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Homegrown Veggies In The Big City

Homegrown fruits and vegetables aren't just for farmers anymore.

The Early Show gardening expert Charlie Dimmock offered some alternatives for those who have limited space to work with.

If you don't have room for a vegetable garden, or don't want the work, you can still plant fruits, vegetables and herbs in large planters and pots.

One way to grow several herbs at one time is to create a "themed" container. For instance, Dimmock made Thai container that contained lemongrass, chili peppers, mint, sweet basil and coriander, all common ingredients in Thai cooking.

According to Dimmock, hanging baskets are a good way to grow fruits like strawberries. The lacy plants are attractive and if buy hanging baskets with water reservoirs, they're also low maintenence.

Window boxes are also a popular way to grow herbs, said Dimmock. And if you can't have the boxes, hanging baskets are another option. You'll have more success planting leafy herbs such as basil, mint and parsley in baskets, while larger Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary do better in the ground.

Dimmock recommends including some edible flowers in your plantings as well. Flowers from any herb are safe to eat, such as chive or arugula flowers, and plants like pansies also have edible blooms. You'll find that only flowers from herb plants tend to have much flavor — the others simply add color and interest to your salads or desserts.

For those with more land to work with, Dimmock presented some interesting ways to add fruits and vegetables to your flower garden. Traditionally, vegetables and fruits grow in a greenhouse or in a vegetable plot, but you can use them to dress up the borders of your flower garden.

For example, Dimmock suggests putting in a row of lettuce at the front of a border, because the plants look pretty and suppress a lot of weeds. Bonus points: the lettuce will be ready to pick in about two to three weeks.

Once they come up to the stage of cutting, you will need to sow some more so that you can maintain a succession of lettuce. The best thing to do is plant them in cell pots rather in the ground — that way, when you won't damage them when you transplant them into the ground. Dimmock suggests putting in about two or three seeds per pot and leave the pot on the kitchen windowsill or greenhouse. They'll be up within three to four days.

Dimmock was even able to use tomato plants in an ornamental way. Plant a tall one in the center of the garden that will need to be staked, and smaller ones around the front of the garden.