Create a Lasagna Garden in a Container

Lasagna Garden in a Container

Making homemade marinara sauce for your lasagna from fresh herbs and vegetables right out of the garden is a must in authentic Italian cooking. Making a red sauce that is amazing comes from growing herbs and vegetables in your own backyard so you may pick them at their absolute ripest. Growing a Lasagna Garden in a Container is a great use of space and allows you to grow a themed garden even if you don’t have that huge backyard garden.

Great lasagna starts with the perfect marinara sauce. The tomato which is the star of the show is the Roma tomato and it grows amazingly well in a container garden. Romas are known for their thick pulp and hearty tomato flavor and they cook down very easily into a sauce. The main herbs found in traditional marinara sauce include basil, thyme, oregano, parsley, and garlic.

Here’s how to create a lasagna garden in a container:

Plant the tomato transplant into the center of a large container – the bigger the better for this container garden and no smaller than 18 inches around or less than 10 gallons. Both tomatoes and basil can get to be big plants and are heavy nutrient feeders. Thyme and oregano are great to plant on the edges of the container as they will trail over and their root balls don’t spread out too much. Parsley can also grow larger if it has room to grow and it is best to plant between the oregano and thyme.

Growing garlic is more on the difficult side of gardening. If it won’t grow in your area, then grow garlic chives instead. They have a great garlic flavor and their bright green stems give a pop of color in your sauce. The best part is that they can grow on the edge of the container very easily.

The key to a successful lasagna garden is in the quality of the potting soil and the amendments you add to it. Amend the potting soil with compost, earthworm castings, plus blood and bone meal as fertilizers so that they give your plants their much needed nutrients. Add this amended mixture every 3 weeks to the top of the container and water it in very well. When you first plant your lasagna garden, give your plants a long drink of water or until you see what coming out the bottom of the container. Always remember to water long and slow than over just a sprinkle. After you have watered the plants, grab a stick or screwdriver and stick it into the soil to see how far down the water went. You need the stick to be wet at least 6 inches deep, if not, keep watering!

Make sure your lasagna garden is receiving at least six hours of sunlight a day. If needed, pull into in the shade if you have overly hot summers. I often will put my container gardens on wheels so I can roll them around the garden based on where the sun is at that part of the year. Enjoy your lasagna garden and happy container gardening!

Amazon.ca: Bosmere Potato Deck-Patio Planter Bag 50% off

gardening bag

Don’t have a lot of garden space, but you still want to try your hand at growing some vegetables?  This is where container gardening comes in handy!

Specifically, if you want to try growing potatoes, this Bosmere Potato Deck-Patio Planter Bag from Amazon.ca might be of interest to you!  It’s currently 50% off, making a bag only $7.69.  Here are some details about the bag:

  • Potato deck-patio grow bag planter
  • Made of flexible polyethylene
  • Drainage holes in and around the bottom
  • For the gardener who wants to grow their own veggies on a deck or patio
  • Measures 18-inch height by 14-inch width

Check out this post of mine to learn how to grow potatoes in a container.  While I don’t use a bag like this in the post, the same technique applies!

Container Garden Update #3

Time for another container garden update!  I have some successes and some “failures” to share this time.

Half success and half failure are my carrots.  One container is doing wonderfully, while the other has looked this way since the beginning.  I’m not quite sure what to do.  Should I pull them or wait it out?  Maybe I’ll replant, but I’m not sure there’s enough growing season left.

carrots3

Both tomato plants are doing really well!  Lots of little green tomatoes and one red one waiting to be picked!

tomato3-2tomatoes2-1

My potatoes are growing like crazy!  Just after I took this picture, I added some much needed soil.  I’m so curious to know what’s going on under the soil.  Will I see potatoes when I harvest??

potatoes

The beans are doing well and look sort of pretty with the orange flowers!  But, unfortunately, I had to pull the peas that were sharing the container.  They just weren’t doing well at all.  Most likely because I neglected watering them for a couple of days.  I should really take my own advice that I shared in this post:  5 Container Gardening Mistakes to Avoid.

beans

Uh yeah,  my lettuce looks pretty sad doesn’t it?  I let the lettuce grow too much before I picked them so I decided to cut it all down with my kitchen shears to get them to grow again.  We’ll see!

lettuce

How is your garden growing?  What are your successes and failures?

