Here in southwest Missouri, our official frost date is May 2 this year. That means right now it’s prime time to get your green thumb on and try your hand at a little gardening. If you don’t have the space or maybe the energy to invest in a full-blown garden, then try your hand at some simple container gardening. There are plenty of things you can grow that will fare well in pots right outside your door.
Let’s start with fruit. You probably aren’t going to start an apple tree on your porch, so you’ll want something smaller. Let’s go with strawberries.
These sweet little nuggets are great for a porch garden, and you can even buy special strawberry-growing pots at Wickman’s Garden Village (1345 S. Fort Ave., Springfield). They have a funky shape that includes terrace-like holes for the strawberries to poke out of as they grow.
Herbs are some of the easiest things to grow in pots, and their fragrance is incredible. You can plant multiple kinds of herbs in a single large pot to save space, or give each one its own little home. Oregano and mint are especially easy to cultivate and require very little attention. At Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (rareseeds.com) in Mansfield, you can find some more unusual herbs that offer up some flavors you can’t find in the produce section of the grocery store, like lemon balm and Thai basil.
Containing Your Climbers
Plants like cucumbers love to climb and can wind up taking up a whole lot of space in the garden. But that doesn’t mean you can’t grow them in a smaller space. You just have to give them what they need to thrive. That means building a little trellis to stick inside the pot or using a tomato cage, which (you might have already guessed) will make porch-grown tomatoes possible, too. These will give your plants a place to go, but you have to make sure you also prune them.
Pep in Your Step
Sweet and hot peppers make great container plants. As long as you have plenty of sunshine, they are easy plants to take care of. And if you think big, heavy bell peppers might be a little much in a container, don’t worry. You can find pepper seeds in all shapes and sizes. Baker Creek offers fun and uncommon varieties, like the very hot and very beautiful Chinese Five-Color peppers or the sweet and bright purple Lilac Bell Peppers.