From Lallah’s Garden

Tips for successful container gardening

In April I wrote about growing your home garden in containers, but I did not tell you how to dig a hole to plant the vegetables. You probably bought plants already started.

The hole is very important.

Papa told me how to plant his orchard (I was 14). If I planted it correctly, it would last a lifetime. It is still there! Bearing fruit each year. He said "When the trees get here, measure the depth of the roots starting from the line of the trunk showing how deep they were planted in the nursery. Stretch the roots out to measure the width. Now, you have the measurement of the hole you must dig. After you dig the hole, put good soil, compost or topsoil, in the bottom. Set your tree in, as you start filling the hole, fill a little and stretch the roots out, fill between and around them, water as you fill. Be sure no air space is left around the roots. Pack the soil all the way to the top of the hole."

The garden plants are so similar in measuring and digging the hole, water often as you fill the hole.

My strawberry plants had long roots and a lot of them all wadded up. I combed them carefully with my fingers. Both the width and the depth are important. Do not set them deeper than they were growing, you would rot them off.

The kale, collards, squash all the other garden plants were in little packs. The roots filled the little pots. How do I get the roots untangled? I used a 10-penny nail and gently worked them loose. (Wow! What a job, I want to plant seeds in my containers next time.)

The tomato plants were long and leggy. I dug a 6-inch hole for each plant, added 1 tablespoon Epsom Salt to bottom, added a little dirt over that. Mixed fine ground eggshells to the dirt as I gradually filled in around the plant. The eggshells provide a slow release of calcium for all season. Chopped up garlic and their green tops added to the dirt will slow down or stop the virus that makes the tomato leaves fall.

I do hope this information will help you be successful gardeners.

Yes, I talk a lot about carrots. I do not grow enough for our use. I order them 48 pounds at a time. I juice 1 pound of carrots for each of us each day. Dr. Walker in his laboratory proved that carrot juice is equal to mother’s milk in nutrition. You can use them in soup, stir fry or cooked the way you like them, you get a little nutrition. Uncooked is much better, so much more nutrition.

I’m so thankful to live in Arkansas! To have met and continue to meet people with the ability to share tender affection, that makes me want to grow and do more each day to be worthy, as God trusts me with today and tomorrow.

Lallah Lee Ostergren has been an organic gardener for more than 35 years.