Starting an Organic Garden in Planter Boxes
By Rachel Dawson

You can start an organic vegetable garden in planter boxes. Tired of waiting for the price of commercially produced organic vegetables to drop to more reasonable levels? You don’t need a large garden plot to grow your own vegetables. A few planters outside your window or door can provide all the space you need to plant some varieties of the vegetables you consume most often. You can choose from roots, leafy vegetables, and fleshy vegetables as you plan the layout of your organic garden. Selecting a nutritious mix of soil and watering your plants often should boost the health of your vegetables.

Carrots, beets, turnips, and radishes are all root vegetables. Roots also include potatoes, rutabagas, and sweet potatoes. Some of these edible roots can grow well in planter boxes. Carrots or radishes would make a good start for your organic garden. Do not select shallow planters for these vegetables, however.

Lettuce, Swiss chard, and kale are examples of leafy vegetables that you can easily grow in planters. Whether you enjoy cooked greens, raw salads, or a little crunch for your burgers, leafy vegetables can add variety to your diet and greenery to your organic container garden.

Round out your garden with some fleshy vegetables, such as cucumbers, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, and peppers. These plants all grow well in planter boxes. Some varieties of these vegetables have been specially bred for growing in containers. If you need more information about specific varieties of each vegetable, ask questions of an experienced container gardener or the staff at a trusted greenhouse.

After you have selected the vegetables you wish to grow, turn your attention to the soil composition. You can enrich the nutrients in your soil by mixing one part compost with two parts soil. Compost is a mixture of decaying organic material. It may include leaves, grass clippings, and manure, as well as organic materials left from your kitchen work (egg shells, banana peels, vegetable skins, and the like). You can brew these materials into compost at your own home and then use the resulting mixture to enrich your soil.

You also need to pay regular attention to the moisture level of the soil in your planter boxes. Sometimes plants in containers require more frequent watering because the soil in the containers dries out more quickly than the soil in the ground. To ensure that your vegetables receive enough water to stay healthy, check them every day. Stick your finger in the soil to evaluate the moisture. Check the plants themselves for signs of dryness. Dry vegetables may wilt during the day or exhibit a duller color than normal.

You can grow organic vegetables, even without a traditional garden plot. Planter boxes can offer a suitable environment for your veggies. Choose plants that grow well in smaller spaces, or select special varieties of your favorite vegetables. To achieve a well-rounded harvest, plant root vegetables, leafy vegetables, and fleshy vegetables. Provide your plants with good soil and regular watering. And start marking your favorite recipes to use for your organic vegetables growing outside your back door.

About the Author: Rachel Dawson is a freelance writer who can’t survive complicated gardening. She writes about container gardens and planter boxes.

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