Gorgeous hanging baskets overflowing with sweet-smelling herbs or berries is a fabulous way to greet the summer season, and constructing them is a project the whole family can enjoy. Growing food in hanging baskets is a fun way for your kids to learn independence as well as good stewardship. The plants can easily be moved to the best spot for sun or partial shade, ideally close to the kitchen so you can easily add that gourmet touch to any meal.
Step One: Choose Your Basket
The most common choice for a hanging basket is an open-frame 14-inch wire variety. These provide excellent drainage, and the larger size means they won’t dry out as quickly as smaller baskets. You can choose any container with holes for drainage, but wire, plastic or wicker make good choices to keep it lightweight. Often garage-sale discoveries and even the dollar store may yield some quirky, budget-friendly baskets. Family members can select baskets to reflect their individual styles.
Step Two: Line Your Basket
Line your wire basket with wet sphagnum moss or a pre-shaped coco fiber liner. The advantage of the wire-and-moss-filled container is that it allows you to plant herbs or lettuce around the sides of the basket as well as the top. After lining the basket with a thick layer of moss, add compost or potting mix designed specifically for container gardening. Hanging baskets need extra fertilizer, so water-retaining soil is important. A few capsules of slow-release fertilizer or pelleted chicken manure will help keep the plants nourished over the summer growing season.
Step Three: Choose Your Plants
Start by planting parsley or cilantro along the sides of the basket. After adding more compost, the top can be filled with seedlings for herbs like basil, rosemary, sage and chives. You’ll be in culinary heaven with so many fresh herbs at your fingertips at dinnertime. Your next hanging basket can contain different types of salad greens, such as Paris Island romaine, red leaf, or mesclun mix. Strawberries also do well in hanging baskets, because the berries hang out over the sides for easy picking. Last but not least, cherry tomatoes are fun to grow and easy to harvest in hanging baskets. Dwarf varieties like Micro Tom and Basket Boy Yellow are bred specifically for hanging planters.
Millcreek Gardens can give you expert advice on starting your hanging planters. Since 1955, their experienced customer service team has been serving the Salt Lake area. They will be happy to answer any questions and help you find the perfect plants to make your hanging basket a delicious success.