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Planting in small spaces takes extra time, effort

So what if the space you’re minding is too small to plant a bevy of crops and flowers?

Any garden center specialist can tell you how to make the most of your little patch of land, whether it’s at a cemetery or your own home.

If all you have is a small space at home, you can still plant what’s most popular this year: edibles.

“You can do a lot with vegetables that you make stand up,” Sue Lauer of the Midway Garden Center in Pittston said.

Peas can grow on trellises or tomatoes can grow upward if they’re caged in properly.

“Corn is probably not a good idea,” she said, because it requires too much room to grow. “The same with pumpkins and squashy types.”

“I do a lot of my vegetable gardening in pots,” Lauer said, explaining that in one pot she grows cucumbers and in another tomatoes.

Small vegetables such as beans, lettuce, peppers, carrots, radishes, beets, basil, parsley, thyme and broccoli tend to grow nicely in containers, too, with the recommended six hours of sunlight.

Because Lauer has only a porch, pots are her best option for at-home, outdoor gardening.

This weekend, she said, locals will be dropping in on their way to cemeteries for Memorial Day for pots – and logs – full of flowers.

“Most people want ones that are already potted,” she said.

For a small area, perhaps around a tombstone, Lauer picks golden carpets, long-lasting yellow flowers with tiny leaves.

She reminds small-space gardeners to still allow enough space in between certain plants and to read the plant tags or ask a professional if uncertain.

To line the perimeter of any garden or to plant something to liven up that special, but small, space, go with a short-crested dwarf iris flower, Lauer said, because of its short stature.

Begonias are one of the most popular fuss-free flowers and should be planted either in a hanging basket, a planter or a flower bed after frost is gone for the season, she said. Begonias are best at weathering the different conditions a typical backyard flower bed endures.

An added benefit of the small space is that weeding is not an everyday necessity.

Horticulturist Barbara Mannick of Dundee Gardens in Hanover Township remembers a time in her life when she had small gardens and was forced to “just plant a little less of what I like.”

The gardening guru thinks planting annuals is the best way to go because they won’t last until next season and something new can be grown in the small space each season.

Mannick also cautioned not to crowd vegetables and flowers in tiny gardens or pots.

“It’s better to give them a little more space,” she said.

Plus, normal gardening rules apply: Make sure the space is high in composite soil so the plants are high in nutrients, Mannick said.

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