Whether you have a small container or a large bed, the experts at Sunset can show you how easy it is to grow vegetables and herbs.
Fresh and Fabulous
Homegrown produce is an easy, healthy alternative to store-bought items. Not only are your backyard crops fresher, but you'll also save time (and fuel) by reducing trips to the store. Make gardening a family affair by encouraging children to help plant and pick -- it can be a beneficial learning experience!
And if you're lacking real estate for a full-blown garden, don't worry. Certain herbs and veggies grow extremely well in containers.
One of Sunset's editors once observed: "Starting a garden is like catching a train. If you're late, you miss it."
Our chart shows when to plant so you'll be on track for fall and winter harvests. You can start cool-season vegetables from seeds if you sow early enough, or set out transplants later in the season.
Veggie Container Gardens
Even if you don't have much sunny ground, you can still experience the pleasure of harvesting your own crops. All you need is a generous-size container, good potting soil, and a suitable spot -- a patio, deck, or corner that gets at least six hours of full sun a day.
Raised beds make gardening easy. Filled with soil mix, they provide the excellent drainage needed to grow picture-perfect vegetables. In just five easy steps, you can build this bed in an afternoon.
Growing your own salad greens trumps buying grocery lettuce any day. Not only is it easy to do, but it also allows you to experiment with new flavors and different ways to serve. Now in your own backyard, use two new harvest techniques to further expand your culinary options.
What types are best for growing in containers? Do potted tomatoes need special care?
The best tomatoes for growing in pots are cherry tomatoes. They do well in containers (at least 16 inches deep and wide), and need watering and feeding more often than tomatoes growing in the ground. The bigger the container, the less frequently you'll have to water in hot weather, and the more room roots have to run. A half whiskey or wine barrel is perfect.
Easy Herb Gardens
This two-tiered container garden holds a selection of basic herbs. Trailers and fillers -- chives, rosemary, and thyme -- tumble over the edges of the bottom pot (about 24 inches wide). Dwarf, purple, and sweet basils grow in the top pot (about 16 inches wide), with thyme filling in around the edges. To keep potted herbs healthy, fertilize and water them regularly.
For more easy ideas for gardening at home, purchase Sunset Books The Edible Garden.
Vegetable container gardening is perfect for the apartment dweller who loves squash or a condo owner who has always wanted to grow tomatoes.
When it comes to vegetables, nothing compares to the fresh taste of plucking them from the garden to munch raw or cook them right away. Farmer's Markets can come close, but they're usually only held once a week, and not all cities have them.