Swinging Salads – Floating Veggie Garden
In the 21st century, fewer and fewer people have enough space to plant a substantial vegetable garden, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying the freshest of produce. Plant everything you need for a delicious salad in hanging baskets for a floating veggie garden that doubles as great patio décor.
What you need for your floating veggie garden:
- A wire mesh basket with a wire hanger.
- Coir for lining the basket.
- Plastic for lining the inside of the coir.
- Potting medium, slow-release fertiliser like Atlantic Bio Ocean, palm peat and EXL Gel pre-mixed for potting mixture.
- A selection of suitable plants.
- Tools – sharp scissors, empty pot, watering can.
- A hook to suspend the basket from.
Try these floating veggie garden combos!
Spicy summer salad: Strawberries, thyme and chilies.
Homemade pizza basket: Tomatoes, oregano and basil.
Leaf lovers: A variety of greens in one basket.
Flavour kick: Thyme, parsley, rosemary and nasturtiums.
FOOD GARDENING EXL Gel is used for water retention and it is great for our drought-prone country! It conserves water and helps to keep your plants hydrated by retaining water in the soil. Simply add the contents of a sachet to 1 litre of water, mix and allow it to stand for a while before adding it to your potting soil mix.
The best basket veggies (and some fruits!)
- Tomatoes are a very popular choice for hanging baskets and some varieties are bred for this exact purpose. Tomatoes can be greedy so make sure to leave them lots of space and water them regularly.
- Herbs like parsley, thyme or rosemary are very tasty in salads and make good basket companions for other veggies.
- If given enough space, lettuce can grow well in a hanging basket and makes a great tall centre feature.
- Nasturtiums are a pretty, peppery addition to summer salads, and their flowers also look great trailing from hanging baskets.
- A spicy salad can use some chilies, which luckily grow well in baskets and add a pop of colour to plain herbs or leafy vegetables.
- If you’re brave, try growing strawberries in your basket and throw them on top of a leafy salad with mint and chilies for something different with a bit of a kick.
Tip: Hang your baskets at eye level! When your basket is too high it becomes difficult to maintain and hides the beautiful plants. Keep the baskets out of the way to prevent any hazards to the vertically gifted. Use a chain from the hook to the basket if necessary
- Hang the empty basket from a hook at waist level or place it on top of a large pot to keep it steady to make it easy to work with.
- Prepare the potting soil mix. The potting mixture should be light as hanging baskets can become heavy when holding water. Add potting soil, palm peat, fertiliser and EXL Gel to a pot according to package instructions and mix thoroughly
- Place the coir lining inside the wire basket and line it with plastic. Pierce four holes in the bottom of the plastic, ensuring that they are not too big or the basket will lose too much water. Place a small amount of potting soil in the bottom to hold the plastic in place.
- Arrange your chosen plants inside the basket, leaving them room to grow. Place taller plants in the centre and shorter ones on the side, hanging any trailing plants over the edge to allow them to grow downwards outside the pot for a fuller look.
- Fill in the gaps with the remaining soil mix, leaving some space below the rim so the soil does not spill out when watered and cut off any excess plastic.
- Water the basket and hang it from a sturdy hook, accounting for the weight of the basket when it is holding water.
Keeping up Water regularly, especially in summer and if the plants receive full-day sun. Feed your veggies and herbs every second week with a liquid fertiliser. When harvesting from the basket, pick carefully by cutting different parts of the plant rather than a whole section to prevent the basket from looking empty.