Pot Luck for 2008

Pot Luck for 2008.

Does your 2008 resolution list include living healthier, having a neater and more aesthetic living space and managing your time better? Of course it does - because chances are these points are there year after year, yes? Well, I have a short cut solution to all above-mentioned points: Container Gardening.

Grow your own organic vegetables and herbs, in attractive containers to create a mini kitchen garden that will defy space and time.

Select your containers based on where they will be positioned. A window box is ideal for kitchens, a hanging basket for outside the window and 2 large pots for flanking the back door for example. Add to your shopping list compost and slow-release plant food or organic compost, mulch such as bark chips, plus a selection of herbs you find useful and tasty. Your selection should be of plants that prefer the same climatic conditions such as garlic, coriander, origanum, basil, thyme, fennel and savoury.

Start by arranging drainage material and grouping the plants inside to see what grouping looks best. Don't pack plants tight against each other. Remove the plants again, add soil and start planting from one side of the container to the other. Lastly add a little plant food, firm the plants down and mulch with bark chips. Water well.

For a veggie pot-garden, you may choose dwarf French bean, Chinese lettuce, beetroot, red pepper and shallots. If you enjoy looking at (and eating) flowers, you can plant up chives, marigolds, nasturtiums and pansy. Salad-lovers can literally plant a salad with cherry tomatoes, some lettuce plants, a couple of parsley plants and chives - and why not some edible flowers mentioned above! Medicinal plants that can be useful include Bulbinella and Aloe for skin ailments, horseradish for colds, and lavender for tension and garlic for bronchitis.

January can be quite harsh though and you may want to keep an eye on seedlings and water your plants (and garden) well and remove weeds as they appear. Sow dill, parsley and basil now and make cuttings of sage, thyme and rosemary.

While thinking about this, why not consider giving your children each a container to plant, decorate and cultivate? Your kids may eat more green stuff as a result, take pride in their own creativity and be responsible for something living.

May 2008 bring you health and happiness!

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