The Lay of the Land
A Different Kind of Digging

Incredible Edibles

"Life already has so many boundaries and pressures - why add more in the garden?" -- Felder Rushing

Now that I've shown/described to you my "backyard challenges", you can understand why I don't really have the right space for a "traditional" vegetable garden.  Steep slope(s).  Lots of trees.  I have long fretted about putting in a vegetable garden, though.  Should I take out some trees?  Install terraced, raised beds?  Dig up some of my carefully-planned perennial beds to make a potager?  Just thinking about has been . . . very stressful.

Planting day may 15 002

But then. . . I attended a lecture by gardener extraordinaire, Felder Rushing.  Now, if you don't know of Felder Rushing, he is one gardener worth checking out!  Although he is an expert gardener -- with the academic, professional and practical credentials to prove it -- he is perhaps best known for his laid-back, just-do-it, have-a-grand-time approach to gardening.

Felder Rushing inspired me to take a whole new approach to edible gardening.   Shoot, he planted vegetables in some potting soil - still in the bag - in the back of his pickup. . . and then drove around the country with his portable garden for the whole growing season!  (And it worked!)  If he can do THAT. . . why can't I?  Not in the back of a truck, mind you. . . but on my sunny backyard patio.

And so, my incredible edible plans were hatched!

(There is a great book specifically devoted to edible container gardening:  The Bountiful Container by Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey.  It is inspirational, complete, easy, and packed with great tips, information, and recipes.)

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According to both Felder Rushing and The Bountiful Container gals, you can grow veggies and herbs in almost any container.  You just need to make sure there are adequate drainage holes, and that the container is deep enough for the roots of the plants you're growing.  I gathered together some plastic containers I had in my garagae, and then I picked up a few galvanized tubs (see above) at Lowes.  I also started collecting 5-gallon buckets.  Then. . . Tom drilled holes in the bottom of the containers for me (if they didn't have them already), and I spray painted the buckets and galvanized tubs bright red.

Container gardening 003 

Container gardening 001 

So far, I've planted peas. . .

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beans, beets, carrots, and parsnips (not all in the same container, but you get the idea). . .

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tomatoes and peppers. . .

May 16 001 

salad veggies and herbs. . .

May 16 002 

mint and lemon verbena for tea. . .

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and even potatoes!

Planting day may 15 001 

I've had fun planning and planting my incredible edibles.  I'm already seeing little sprouts and new growth.  Container gardening with vegetables may not provide me with a huge harvest, but I will get the satisfaction of eating my own home-grown food, and watching it all unfold before me.


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Love it! Veggies without having to hoe!


container gardening is a fantastic idea. I still do it even though I have space. It's nice to have things just out the back door to pick.


You totally inspired me!! I am buying the book and biting the bullet!!! I love my front yard flowers but my backyard is shady and "clayish".... never had a whole lotta luck with much of a veggie harvest. I can't wait to try my thumb at containers! I do it with flowers.... why didn't I think about doing it with veggies too?! :) once again... I get by with a little help from my blog-friends!


Lovely solution, good luck with your veggies and herbs too :)


This is the way we grow vegetables, mainly due to lack of space. We have a large tub with runner beans, some tomatoes, french beans, salad leaves, aubergine, chillies, sweet peppers and courgetttes [zuchini ?]. Getting dwarf plants helps. Nothing tastes nicer than fresh fruit and veg. Do you have fruit trees ? We love our apple trees, on dwarf rooting stock.
Nearly forgot. We've planted broccoli [12 plants. I expect casualties.] amongst the flowering perennials !


Love the container gardening. Your containers really have a great look! I'll not show Smith or we'd have them everywhere.


Looks fantastic! You have a lovely garden. Mine is very tatty, mainly because I don't do anywhere near as much in it that I should. I grow some veggies in containers because it is easier to control the slug activitiy in a container.

Potatoes are very successful in containers. You can also do them in plastic sacks - you roll down the sides of the sack and plant in the bottom. As you add the compost to earth them up you unroll the plastic bit by bit.

I do runner beans in a pot with a wigwam of canes. This year I am clearing out a section of garden to plan my courgettes, I have done them in pots before but am going to see if they can survive the slugs and hopefully give a better yield.

I'm in the North of England so the climate is not ideal for outdoor tomatoes but I have had excellent success with Tumbler tomatoes grown in hanging baskets.

I had a seed planting splurge the other week but didn't label what I had planted so I have lots coming up but I don't know if it is mixed salad leaves, perpetual spinach, chard or beetroot!

I also have lots of herbs in pots - several types of mint, verbena (for tisanes) thymes, rosemary, tarragon, lots of french parsley, chives, sage.

It is fantastic to stroll into the garden and pick salad leaves for lunch.

denise copeland

Thank you for sharing your spectacular red pots, as well as the wisdom of Felder Rushing! And thank you for planting the idea of" just do it."

I love the idea of pots in the truck and love thinking about what parking lots would look like if his idea caught on.


Amazing. And so inspirational!! I love the galvanized tubs... and the RED!


I see that flair and imagination have struck ;) What great ideas! I have done herb gardening in containers on my deck, and it was a great success. Such fun just to nip out the door and clip a few herbs to liven up dinner.

Diana Troldahl

I have been enjoying your gardening posts.
It looks like I might be able to garden again this year or next, we found a cool 'ferris wheel' type set up that has planters that you move to your level to work in!
I ADORE lemen verbena.

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