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Tabletop gardens are edible centerpieces

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Posted: Monday, June 4, 2012 8:00 pm

(ARA) - With spring arriving earlier this season, gardeners across the country are inspired to plant now. Daydreams of fresh produce used in delicious sauces, salads and stir fries have many drawing garden plot plans and even starting seeds for future transplanting. Tabletop gardens are a fun and decorative way to expand into new planting opportunities.

Growing your own produce elevates the popular buying-local trend to a new sphere. Starting your very own edible garden can be a fun and economical way to serve the freshest herbs, greens and vegetables. For those seeking more gardening space beyond the backyard, "table-top" gardening is the new container gardening solution.

Container gardening for produce offers gardeners ways to grow all sorts of plants indoors and out. For example, decorate a table or bench inside your home with beautiful pots, filled with scented herbs or even crisp lettuce greens. Put your creativity to good use and find containers you can easily recycle - old serving bowls, pots, or even watering cans and juice containers. Drill a hole or two in the bottom of containers for drainage, or simply place the plants in a smaller plastic container inside that you can take out when watering. That old cooking crock or ceramic bowl has a new and purposeful life.

If you have a deck or patio, you can expand to larger containers, and thus, larger plants like tomatoes and peppers. If space is limited, see if your local garden center carries any dwarf vegetable varieties. Also, keep in mind that vining plants like cucumbers or squash can be grown up out of containers by simply placing the pot near a fence or trellis for vertical support.

Remember the delight herbs bring to your menus. Herbs are easy to grow both indoors and out, and adapt extremely well to containers. If you are an herb garden beginner, try the Miracle-Gro Culinary Herb Garden, which contains everything needed - Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, a pot and seed disks - to grow herbs on a window sill or on your kitchen table.

To help beautify your garden, consider mixing in edible blooming flowers. Pansies and violets are two beautiful and delicious blooms that can be tucked right into container gardens. In order to eat these flowers, they must be grown from seed. Both varieties grow well in the cooler spring and later fall months. These blooms not only add a mild sweet flavor to salads, candies and teas, but also add decoration as well. Other edible flower options are nasturtiums and carnations.

Once you have containers, veggies and herbs chosen, it is time to get started planting. Use Miracle-Gro Expand 'n Gro Concentrated Planting Mix to help your plants grow strong and thrive. This mix is lightweight, and when water is added, expands up to three times, giving plants the perfect soil mixture needed for nutrients and root growth. Then, simply add sunlight and water and watch your harvest grow.

Starting a table-top or container garden is a great way for any homeowner to get into the gardening spirit. Start your garden early this year, and soon you will be inviting friends and family over to enjoy delicious meals with vegetables and herbs grown in your kitchen or back patio.

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