Our garden is starting to take off for the season and this weekend required some thinning in the raised beds. I salvaged some lettuce starts by transporting them to new containers. In this case, I used two old plastic hanging baskets I received as a gift a few years back. At that time, they were overflowing with annual flowers. When the season ended, they took their place in a forgotten corner of the yard.

I began by loosening up the old, compacted soil and working in new potting soil and composted material. I gently dug up a small amount of soil surrounding the lettuces that needed thinning, so their root structure would not be harmed. They include arugula and a red mesclum salad mix. I alternated between the two in the basket and planted butter lettuce seed in the middle. When it grows in, I should have two leafy and colorful baskets that are practical as well as pretty.

I intend to give one of the baskets to my mom on Mother’s Day. She has a self-proclaimed brown thumb, but I haven’t given up hope. An easy, pretty basket hanging on her back porch may invite her outside to clip greens for evening dinners. It may also remind her that she needs to water it when she comes out to snip or admires the basket from her back windows. I use the word “may” very liberally here.

Although containers require more water than in-ground plants, I find it a lot easier to care for something when I receive a benefit from the something – in this case, a little watering gives me a medley of greens to enjoy all season. My hope is that little by little I can help my mom learn that a little care and water can pay offif you start small and grow what you use regularly.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson