give you free salads all summer long. Make sure to plant new lettuce every two weeks in order to have a lasting crop. Once you do harvest the lettuce, the plants will replace the leaves.
Radishes are fast growers–they can go from seed to plate in just 23 days. This also makes them ideal for kids to learn about how a seed changes into a plant. 12 radishes can grow in a standard 12-inch pot, and they do better before the heat of summer sets in or even into the autumn months.
Sugar snap peas
Sugar snap peas grow rather quickly and can be your first harvest of the season as you don’t have to wait until the last frost to plant them. You will need a type of trellis as the peas grow. Even something as simple as a few branches can work for this; you don’t need anything fancy.
Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at [email protected]