Ideas & Inspiration
Edible Container Gardening
Winter is the perfect time to plant edibles in containers. Short, mild days make it easy to keep up with watering, and chilly nights deepen the colors and sweeten the flavors of chard, kale, parsley and other edibles.
Use the same three-way combination that works with flowers – a thriller, spiller and filler – as a design guideline when creating containers.
Many different types of containers can be used as long as they have drainage holes in the bottom and are at least 12-inches deep and 14-inches wide. Broad bowl-shaped planters work especially well because they are not toppled by gusty winds.
Choose cool-season veggie and herb seedlings in eye-catching colors with interesting forms and varying textures. Your composition may look too pretty to eat if you include choices from each of these three groups:
- Thrillers. Choose upright-growing plants with colored stems and puckered leaves such as Swiss chard or Tuscan kale. Feathery dill or fennel foliage forms a light-textured backdrop. Other good choices include chives, leeks or dwarf snow peas trained to grow up a trellis.
- Fillers. Deep green curled parsley is a natural for this role, but red-blushed kale or a mixture of leaf lettuces will work great, too.
- Spillers. Save space for the finishing touch with herbs that spill over the side of the container such as marjoram, creeping rosemary or creeping thyme.
Place your container in its permanent spot and fill with potting soil to within 3-inches of the rim. After it is filled with plants and watered, it may be too heavy to move comfortably.
Remove seedlings from their pots and place in a triangle pattern into the soil. If using more than three plants, position the upright plant first and then arrange the others around it. Look at your composition from different angles, and move plants as needed to boost contrast between colors and textures.
Add organic potting soil to fill the container, gently press the seedlings in place, and water. Keep a watering can handy to keep the soil moist.