Container gardening is an easy way to grow a fresh supply of vegetables, fruits, or herbs without having to plant an entire garden. It's perfect for individuals with limited space who still want to be able to enjoy fresh produce. Below, we'll take a look at a few of the best fruits to grow in containers.
Lemons are always at the top of my list for an easy fruit to grow in containers. Although there are many varieties to lemon suitable for container gardening, I believe either Dwarf Eureka, Improved Meyer, and Lisbon to be the best.
Yes, apples are easy to grow in containers, but only if you choose the right variety. No matter what variety you choose, make sure it is a 'dwarf' tree. When shopping, make sure to look for rootstocks such as M27, M26, Bud9, G16 or M9. Trees grown from these rootstocks will stay under 8' in height, making them the best apple trees for container gardening.
Strawberries are my absolute favorite fruit to grow in containers. Strawberries are hardy plants, and are easy to grow. Just one plant can provide you with a handful of delicious berries every now and again if you take proper care of it.
Peaches are easy trees to grow in containers, and come in several varieties. Golden Gem, El Dorado, Garden Gold, and Southern Sweet are just a few that will grow to a height of between 6' to 8'. The great thing about these varieties is they are self-fertile, so you can grow only one if that is what your space allows.
Blueberries can be tricky to grow, especially if your soil is not very acidic. They also require a fairly large pot along with an acidic growing compound in order to thrive properly, but the extra effort is worth it when you make a batch of muffins filled with berries you grew yourself.
Although this is is not a complete list of fruits suitable for container gardening, they are my favorite.
It's that time of year where you'll see watermelons in every grocery store and roadside produce stand, and nothing is more disappointing than cutting into one and discovering the inside is hard, pale, and not very sweet. That can surely put a damper on your cookout plans.
I know that the good ole Southern way of traditionally picking out a sweet melon is to 'thump' it. Although this does work to an extent, there are a few other ways that I prefer.
A yellow underside
I have found that the most reliable way of telling if a watermelon will be sweet or not is to check the underside. This bottom of a watermelon should be a creamy yellow, ( not white). This means the melon was allowed to lie on the ground and ripen in the sun before it was picked. If the melon is green all over, it means it was picked prematurely and won't be nearly as sweet.
Brown spots and webbing
The longer a melon lies on the ground, the more discolored the bottom will be. If there are brown spots, or even webbing, on the bottom, this is even better. This is pretty much a guarantee it will be sweet. As you can see in the photo above, there are plenty of brown spots and webbing on this melon I grabbed at the grocery store.
When buying a melon from a farmer's market or roadside produce stand, check the melon for any tiny holes in small clusters anywhere on the skin. This means that bees were burrowing and trying to get to the sweetness inside. If there is any expert out there on the sweetness of a fruit, it's a bee.
A dark stem
When a watermelon is ready to pick, the stem will begin to naturally dry up and turn dark. If it is picked while the stem is still fresh and green, it will be bland. If the watermelon you are purchasing doesn't have a stem, just check the ends. One of them should have a dark spot where the stem was. If this spot is still light, leave it alone.
Because they are roughly 92% water, a good watermelon will be heavy for its size. A light-feeling melon means the insides have begun to dry out.
Of course, I couldn't finish this article without telling you how to thump a melon. A melon should be thumped on its underside, and have a deep, hollow sound. A melon that is either under-ripe or over-ripe will sound dull.
There ya go. Some of the best ways out there to find a sweet watermelon. If you're ever in doubt, simply make it a point to buy from a farmer's market. Farmers know their stuff, and won't harvest melons until they're ready. Ask the farmer to help you pick the best melon if you're still unsure.
No matter how carefully you plan your garden or trim your lawn, you're bound to have the occasional weed rear its ugly head. If you don't take care of the problem quickly, weeds can spread and take over. Commercially-produced weed killers contain so many dangerous chemicals (some are known to cause cancer), and those with children certainly don't want their lawn or garden covered in something that dangerous.
Luckily, you can mix up a safe and effective homemade weed killer with 3 easy-to-find ingredients: salt, vinegar and dish soap.
Vinegar will kill anything it is sprayed on: weeds, vegetable plants, flowers.... just like a commercial herbicide; however, it won't make you sick and is eco-friendly. Although vinegar is powerful when it comes to killing off weeds, it isn't a permanent solution. This is where the salt comes in. Adding salt to this mixture will make sure that weeds never return. Dish soap simply helps the mixture cling to the weeds better.
What you need:
1 gallon of white vinegar
1 cup of table salt
1 tablespoon dish soap of any kind
a plastic bucket
a long handled spoon
a plastic spray bottle or pressure sprayer
How to make it:
1. Pour the vinegar into the plastic bucket.
2. Add in the salt, and stir until it is completely dissolved.
3. Add the dish soap and stir.
4. Fill the spray bottle with the mixture.
5. Store leftover liquid in a glass or plastic container, away from direct light.
How to use it:
On a dry, sunny day, thoroughly spray the weeds you wish to remove with the solution. Soak them completely. After a few days, they will dry up and die.
NOTE: Anything you spray with this will die, and it will be hard to get anything else to grow in that spot, so use this solution wisely.