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Hanging salads.

Grow a big, leafy salad bar in a minimum of space with a moss-lined hanging wire basket like the ones shown here. Made for less than $20 each, these attractive salad baskets are simple to construct, quick to grow, and easy to harvest. All you need is a sunny place to hang one. Everything you need is available in nurseries this month

The baskets shown here were made with 13-inch-diameter wire baskets-big enough for about 20 lettuce transplants. Nurseries also carry other sizes.

Leafy varieties of lettuce are best. Crisphead varieties, such as 'Great Lakes', don't work well. In the Sunset test gardens, we found that mixing red-leafed varieties like 'Red Sails' with crinkly leafed types like 'Salad Bowl' or 'Green Ice' make particularly handsome baskets. For additional color, interplant with pansies, violas, or red chard. (That's red chard at the top of our lettuce combination on the cover.)

February is the ideal time to plant lettuce baskets in most of the West. In the Pacific Northwest, it's safer to wait for warmer weather near the end of the month, but you can sow seeds now to transplant later. Still, since the baskets receive sun on all sides and are quick to warm, they let you plant earlier than you could in open ground. If you live in a high-elevation area, wait until March to plant. For a full basket, space plants evenly; water and fertilize often

Constructing the baskets is simple, as shown in the photographs above. Before you begin, saturate the moss in water.

Gently squeezing the rootball into a firmer shape before planting will prevent excessive damage to it. Space transplants 5 to 6 inches apart. Offset each level so plants aren't lined up in vertical rows. Don't worry if you have to adjust the spacing to complete each ring; it's better to put the plants closer together than farther apart.

The key to success in growing anything in a hanging basket is to water and fertilize frequently. In warm or windy weather, you might have to water more than once a day However, if it rains for long periods, you might want to move the basket under cover so transplants don't rot. Feed once a week with a complete liquid fertilizer.

Hang the basket ftom a sturdy support in full sun or part shade. Rotate baskets occasionally so each side gets some sun. Harvest should begin three to four weeks after planting.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:hanging baskets
Date:Feb 1, 1989
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