by Michael Smith (Veshengro)
Many, if not indeed the majority of, gardeners think that hanging baskets are just for flowers and such. However, hanging baskets can be great for growing of a variety of vegetables and fruit, and that away from pesky slugs and it also, if mixed with some flowers, confuses the birds, especially as far as strawberries are concerned.
You can do the same with lettuce and leafy greens and many of them are not just green but have rather many different hues of green, over olive to nearly brown and if you have Swiss Chard the better still as that is really one helluva colorful leaf vegetable.
Now don't just hang those baskets at the back of the house and such but, like any good any born and bred suburbanite would do and hang them out front too. Not only will it confuse the birds, it will also confuse the neighbors many of who may never have seen what a lettuce looks like except for with their heads lopped off in a grocery produce shelf.
You can think of such vegetable planters, and they don't all have to be hanging baskets, as your "gateway drug" for the neighborhood to get into urban farming.
Soon, you may also have all of the neighbors tucking lettuce in here, carrots in there, and kohlrabi next to the Japanese maples or kale in the perennial bed.
Look at it as a sinister plan to transform suburbia into little micro-farms.
If you are growing what is often referred to as micro-greens, that is to say, cut and come again salad vegetables, such as spinach, chard, rocket, etc., where you but cut the leaves when they are still very small, then hanging baskets and such like planters are a great way of doing it without taking up space in the rest of your garden and you only need to step out onto the front or back porch and harvest the leaves you want.
Why not give it a try? I grew some strawberries, as a trial, in a hanging basket last year, mixed with some flowers and no slug or bird got any that way. It worked a treat. This year I will transfer all of my strawberries into hanging baskets and am also looking to get some more hanging planters and hooks to have other vegetables also away from hungry beaks and slug and snail mouths.