Don’t let a lack of space stop you from growing fresh vegetables. Even if you only have a small yard or live in a condo or apartment you can enjoy fresh and tasteful vegetables from your own garden. Most people think you need a big gardening space to grow your favorite vegetables, but you don’t. Picking the right type of vegetable and a variety of containers you can grow succulent vegetables too.

When choosing your vegetables look for varieties that will grow well in small places. Choose bush beans instead of climbers. Choose from the many determinate tomatoes out on the market. You are not limited just to determinate varieties, you can also grow indeterminate tomatoes like Brandywine, Celebrity, Better Boy and many more. With the indeterminate varieties will have to install a trellis. There are many dwarf varieties of vegetables on the market. (more…)

windowbox.jpgGardeners start eyeing their containers at about this time of year, wondering if they can reuse the potting soil that is in those pots and windowboxes. I wrestle with this each year too. The conventional wisdom I’ve heard (or thought I’d heard) was that the potting soil should be replaced each year. This is fine when all one has is a couple of small pots or maybe a windowbox or two. But what about when you start to get pretty serious in terms of container gardening? People are growing impressive vegetable gardens entirely in containers. The popular self-watering large (think Earthbox) containers hold about 40 quarts of container mix. Replacing that each year can really start to add up both in terms of money and in space needed for dumping the old stuff.



'Carmen' peppers in container

Q: I want to grow some vegetables in containers this year. Any tips?

A: Space comes at a premium in most gardens. Soils can be a problem – too much clay, too much sand. Light and moisture requirements are not ideal. Pests invade with a vengeance. What’s a vegetable gardener to do? Try gardening in containers. Luckily for us, plant growers and equipment suppliers have responded to our requests with a wide variety of patio-sized vegetables and the containers. (more…)

Q: Why do I have so many ladybugs in my garden this year?

ladybeetlecsu.jpgA: You’ve noticed more ladybugs too, eh? Lady bugs (also known as lady beetles) seem to be appearing in larger numbers than usual for this time of year. They are excellent additions to your garden because they are voracious hunters of some of the less welcome insects in your garden, especially aphids. The wonderful spring rains we enjoyed have given us lusher plants, and…sigh…more aphids. Aphids feed by sucking the moisture from your plants, so more water means more aphids. Aphids can reproduce very, very quickly (some are even technically born pregnant!). So the ladybugs are enjoying this bumper crop of their favorite food.

If you don’t thing the ladybugs are working quickly enough and you’re worried about aphid damage, you can also deal with aphids with a good strong stream of water. Once they are washed off, they cannot fly back up into the plant. In fact, the pressure of the water usually crushes them. Keep an eye on the plants you’ve washed and spray with the water again as needed. Insecticidal soap is another option for getting rid of the aphids. (more…)

pepper_chilly_chileQ: I don’t have a whole lot of space. How can I still have a vegetable garden?

A: Everyone is looking for ways to save money and get back to basics. Planting a vegetable garden is one way to put fresh, healthy food on the table while saving big bucks. How do you design a garden that meets your needs? Plant a specialty garden designed around your family’s food preferences.

The following gardens are designed for a 3×6’ garden plot or raised bed. Choose a sunny spot (at least 6 hours of sun daily), provide fertile soil with good drainage, and add the seeds or seedlings of your favorite veggies. Place your garden in a handy spot, so you can water and inspect it daily. Local nurseries have a good selection of seeds and starter plants for Colorado gardens. (more…)