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    How to Grow Food in Hanging Planters

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    How to Grow Food in Hanging Planters

    Flowers are not the only thing that can thrive in hanging planters. You can cultivate a survival garden year round no matter where you live by applying vertical gardening techniques to an indoor fruit and vegetable garden using simple hanging planters.

    Hanging planter indoor gardens are not only a perfect solution for urban prepping or homesteading families, they also provide added non-seasonal gardening opportunities for rural self-reliant folks, as well. Growing more food and doing so in a low-maintenance manner should be the goal for any prepper or homesteader.

    Hanging baskets are suitable for a broad range of common vegetable and fruit crops. Using the available vertical space in your home can enable you to grow healthy and nutritious crops year round, add pretty color to your indoor environment, and give you access to fresh fruits and veggies at all times.

    Hanging planters also create a portable garden that you can take with you at a moment’s notice. Canning and abundance of food to add to your shelf-stable stockpile is entirely possible in January and February when taking advantage of this type of vertical planter gardening.

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    Vegetables And Fruits That Grow In Hanging Planters Indoors

    You can grow virtually any type of vegetable in a hanging planter that you can in a ground planter. Plants that do not have long taproots or get exceptionally top heavy would be poor fits for an indoor hanging planter garden

    Lettuce 

    Lettuce can grow very well even when only receiving partial shade. You can grow lettuce in several different varieties inside the same planter to create a stunning visual display that can equal the beauty of flowers inside your home.

    Do not plant head lettuce too close together so each plant receives proper ventilation and sunlight. Also, if head lettuce seeds or plants are planted too closely together, they will over compete for nutrients and may cause a lackluster yield. Leave six inches of space in between head lettuce plants. Grow any type of lettuce in hanging baskets that are at least six inches deep.

    Chives

    Grow chives in a location that receives a minimum of six hours of sunshine daily. The soil should be kept moist and be watered frequently – after being planted in well draining soil. Chives should be planted individually in a hanging planter because each plant requires 12 inches of growing space. Plant the chives in a deep planter because even though they are not a top heavy plant, they will reach 12 inches tall once mature.

    Cherry Tomatoes

    Place only one cherry plant in the hanging pot. The hanging pot should be 12 to 14 inches deep. Pay careful attention to the growth of root rot when growing tomatoes in a planter. Always feel the surface to determine moisture before watering. Grow cherry tomatoes in a full sun location.

    The Terenzo Hybrid Tomato bush variety tomato plant has been bred in a manner that will keep it more compact and lightweight, making it the best full size tomato option for hanging planter gardening.

    Tomatoes in Hanging Planter

    Mustard Greens

    Place only a single plant in the hanging basket. Mustard greens need ample sunlight and well draining soil in order to thrive. To help achieve and maintain the optimal pH level for mustard greens (6.5 to 6.8) combine quality potting soil with organic compost. 

    Improve native soil by mixing in several inches of aged compost or other rich organic matter. Mustard greens can produce edible leaves quickly with a steady supply of water.

    Cabbage

    You will need a hanging planter that is at least 10 inches deep to cultivate cabbage indoors. Place only one plant per hanging basket. Use a well draining soil as well as a hanging planter that offers adequate drainage during waterings. 

    Spinach 

    This vegetable can grow in partial shade. Do not use soil that can easily become waterlogged. Hanging planters that will contain spinach plants should be six to eight inches deep. If the planter is large enough in diameter to allow two mature plants three inches of air ventilation between them, grow just one plant in a single container.

    Swiss Chard 

    There are no deep taproots to be concerned with when growing Swiss chard. The hanging planter should be about 8 inches deep and 12 inches wide. This garden crop can grow steadily when placed in a partial shade environment.

    Strawberries

    Place just one or two strawberry plants in each hanging container so the mature viney plant will garner proper air ventilation of at least four inches. Always check the moisture level on the surface soil to avoid overwatering the strawberries. A hanging planter 10 to 12 inches wide and 8 to 10 inches deep should be adequate for successfully growing this type of fruit indoors.

    Alpine Strawberries are a popular choice for hanging planter growing. They flower over the basket and distribute their weight nicely around the diameter of the planter. This strawberry variety has shallow taproots and may require more frequent watering in a year round warm indoor growing environment.

    Peas

    Plant peas in a hanging basket that is between eight to 12 inches deep and as wide as you can find at the store. Pea plants should be spaced between three to five inches apart. 

    Peppers

    A hanging planter for cultivating pepper plants must be a minimum of 10 inches deep and 12 inches wide. Peppers can become top heavy plants, so growing smaller varieties of the garden vegetable is highly recommended. Some ideal peppers for a hanging planter indoor garden include: Prairie Fire, Explosive Ember, mini bell peppers, and Dundicut peppers.

    Spinach

    Place spinach plants in a hanging basket that is between six to eight inches deep. These vegetables will thrive in a well draining soil and a full sun environment but can also grow well in partial shade. Place only one plant in each planter to allow for proper air ventilation once it matures.

    Beans

    This type of crop can be grown indoors in a container. Although a deep window planter is the best option for a successful indoor bean crop, a large and sturdy hanging planter can work, as well. Any planter used should be between 8 to 9 inches deep. Stay away from pole bean varieties due to their need for support and top heavy nature.

    Cucumbers

    This vegetable is a water loving plant that grows best when placed in a plastic or ceramic hanging planter – when it is not cultivated directly into garden dirt. The hanging basket must be at least eight inches deep with only a single plant grown inside.

    Parsley

    Place a hanging planter containing parsley in full sun. The soil should be kept moist but not soggy at all times. The container should be 8 to 10 inches deep. If using a hanging planter that is at least eight inches wide, there will be room for two parsley plants per container.

