Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Container Gardening

 We live in the suburbs and have a decent sized backyard.  When we first bought our house I was really excited about having a small garden in a long flower bed - we pulled out all of the roses and amended the soil with both soil and manure. Then we planted, watered, and waited.  Watered, and waited and then it happened ... our plants shrunk (I am not kidding, I didn't think it was possible but it is) and then slowly died.  While we have a few trees in our backyard (a Dr. Suess apple tree and a few freshly planted trees in the side yard) our backyard gets lots of shade. Our house it not shaded but most of our yard is.  I thought the planter got enough sun, but obviously it didn't.  

Here we are 2 years later (or is it 3? Time passes so quickly when you're old) and we FINALLY planted a few plants where the sun does shine!  Our patio.  We bought 2 containers on clearance at Home Depot for $20 each (I still thought it was expensive, but it will pay off).  Michael's coworker gave us some tomato plants, so we used the two planters we bought and a planter we had.  The three plants had grown together and we just ripped them apart and they all lived! 

 Here they are just after we planted them.  

When you plant tomatoes bury 2/3 of the plant - break of the leaves and roots will grow where the leaves were.  This makes the plant stronger. 

 Here they are about 2 weeks later. 

 The other plant which is on the other side of the patio.

And here they are today - almost 4 weeks after being planted.

After we went fishing again last weekend, I put the worm poop (castings) that was left after we used the worms to fish with on the back tomato plant and it shot right up (could be the hot weather too, but I think the worm poop helped).  I will be saving it from now on! 

A few tips for container gardens:
- buy a good container - if it has a hole in the bottom the water will not stay in the planter and you will have to water it more often.  The containers we bought have a water storing 'system' in the bottom - and it works!
- start with good soil - make sure to buy potting soil NOT garden soil.  Potting soil is designed to go in pots (hence the name) and will hold onto water better and won't compact like garden soil will.  We payed a little more for a bag of Miracle Gro potting soil and is has been worth it!
- place your containers in a good spot (most fruit and vegetables need 8 hours or more of sunlight).
- water the plants regularly

The plant in the red planter hasn't grown nearly as much as the other 2 plants.  I haven't pulled it out yet since I want to see how it does, but we didn't put new soil in the planter - we just added some to the top, and I probably didn't have good soil to start with.  There is also a hole in the bottom so the soil dries out faster.  I should give it some fertilizer and see if that helps.  

Do you have a garden this year?  Have any container garden tips for us?


LindaG said...

Congratulations on getting the tomatoes to grow!

And thanks for all the information and tips, Sarah. :o)

Viktoria said...

Our experiment has mostly failed. We have exactly two tomatoes and three peppers. :( They are not getting enough sunshine, I think.

Logan J. Skew said...

thanks, I like gardening and this is much of a help.

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