Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mini Veggie Container Gardening

Don't have much garden space?  Or little time to devote to gardening this year?  Or are you getting older and a large garden is more difficult to maintain?  Well here is an opportunity to try your favorite vegetables in miniature size.

You have a wide selection of possibilities.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, squash and more are all available for growing in a small container.  In containers which are no larger than 24 inches high you can grow a number of tomatoes:

  • Tiny Tim is 45 days to maturity with red round fruits 3/4 inch.
  • Window Box Roma is 70 days to maturity with 2 inch red fruits and has a longer shelf life than regular tomato varieties.
  •  Elfin is 60 days to maturity with red fruits about one and a half inches which are crisp.

Next, you may want some cucumbers to go with your tomatoes:

  • Baby Cucumber with 52 days to maturity that makes a bushy vine.
  • Baby Whooper with 55 days to maturity that has no runners.
  • Midget with 50 days to maturity that has 2 foot vines.
For some of the bigger fruits such as cantaloupe:

  • Early Super Midget with 60 days maturity has a medium vine.
  • Minnesota Midget with 63 days maturity has 4 inch melons.
There are watermelons if you like those better:

  • Sugar Lumps with 78 days to maturity with melons that are 8 to 9 inches in diameter.
  • Lollipop with 70 days to maturity with melons that are 3-5 pounds.

Butterfly Gardening

Butterfly gardening is a different style of gardening. It is not as neat and manicured as some gardeners would like their garden. Gardeners need to know that to accommodate butterflies the plants that are offered must meet the requirements of their complete lifecycle. Food must be provided for the caterpillar stage and the adult stage.

To further understand how to design your butterfly garden, you need to know what butterflies will possibly visit your garden. Colorado State University has a fact sheet on Attracting Butterflies to the Garden (5.504). Here is a brief list of butterflies that come to northeast Colorado from Opler and Cranshaw's CSU fact sheet:

  • Western Tiger Swallowtail
  • Mourning Cloak
  • Clouded Sulfur
  • Checkered Skipper
  • Black Swallowtail

Here are some plant suggestions as sources for caterpillar food:

  • Hackberry
  • Milkweed
  • Wild licorice
  • Locust
  • Cottonwood
  • Chokeberry

Here are some plant suggestions as sources for nectar for adult butterflies:
  • Bush cinquefolia
  • Lilac
  • Sweet pea
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Zinnias
  • Cosmos