Sally and her son Eli enjoyed steaming their fresh ,just off the front steps, edamame. Edamame is a favorite appetizer in many Asian restaurants, and yes, you heard right. Sally & Eli grew edamame just off the front steps of their Lake Carolina home. Sally, like many suburbanites, has very small yards to work with, but fortunately fresh produce can be grown anywhere you have sun, all year round, just by just getting a little creative.
Sally chose to grow edamame in two bright blue pots that complimented her entry way right nicely. Container gardening is all the rage right now because most pots are inexpensive, decorative, and you can grow just about anything in a container. When choosing a container, size matters. Be sure to match your crop to your pot size.
You can grow pole string beans, pole lima beans, cucumbers, tons of different kind of peppers and herbs,and even broccoli and cabbage in small containers.(Greens like broccoli and cabbage are cool weather plants, don't plant them now.) Herbs can be grown in smaller 5 gallon buckets/pots, however bush beans, peppers, broccoli, cabbage and similar plants need a little more room. I recommend at least an 8 gallon pot.
You can grow patio, or bush tomatoes in 8 gallon pots, but for most tomatoes, you want to increase the pot size to a 15 to 25 gallon. A bush or patio tomato is a tomato in which the plant doesn't grow very big, however they have nice size fruit on them. Tomatoes that are not of the bush or patio variety need more space for their roots to spread out and take in nutrients, thus they need a bigger pot. Other plants that need more room to grow are eggplant, corn, bush beans, crowder peas, and collards. (Collards are also a cool weather plant.) Planter boxes are also a great way to add more places to
Make sure that where ever you set up your boxes or pots, that the area gets at least 8 hours of full sun. If you are blessed with shade trees- don't despair. This may be a great way to start a new trend. Talk to your home owner's association about starting a neighbor hood community garden or talk to your church. You could also ask people on your street, who are blessed with more sun than you, to see if they would loan you a sunny spot. If you provide a chair , a glass of sweet tea, and a spot under your shade tree to them, it may sweeten the deal.
When planning your garden, planting vegetables that compliment each other, will save on space, save on fertilizer cost and even keep you from having to use harsh chemicals. An example of companion gardening would be growing basil around your tomato plants to repel the bugs. A type of companion gardening called The Three Sister's Garden, brings back the Native American way of planting crops to take up less room and benefit from each other.
Chenoa (White Dove) would first sow her corn seeds. As the corn started to grow, Chetnzi (Yellow Hawk) would plant a running bean. Running beans are exactly as it sounds- beans that run. They will grow up the corn stalks. Beans are nitrogen fixing. Corn needs nitrogen. The corn gives the beans something to grow on and the beans supplement the soil.
After the beans started growing up the corn stalks, Aiyana (Endless Beauty) would plant squash and zucchini. Squash and zucchini have big leaves that look like elephant ears, that will offer ground cover. The big leaves keep the heat from drying up the ground so quick and also keep the weeds down.
I like to take the Three Sisters Garden and add her step sisters to it. Step sisters like Petunia and Sun Flower.(Petunia and Sun Flower chose not to get a traditional name.) Squash, zucchini and most plants that we eat rely on bees for pollination. The bees are attracted to brightly colored flowers like petunia and sunflowers, but just about any flower will do.
By getting creative you can grow fresh produce in your own yard, no matter what the size. You can also grow year 'round. This month you can grow sweet potatoes, edamame, all kinds of beans, corn, watermelon, pumpkin, squash, zucchini, okra, and much more. Let's get growing South Carolina.