Potted plants add color, texture, beauty and versatility to your indoor and outdoor spaces. Here's everything you need to know about container gardening.

How to Grow a Basket of Crops

Hang a basket brimming with leafy herbs and succulent tomatoes close to your kitchen door for easy access to fresh ingredients. With a sprinkling of annual flowers, this pretty mix is a match for any bedding design.

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Hang in ThereEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

When to Start: Mid- to late spring
At Its Best: Summer
Time to Complete: 2 hours

Materials Needed:

  • large hanging basket with liner
  • soil-based potting mix, combined 50:50 with multipurpose potting mix
  • slow-release granular fertilizer
  • plastic bags
  • gravel mulch
  • liquid tomato fertilizer
  • tomato plants
  • violas and nasturtiums
  • herbs; those used here are: basil 'Magic Mountain', chives, flat-leaved parsley and thyme

Prepare the Basket

Buy the largest basket you can find, ideally with an integrated liner. Because tomatoes are greedy feeders and need lots of water, they may not be as successful in a small basket that holds a limited amount of soil, water and food. Line the base of the basket with a sheet of plastic to create a reservoir at the bottom. Stand the plants in a tray of water for 30 minutes until the top of the soil is moist. Remove, and leave them to drain.

How to Prepare a Basket for Planting TomatoesEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Plant the Sides

Half-fill the basket with potting mix. Cut two or three crosses in the liner above the soil. Tip a thyme plant from its pot and wrap the leaves in a plastic bag. Carefully push the bag from the inside out through a slit, so the root ball is resting on the soil. Repeat with the other thymes.

Basket Planting DemonstrationEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Mix in Fertilizer

Fill in around the thyme root balls with soil mixed with slow-release fertilizer. Top up the basket with more soil to 4 inches from the rim.

Slow-Release FertilizerEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - How to Grow Practically Everything © 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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Excerpted from How to Grow Practically Everything

© 2010 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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