Build your own Edible Hanging Baskets June 25 2012

                  

Above are photos I took today of some of the seedlings I am growing for a workshop I am giving on July 2, 2012 at Orling & Wu in Vancouver's historic Gastown. All materials, seedlings and seeds are included for participants. We are doing the first workshop at cost in order to encourage more people to try growing their own food, even in small spaces. To reserve your space call 778.869.8668

Quite honestly one of the hardest things about building your own edible hanging is finding all the right ingredients.

Here are the things you will need:
  • wire framed basket (preferably with a swivel hanger so you can rotate it easily) The wires need to be far enough apart and/or pliable enough that you can insert your plants without damaging the branches or roots.
  • coconut coir, grass blanket or woodland moss -Woodland moss is my personal favorite. You can also use burlap or outdoor fabric for a different look.
  • water saucer or 18 inch square of plastic sheeting to help keep water from running out the bottom.
  • light weight soil for containers
  • seedlings - whether you grow your own from seed or hunt them down, a good basket will likely have a few rarities you simply wont find in a big box store. Some of my favorites are cherry tomatoes, cut & come again lettuce, miniature white cucumbers, dwarf peas, peppers, thyme, basil, cilantro, chives, violas, and nasturtiums.
  • seeds - it is a good idea to do succession planting of some plants to extend your season. I would recommend succession planting peas, cucumbers and cilantro.
  • you will also need gloves, scissors, plastic wrap & soil

Once you have all your materials follow these steps

Step 1: Place your liner in the basket, or line it with moss. Fold any excess liner material over the rim. Then, place the water saucer inside the basket. Don't use a saucer for shade baskets in damp climates, since it may keep the basket too wet.

Step 2: Mark the liner for side-planting. To designate planting positions, use a felt-tip pen to mark the plant positions with dots around the basket about 3-4 inches from the rim. Cut a cross-shaped slit in the liner about 2 inches by 2 inches at each dot.

Step 3: Prepare 20 quarts of hanging-basket soil mix and moisten it with 4 quarts of water. Add soil mix to the basket, patting it down firmly but gently until it reaches 3-4 inches below the rim.

Step 4: Thoroughly soak the plants by submerging the pots in water until all air bubbles disappear. This makes them more pliable for planting and helps them get established more quickly.

Step 5: Insert plants through slits in the liner. Remove plants from containers, holding them by the root ball to protect the stems. Wrap root balls in a square of plastic wrap to make insertion easier from outside the basket. From inside, pull root balls through so they rest on top of the soil. Remove the bag and anchor the root ball with a handful of soil.

Step 6: Next, add soil to within an inch of the rim. Place one plant in the center, and then space the other seven around it, an inch or so from the edge. Firm the soil around the base of each plant. Sprinkle one tablespoon of slow-release fertilizer beads over the soil.

Step 7: Attach hangers to the rim and hang the basket outside once there is no chance of overnight frost. In hot, dry weather, water it immediately and hang in the shade for a few days. In cool, damp weather, wait until it warms up before watering your basket thoroughly. Firm the soil around the roots of plants on the top layer after the first watering.