    Shallots, Onions, and Garlic

    These delicious foods are perhaps the simplest to grow indoors. A hanging planter needs to be only five inches deep to accommodate either shallots or onions. A hanging planter containing garlic should be eight inches deep. If the container is only five inches wide you can still cultivate three onions or shallots per planter. Three garlic cloves can be planted in a hanging basket eight inches wide.

    Radishes

    You can plant three radish plants in a hanging planter that is eight inches deep and only six inches in diameter. Being a root plant, radishes can tolerate a partial shade environment. Always check the soil to ensure the radishes do not get overwatered, especially when not growing in full sun.

    Carrots

    Place the baby carrots in a hanging planter that is at least eight inches deep. To grow longer varieties of carrot, choose a hanging basket that is 10 to 12 inches long. Place the growing container in full sun for best results and water the carrots only once the soil becomes dry.

    Squash Plants in Hanging Planters

    Herbs

    A wide array of herbs can be grown indoors throughout the year. Mint, basil, lavender, oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme, and tarragon are among the best small container gardening herbs. Use a hanging planter that is eight inches deep. Because many varieties of herbs can handle or require partial shade, they are an excellent choice for making use of the less sunny indoor growing spots around your home.

    If planting different types of herbs in the same hanging planter, place the tallest in the middle to help prevent it from towering over smaller herbs from the outer areas of the container nearest the window.

    Plants You Shouldn’t Grow In Hanging Planters

    While many types of vegetables, fruits, and herbs will flourish in an indoor environment container garden, some are decidedly ill suited for such cultivation.

    Heavy Plants

    Corn and standard tomato plants are two prime examples of plants that are simply too top heavy and large to be grown in hanging baskets. You just cannot offer enough support for a tomato plant growing inside of a hanging basket to prevent the vines from breaking as the fruit matures. Broccoli is also a rather top heavy plant that is more difficult to successfully grow in a hanging planter.

    Root Vegetables

    Some types of root vegetables just require too deep of a space to be good candidates for hanging planter gardening. Potatoes need too much below the soil surface to be viable in a hanging basket. Consider the weight of the soil needed in the planter before attempting to grow any root vegetable indoors.

    Never attempt to grow a heavy root vegetable in a hanging planter that is made entirely of plastic, the little plastic hook at the top will ultimately straighten out and send the hanging planter full of potential food crashing to the floor.

    Tall Crops

    As noted above in the heavy plants section, some plants will just be too tall to be viable in hanging planters. Corn, Jerusalem artichokes, and pole beans are excellent examples of garden crops that will outgrow their hanging planter before the plant has gotten anywhere near the time to harvest. If the plant placed in the hanging container will reach the top of it near the hook before it matures, do not waste your time, space, and money attempting to cultivate it.

    Indoor Hanging Planter Gardening Tips

    Sunlight

    Plan your indoor hanging planter garden carefully, carving out enough space for all of the fruits and vegetables that require full sun. All sun is not created equal. The rays coming through a southern facing window will be stronger and last longer than the sunlight hitting a northern facing window – or one with a tree nearby outside that will cast shade on the opening.

    Purchasing clip on grow light may be necessary for some plants to thrive in your particular indoor environment. These lights are typically nominally priced at $10 to $20 each, but that gardening expense could get hefty if the natural sun you have to work with is going to be poor.

    Size Matters

    Follow the recommended hanging basket size and plants per container recommendations. If you overcrowd your plants or skimp on the containers your entire indoor garden could fail to yield enough results to make the endeavor worthwhile.

    Choose The Right Soil

    Give each plant the type of soil it needs and tend to it regularly. You will not have Mother Nature helping you to cultivate healthy soil, you must ensure that it is draining properly and not causing the dirt and ultimately the plant to mildew.

    If the hanging planter is placed near a wood stove, fireplace, or furnace vent it will dry out more quickly than anticipated and the plant may need watered more frequently than a gardening guide would advise.

    Bugs

    Even though your plants are growing indoors and will not be subjected to all of the creepy crawlies in your traditional ground garden spot outdoors, they will attract bugs into your home. Be watchful for signs of stem and leaf damage due to mites and bugs that could be too small for the naked eye to see – yet can still cause severe damage.

    Harvesting a hanging planter indoor garden should be an ongoing process to ensure the plant does not become too top heavy during the growing process. Do not wait until a plant has matured and is ready to go to seed before picking your cherry tomatoes, beans, and other crops. 

    Pluck the fruits and vegetables regularly once they become ripe and eat or preserve them as you go throughout the year.

    Herbs in Hanging Planters

    Hanging Basket Choices

    Plastic hanging baskets will be the cheapest you can find, but those should only be used for lightweight and the shortest crops. Investing a little bit more money and purchasing wire frame hanging baskets will help ensure you do not lose a developing plant due to its weight becoming too much for the planter to handle. 

    When the plants you are growing include a coco-liner as a viable growing option when compared with traditional soil, use it. The coco-liner will be a lot lighter in weight than quality potting soil or your own organically cultivated compost and will provide ample drainage for the plant placed in it.

    Wire frame hanging baskets tend to come in larger sizes than plastic planters, offering a deeper space to grow crops with thick or long taproots. 

    Cultivating a hanging planter indoor garden will help you easily bolster the amount of food that your family is capable of growing throughout the year. As with all gardening types, there will be a learning curve the first time you give it a go. Keeping a record of your new growing operation will help chart the successes and less than perfect outcomes to learn from when replanting in the hanging containers.

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