The ideal dream on this cold winter night is a dream of that perfect garden in your own backyard, rows and rows of luscious vegetables waiting to be harvested and enjoyed – all without making a trip to the grocery store.

It is a beautiful dream, but then reality sets in. You just don’t have the time; you don’t have the know-how and your backyard is concrete. The dream slips away.

You need for this dream to become a reality. Food prices continue to rise due to a number of problems such as the severe drought being suffered in our country and the increase in demand for food from developing nations. Such increased demand is a good thing in most cases as it indicates the population of these developing nations is becoming more able to afford more food.

Your personal economic situation demands that you give your own food budget some help and one choice is that you raise some of the food yourself. If your backyard is concrete or the dirt is like a rock, consider container gardening.

Think way outside the box on this project. Containers can be anything that will hold dirt and allow for drainage and large enough to accommodate the size of the grown plants and their root system.

Almost any vessel will be usable. Think old pots and pans, flower pots, wash tub, or anything else. A child’s swimming pool can be used as well as old luggage that is ready for the trash pile. A drive around your own neighborhood on trash day may add other containers.

In the case of luggage, open it out flat so that both sides are flat against the ground. You may have to separate these two pieces.

Container gardening is adaptable for flowers, vegetables, and herbs

One of the prettiest edible flower is the nasturtium. The brightly colored nasturtium petals add a slightly spicy taste to salads. There are a number of other edible flowers, some pansies and squash blossoms, but exercise care if you are considering edible flowers.

Before eating any of the edible flowers, wash carefully and do not eat if there is a chance that these flowers have been subjected to pesticides. Eat the petals. Remove pistils and stamens. Be aware that there may be parts of an “edible” flower that are harmful; be sure you know what you are doing.

It is wise to avoid flowers from nurseries and flower shops as it is probable that they have been sprayed with some sort of pesticide.

Many items that are headed for the trash can be changed into a useful container and become your garden. A child’s wagon is deep enough to accommodate lettuce, radishes or onions as is a discarded desk drawer. Just be sure there is adequate drainage.

A wheelbarrow, new or old, looks nice planted as a garden and can be placed so as to add interest to the garden. If your wheelbarrow is new, just bore a couple of holes in it for drainage. Chances are that you will never need it for carrying material that could leak out through these holes, but if so, the holes can be plugged for the activity.

A strawberry jar is an ideal container and you can plant things other than strawberries in the openings.

Matching pots of nasturtiums for the front with four squash plants in containers, and a wheelbarrow planted with lettuce and onions in the backyard or down the driveway will be very easy to take care of and the returns will be a dream. Dream on.

If you feel up to it, don’t stop here.

Bita Bullet is the pen name of a local anonymous writer who can be reached at