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Friday, April 3, 2020

Hanging Salad Bowls?

Maybe you remember two years ago I had pretty hanging flower baskets at my front entry. Then last summer, I decided to plant something pretty and edible, so I bought a packet of nasturtium seeds. Those edible flowers did okay, but not really enough in the way of food. So, this year, I've decided to just go all out vegetable garden in my hanging baskets. After rejuvenating the soil in all 5 of the baskets, I'planted red leaf lettuce seeds. From a distance, I hope the red leaves will just look colorful. Meanwhile, I hope to be able to harvest leaves for our salad bowl. I'll know if this is successful in about 45 days, as this variety of lettuce is supposed to mature in 38 days (and plants always take longer in my yard).


  1. Quick question about using veggies in a planter that once had flowers. The dirt (I reuse the dirt) housed flowers and some plant food in years past. Is that dirt fine now for edibles if this year I put lettuce, etc. or will the plant food from years past leach into the edible veggies this year?

    I may just try this as well. I always have certain pots used for herbs but now I would like to add the flower pots (yes, I save the potting soil each year) to now plant edibles.


  2. I think your hanging pots will be very pretty. I wonder if it will be hard to resist the urge to not harvest exactly what you want to keep the pot looking pretty. I know that would enter my mind.

  3. Thanks for asking this, Alice. I always wonder about this, too. I generally don't grow any ornamentals that are toxic (just on general principles), but I save my potting soil like you. L and L, most years I'd wonder about keeping the pot pretty, too, but this year, I'll be happy to have anything growing that we can eat, I think. (wink) Of course, we're rural-livers, and no one's coming to visit, anyway.

    Lili, I love this idea. I'm sort of discouraged that the long sequence of disruptions in our lives, which you know about, has made it impossible for us to start our planned permanent garden last fall or this spring. It's out of our hands, but we're encouraging DS to fill his pots and grow-boxes with more veggies and fewer flowers, as you're doing. BTW, I love nasturtiums in salad.

    Hang in there, everybody! Sara

  4. Hi Alice,
    I don't know for certain, but I believe that the common plant foods for home plant use wash through the soil. in potted plants I think the difference between ornamental and vegetable plant foods is more in their balance of nutrients. So, some plant foods encourage blossoming and others encourage green growth. Any that remained from one year to the next wouldn't necessarily inhibit vegetable growth or be toxic (they're not heavy metals).

    The issue with reusing soil in pots is more that the soil needs some rejuvenating with a little organic matter and some new plant food. The organic matter will help hold water and the plant food will add nutrients to soil that's mostly depleted. For organic matter, you can use compost or even a couple of handfuls of spent coffee grounds. I saved coffee grounds for a couple of weeks, then dumped each pot of soil into a large bucket, added some of the coffee grounds and a sprinkle of plant food and stirred the whole thing up before putting it back into each pot. Emptying the pots also helps aerate the compacted soil, which will help the plants. If you don't have compost, you can also look for especially rich soil in your own yard and dig a bucket full to incorporate into your potted soil.

    Good luck with this, Alice. I think using edibles in place or ornamentals is a good idea this year.

  5. Hi Live and Learn,
    Well, here's how I look at it. I would fill the pots with some new plant or seeds, anyways. So, even if I'm tempted to keep it looking pretty and not pick from it, my hanging salad bowls are kind of a back-up plan. Let's say we can't get out to a store, but want something fresh. The lettuces are there, just in case. Whereas, if I'd filled the pot with something inedible, that wouldn't be a possibility. So, I could see myself not wanting to pick because it would make the pots looks scrawny, but when it comes to providing food for my family, I'd rather have scrawny-looking pots than no salad at all. This summer, I'm trying to plant every space I can with edibles. We'll see how it goes, I guess. At the very least, these will be lettuces that can't be eaten by the wildlife in my yard, hanging from the roof's edge.

  6. Hi Sara,
    I know. This must be frustrating, trying to get to your forever house and having obstacles everywhere you turn. This will pass. I'm glad you're encouraging your son to plant some edibles, both for him as well as maybe for you, too, if you can maybe take a visit this summer when the virus has waned.

    Ha ha, that';s a really good point about not likely having many visitors, so no need to worry about keeping your pots looking pretty. 3 of my baskets will hang on the back side of the house, where not even the UPS guy (our only visitor this season) will not see them. So, maybe that will give me license to pick away at those pots.
    Have a good day, Sara!

  7. Some edibles grow better in pots, for one, green onions. Usually this plant is used fresh sparingly to add flavor, but we're serving this as a vegetable. My MIL taught us to blanch the stalks, wrap and tie in a knot, and serve with a miso dressing. Branching reduces the pungent flavor that is sought as garnish on dishes and as an ingredient in marinades.

    Be safe,

  8. I think the pretty lettuce is a great idea, Lili. As you know, I'm not a gardener, but my husband uses some of our extra pots to grow salad greens and spinach (and nasturtiums, although we usually don't eat them, just enjoy their prettiness!) and he re-uses soil and it works out well. We re-use potting soil for this.

    We are having another day of beautiful spring-like weather. I hope everyone gets some sunshine today--it sure is a mood enhancer. Happy weekend!

  9. What a great idea and way to think outside the box!


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