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.

Some Vegetable Gardening Books to Consider

Since I only have limited knowledge of vegetable gardening, I thought I’d make a list of all the books related to vegetable gardening that I’d love to get my hands on!

guide to Canadian vegetable gardeningThis book by veteran Canadian garden writer Doug Green is full of information that will educate Canadian gardeners in all aspects of planning, installing, planting, and caring for their new garden. Gardeners will learn how to ensure their garden is eco-friendly and how to save money by storing, canning, or freezing the bounty of the garden.  With hundreds of full colour pictures, Guide to Canadian Vegetable Gardening is sure to be the standard for Canadian gardeners for years to come.

 

square foot gardeningWhen he created the “square foot gardening” method, Mel Bartholomew, a retired engineer and efficiency expert, found the solution to the frustrations of most gardeners. His revolutionary system is simple: it’s an ingenious planting method based on using square foot blocks of garden space instead of rows. Gardeners build up, not down, so there’s no digging and no tilling after the first year. And the method requires less thinning, less weeding, and less watering.

 

year round vegetable gardenerThe first frost used to be the end of the vegetable gardening season — but not anymore! In The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener, Nova Scotia–based gardener and writer Niki Jabbour shares her secrets for growing food during every month of the year. Her season-defying techniques, developed in her own home garden where short summers and low levels of winter sunlight create the ultimate challenge, are doable, affordable, and rewarding for gardeners in any location where frost has traditionally ended the growing season.

 

vegetable gardener's bibleThe invaluable resource for home food gardeners! Ed Smith’s W-O-R-D system has helped countless gardeners grow an abundance of vegetables and herbs. And those tomatoes and zucchini and basil and cucumbers have nourished countless families, neighbors, and friends with delicious, fresh produce. The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is essential reading for locavores in every corner of North America! Everything you loved about the first edition of The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible is still here: friendly, accessible language; full-color photography; comprehensive vegetable specific information in the A-to-Z section; ahead-of-its-time commitment to organic methods; and much more.

organic gardeningRodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening has been the go-to resource for gardeners for more than 50 years—and the best tool novices can buy to start applying organic methods to their fruit and vegetable crops, herbs, trees and shrubs, perennials, annuals, and lawns. This thoroughly revised and updated version highlights new organic pest controls, new fertilizer products, improved gardening techniques, the latest organic soil practices, and new trends in garden design.

 

verticle vegetable gardeningVertical vegetable gardening isn’t intuitive. Although some vegetables, such as tomatoes and pole beans, have been grown vertically for a very long time, it is only recently that gardeners who are short on space have looked to vertical methods and structures for growing vegetables that traditionally have been thought to require a lot of horizontal space. Vertical Vegetable Gardening provides information on growing all types of leafy, root, and other vegetables vertically, saving space, protecting from insects, and making harvesting easier. Now people living in urban areas can grow produce that used to require sizable plots of land. Also included are ideas and plans for vertical structures.

grow great grubYour patio, balcony, rooftop, front stoop, boulevard, windowsill, planter box, or fire escape is a potential fresh food garden waiting to happen. In Grow Great Grub, Gayla Trail, the founder of the leading online gardening community (YouGrowGirl.com), shows you how to grow your own delicious, affordable, organic edibles virtually anywhere.  Whether you’re looking to eat on a budget or simply experience the pleasure of picking tonight’s meal from right outside your door, this is the must-have book for small-space gardeners—no backyard required.

 

Do you have any favourite gardening books to recommend?

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.

