By Mary Meyer, Extension horticulturist
Almost anyone can grow a few vegetables or herbs in the summer, even if you do not have space or time for a traditional garden. You do need sun, however and a container that can be placed where you can easily water and harvest the plants. The easiest plants to grow are greens, such as lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, pak choy or bok choy and herbs such as basil, chives, thyme and rosemary. Use a container that drains well, holds enough soil so you do not have to water more than once a day in the summer, and will be big enough for the plants you choose.
Here are some ideas: an 8 inch pot holds about 1 gallon and can grow 2-3 lettuce, spinach or Swiss chard plants or 1 herb; a 10 inch pot holds closer to 2 gallons and can grow 2 pepper plants or 1 small tomato plant, such as Tiny Tim, Pixie, Hybrid Patio, all smaller tomato plants that are good for containers. Cherry tomatoes such as Sweet 100 or Sweet Million are large plants and need large containers, 3 gallon or more.
Use a lightweight potting soil and water regularly, fertilize with a slow release in the potting soil or add liquid fertilizer weekly when you water. Look for vegetables already potted for you at the garden centers this spring. Vegetables are popular and easy to grow, especially if you have full sun.