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Kitchen Gardening

Plant an Edible Ornamental Hanging Basket

Why choose between an ornamental garden or an edible one? Here’s a simple planting idea for a different take on a hanging basket.

  • At the beginning of the season I planted an edible ornamental hanging basket with dill, cherry tomatoes and flowers.
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey
  • In just two short months, the basket is beautifully delicious.
    Photo/Illustration: Jodi Torpey

At the beginning of this gardening season I was looking for a way to repurpose an old hanging basket. I thought about replanting it with another batch of flowering annuals, and I also considered turning it into a miniature herb garden.

Then it occurred to me that I could do both just to see what would happen.

I covered the drainage hole with a paper coffee filter to keep soil in, but allow water to drain out. Then I filled the container with a good quality potting mix, added a slow-release fertilizer and set about planting.

On one side of the basket I planted a fernleaf dill plant and on the other a ‘Sun Sugar’ cherry tomato plant. I also added a yellow calibrachoa and another flowering annual called SuperCal ‘Vanilla Blush’ because of its unusual color.

The SuperCal is a cross between a petunia and a calibrachoa. I figured with that kind of pedigree I’d be assured of nearly non-stop blooming all season. 

I’ve been trimming bits of dill to use in flavoring tuna salad and other summer dishes, and the pruning has helped keep the dill manageable. But now the tomato plant has grown well outside the basket’s bounds, and it’s loaded with bright orange cherry tomatoes.

Around the Fourth of July, I started adding a water soluble fertilizer to the watering can for the hanging basket. The extra fertilizer helped with both flowering and fruiting. Because the roots have probably completely filled the basket, I’ve needed to water every morning. On especially hot days, I water in the evening, too.

It’s been fun to see the results of my edible ornamental experiment. I can imagine next year I might try a different combination that features another edible, like beans, with a different combination of flowers.

If you wanted to plant a basket like this, what combinations would you like to try?

 

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