Repurposed Wagon Wheel Herb Garden

wagon wheel herb garden

Ann sent along this wonderful repurposing idea!  Use an old wagon wheel as your herb garden!  I love it!

Unfortunately though, I couldn’t find the original source of this image.  If you happen to know where it originated from, please let me know!

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.

How to Harvest Lettuce

How to harvest lettuce

If you’ve been wanting to learn how to harvest lettuce, this new video should help you out!  Lettuce is one of my favourite things to grow in a container.  Not only does it grow fast, it’s virtually fool-proof too!  After learning the first year I tried to grow lettuce that it doesn’t like being in the hot sun for too long, I’ve been on a roll and have a couple containers every year.

Watch the video to see how I harvest spring mix lettuce leaves:

Lettuce also happens to be very easy to harvest.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. The best time of day to harvest is in the morning, before the heat of the day wilts the leaves.
  2. Pinch the leaves off about an inch above the soil.
  3. Wash your leaves
  4. Enjoy a delicious salad!

By pinching off the leaves (instead of pulling the roots out of the soil) you’re allowing your lettuce to keep growing throughout the season.

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.

How to Harvest Basil

how to harvest basil

I’m back with another video!  This time it’s all about how to harvest basil.  The way I show in the video will allow your plant to grow bushier, which means you should have plenty of basil leaves to enjoy all season long!

When harvesting basil, it’s best to pinch off a piece of the stem rather than just snipping off a leaf or two. Before you make your pinch, take a close look at your basil plant. Basil leaves grow in sets of two and the leaves are positioned opposite from each other on the stem. If you look at the point where the leaves meet the stem, you should see two sets of tiny leaves growing out of the junction. When you’re harvesting, it’s important to make your pinch directly above a set of leaves. By pinching off the main stem, you’re sending a signal to the leaves that it’s time for them to grow into branches, in turn, creating a bushier plant.

basil

If you want to keep your basil fresh, place your freshly harvested stems in a glass of water rather than sticking it in the fridge. The basil will stay fresh in the water for a week or more. In fact, if you leave the stems in water they will eventually root and you can replant them in a pot or out in the garden!

Related:  How to Grow Potatoes in a Container

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.

5 Container Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

container gardening mistakes to avoid

In the short time that I’ve had a container garden, I’ve learned a few things about what not to do when it comes to planting a successful garden.

In no particular order, here are 5 container gardening mistakes to avoid:

Don’t fill a big container in the wrong place

Have you ever tried to lift a big container garden filled with dirt and plants? I have, and it’s not fun. When using a large container, make sure to place your pot where it will stay, and then fill it.  You’ll save yourself a lot of sore muscles!

Related tip:  if you’re planting a vegetable with shallow roots in a large container, you can fill the bottom third with empty plastic containers or Styrofoam.  This will make your container much lighter, provide good drainage and make it cheaper to fill since you’ll need less soil.

Don’t over-water your plants

To avoid over-watering your plants, make sure to use containers that have drainage holes.  Also, be sure to read the moisture requirements for the plants you chose and then follow what the labels say. A good habit to get yourself into before you water, is to check if the soil is moist. To do this, put your finger into the soil about an two inches deep. If the soil at your fingertip feels dry, water.

A sign of over-watering is yellow leaves or limp plants. If you notice either of these signs, your soil is too wet.  Move the containers to a dry spot or stop watering until they dry out.

Don’t under-water your plants

Most container gardens need watering at least once a day in the summer. Sometimes small containers and hanging baskets, need watering more often because there is less soil to hold the water. When you water, make sure to really soak your plants.  If you only give them a tiny bit, the water will only wet the top layer of soil. which won’t reach the roots. I like to water until I can see it coming out the bottom of the pot.

Related tip:  Make sure you have your containers in a convenient spot for watering.  One year I decided to put some containers on our bedroom deck which meant I had to traipse through the house with a dripping water can about four times a day because there was no hose.  It was a real pain!

