Frankie Fanelli teaches the Horticulture Technology Production curriculum at the Cato Campus for Central Piedmont Community College. She graduated from NC State University with a master’s degree in Horticultural Science and grows edibles on her townhouse patio and in a Reedy Creek community garden plot. Here, she offers advice on “doorstep gardening.” Who needs flowers when you can grow lettuce and baby green mixes that feature amazing shades of reds, burgundy and just about every color of green imaginable? Consider the ruffled edges, a variety of unique leaf shapes and interesting textures along with good taste and ease to grow. These mixes are the “cut and come again” type, where once cut, new leaves grow for future harvests – making for a long season of interest. Check out mail order seed companies, local nurseries and specialty hardware stores for the best selections. Create landscape pizzazz by planting these lettuces and salad greens at your doorstep among your landscape plants. Townhouse and condo dwellers can enjoy these edibles as the mixes thrive in containers. A greens growing box can easily be made from one of the plastic containers sold for under the bed storage. The larger ones are better. Drill holes in the bottom and add a screen for drainage then fill with potting soil to just below the rim. Moisten the soil thoroughly, sprinkle on the seeds and barely cover with soil. The ideal soil temperature for optimum germination is 68 to 70 degrees so covering with the lid may promote germination. Be sure to remove the lid when you first see the plantlets push through the soil. Consider staggering your planting over a few weeks or plant a second box a few weeks later. It will take three to four weeks for your first harvest but subsequent harvesting is much faster since the plants are established. Fertilize with a water-soluble organic fertilizer every two weeks. When the summer heat takes over re-plant your doorstep gardens with annual herbs mixed with a few showy, annual flowers. Ask your local nursery for the small, drought tolerant annuals developed for containers and small gardens. Basil, thyme, cilantro and chives are good choices and will be near at hand to complement your summer grilling.