Container gardening is popular for older adults
HUGHESVILLE – The Hughesville Garden Club opened their first meeting of the 2017 season with a new president, Joanne Smedley of Picture Rocks. Long term president, Georgine Johnson said she was stepping down. Other officers are Joan Smith, vice-president; Carol Farina, secretary; and Patrice Lundy, treasurer.
The group discussed planting some flowers around the Hughesville Welcome signs when they are finished with restoration.
In March many of the members attended the Philadelphia flower show, and on April 10, guest speaker, Louise Fulmer, a Master Gardener, spoke on the many advantages of container gardening. Avid gardeners can run into challenges through the aging process, as Fulmer explained to the club. She herself had suffered from a broken ankle and rotator cuff causing limited activity for a past time she truly enjoys. “So, I turned to container gardening,” Fulmer said and found she had success to cultivate a lush garden close to her home in Pennsdale.
“The pots should have good drainage and fertilizer,” she explained. Mixed vegetables like lettuce and radishes are good to plant now. “I use recycled plastic containers.” Look for good seeds in the seed catalogs, she advised.
A secret ingredient she uses to keep the containers from drying out is coir, a fiber that comes from the husks of coconut. “It fluffs the soil,” Fulmer added. Keeping the containers moist is important. Moisture locking granules or crystals also can be obtained at most garden centers and are good to add to the pot.
“Plant what you like to eat,” said Fulmer when using containers. They come in many sizes and shapes. One of the members from the garden club said she poked holes in a children’s plastic swimming pool, and filled it with soil one summer for her annuals. Sometimes it is easier to start with good seedlings, depending on the amount of light and soil which can be purchased now at any reputable nursery.
Vining plants such as clematis can be grown in a hanging pot. Choose a sunny location, depending on the type of plant. Pepper and tomato plants will need mostly sun according to Fulmer, whereas peas, lettuce and spinach like shade and cooler temperatures.
Perennial herbs can be very successful grown in containers, which keep some of them from taking over the entire garden such as mint and lemon verbena. Adding culinary herbs together like thyme, oregano and parsley make a functional year round garden and add wonderful scents. “Just cut them back in spring,” Fulmer said. “Chives and parsley do well over the summer in pots, and so does rosemary. The scented geraniums just love my house.”
The meeting was concluded with refreshments made from the fresh herbs grown in Fulmer’s garden. She prepared mini quiches, roasted nuts with rosemary, and quinoa with basil and tarragon.
Georgine Johnson and Debra Dirk were the hostesses for the evening. A planning committe is organizing a 69th anniversary luncheon set for May 18 at noon at the LCTC in Hughesville. New members are always encouraged to join.