Don’t buy sick plants

If you’re purchasing starter plants rather than seeds, make sure to buy healthy plants.  Buying at a local nursery is a great place to start since the staff is usually full of valuable advice.  They’ll even help you pick out healthy, pest and disease free plants!

Don’t have unrealistic expectations

Before you jump into container gardening, take a look at your life.  Will you be away a lot during the summer?  Do you have dreams of a more relaxed summer with less to-do’s?  If so, you may want to reconsider having a container garden.  My first year of container gardening, I was really excited to start planting.  I think I bought every type of plant that was suitable for containers.  As the season went on, I lost my interest since watering the plants daily felt like one more to-do I didn’t want to do.  After that initial foray into container gardening, I have since learned to either cut back on the amount of plants or forget about it completely, to make it work with my life each year.

While it may seem there are a lot of don’ts when it comes to container gardening, it’s really not that difficult to grow delicious vegetables at home!  Quite often I’m surprised at how “tough” plants can be!

Happy gardening!

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.

 

Container Garden Update #2

I thought it was time for another container garden update since there’s quite a bit of growth since my last update!  I’m quite please with how it’s coming along!

First up are my tomato plants.  This was exciting to see; there are tiny little green tomatoes growing!  Not long now before we’re eating them!

tomatoes

tomatoes

This bucket of carrots is doing pretty good too.  It’s doing way better than my other bucket because it received a lot of rain water when we were having a rainy week.

carrots

As you can see, this container of carrots is not doing as well.

carrots

The beans are doing very well!  And the peas too.  They’re hidden behind the beans.  Although they’re doing well, I’m not sure it was a great idea to plant them in the same container.  I had to unravel the peas from the beans.  I may have to put some sort of lattice in the container for the peas to climb.

beans and peas

Even though I only planted the potatoes a little over a week ago, they’re already starting to poke through the dirt!  It probably won’t be long until I have to add more soil, especially if we get some hot weather.  Wanting to know how to grow potatoes in a container?  See my post here.

potatoes

I think I’ve got some lettuce harvesting to do if this lettuce picture is any indication!  I love growing Spring Mix type lettuce.  It’s so easy to grow and it grows fast too!

lettuce

I forgot to take a picture of my basil, but I intend on doing a quick video showing how to prune it in the near future.

How is your garden growing?

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.

How to Grow Potatoes in a Container

how to grow potatoes in a container

Did you know you can grow potatoes in a container?  It’s true!  You can grow potatoes in a container and I’m going to attempt to show you how to do it with the video below.  Growing potatoes in a container is ideal if you have limited gardening space like me!

Before you watch the video, I feel as though I should warn you about the lack of “greatness” to the video.  I winged it the other night after Sienna had gone to bed.  In other words, it’s not scripted, I didn’t fix my hair or get the leftover lasagna off my sleeve :P.  And I gave some incorrect details in the video that I’ll write out correctly below the video. :)

There are a variety of containers you can use to grow potatoes, but I really like using a big plastic garbage can because it holds a lot.

Here are the 10 steps to growing potatoes in a container:

  1. Poke or drill several holes in the bottom of the garbage can.
  2. Place your container in a spot that will get a lot of sun throughout the day.
  3. Fill the bottom of the container with about 3 inches of soil.
  4. Place 4 – 5 whole seed potatoes into the soil, making sure they’re evenly spaced.
  5. Make sure the potatoes are completely covered by about two inches of soil.
  6. Water the potatoes thoroughly.
  7. Once the plants have grown to 7-8 inches in height, pour more soil into the container.  The soil level should be about three inches from the top of the plants.
  8. Water the plants as needed.  (Everyday, unless the rain gets them good)
  9. Each time the plants reach 7-8 inches above the soil level, pour more soil into the container, maintaining the soil at three inches from the top of the plants.
  10. At the end of the season, dump out the contents of your container and dig all around the soil to get your potatoes!

Have you ever tried growing potatoes in a container? 

Looking for more Gardening ideas?  Check them out here.