Container Gardening

  I love peppers.  I am extremely cheap.

These two sentences may seem random.  But if you’re a frugal grocery shopper who happens to love Southwestern cuisine, you know where I’m going with this.  Peppers can be expensive!  Okay, maybe in the grand scheme of things paying a buck or two for

a pepper isn’t going to break the bank.  However, if you eat them like we do in our house, it can definitely add up.  That’s why I’m planning my summer garden.

That may sound impressive to some people.  Really it’s not.  I’m secretly lazy and hate the thought of weeding, crouching, and frankly getting dirty.  That is why I am a huge fan of container gardening.  It doesn’t have to be a major endeavor.  You can do it with just a few containers, dirt, and seeds.  And if you’re creative, you can use a whole variety of things for your containers—large terra cotta pots, oversized planters, window boxes, even an old basket or hamper.

First think of what you would like to grow.  Love carrots, tomatoes, or peppers?  They grow great in containers.  Buy a large enough pot or bucket so the roots can grow.  Check the seed packets for how deep of a container you’ll need and how wide.  You can start a bunch of seeds at the same time in the pot.  Odds are, not all the seeds will sprout and you can thin the herd when they start growing.  If you are planting “climbing” veggies, put a small lattice or dowels in the pot for them to climb up.  Peas are one of my favorites.  I use a big 20 gallon round bin, drilling drainage holes in the bottom.  I fill it with dirt about ¾ full and place a small fence section from Menards.  The peas love it!

A few tips that I’ve learned:

  • Lining the containers with landscaping fabric will reduce soil loss when watering
  • You’ll need at least six hours of full sun on the containers
  • Metal containers are not as favorable because they hold heat and can burn the roots
  • Placing the pots on an old bench will reduce the need for bending (smarter not harder!)
  • Talk to a local greenhouse about which soil to use in your environment
  • Unglazed or porous pots will need more watering—otherwise daily watering for most plants

I hope you will be encouraged to go out and plant some veggies.  It doesn’t take a lot of space, time, or money.  You can have FRESH vegetables this summer, and a nice stock in your freezer.  And what neighbor can resist a couple of just-picked tomatoes?  Happy gardening!

Best Ever Chunky Guacamole

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 lime
  • 1 sweet red pepper
  • 1T minced garlic
  • 1-2 jalapenos
  • ½ C mango (we use frozen)
  • small bunch cilantro
  • 4-5 green onions

Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit.  Chop it up, but not too small of pieces or it will get mushy.  Roll the lime on the counter, cut it in half, and squeeze the juice over the avocado.  Stir it up so that the juice coats all pieces of the avocado, but be careful not to squish or mash it.  Chop fine all of the remaining ingredients and put in the bowl.  Stir all of the ingredients together and give it a taste.  We put a little salt and fresh ground pepper in, but you may want to wait until just before serving to add this.  It is better to make this a couple hours ahead so the flavors can marry.  Serve with chips, tacos, nachos, or rolled with a little sour cream in a warmed flour tortilla.  YUM!!

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