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A spring without a garden? Talk to me about container gardening...

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  • A spring without a garden? Talk to me about container gardening...

    We're not really at a point in our property renovation to be putting in a permanent garden - moving fences, adding and subtracting trees and bushes and removing trash and odd, buried junk - yet. However, I can't really imagine a spring without a garden. Has anyone had good experiences with container gardening? What about straw bale gardens? Topsy-turvy gardening?

    In past gardens (in a different location, with different soil) I primarily focused on tomatoes, peppers, and beans, because that was what grew best and didn't require a lot of upkeep besides water 'n weed. At one point I was harvesting over 5lb of cherry tomatoes a week from just two massive, overgrown plants. I also had corn. Love corn, and it grows well here.

    Ideas? I don't need to do a full garden, and I don't really have time for that right now anyway, but I would like to have at least a few plants.

  • #2
    I had a small patch of sunlight at our last place and used half wine barrels and a small plot in the ground to garden. I managed to grow quite a bit...you can do a lot in containers. Go for it! I grew pole beans, beets, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, peas, etc. in half barrels and planter boxes. Haven't tried straw bale gardening but it looks cool.

    Comment


    • #3
      You can grow just about anything in containers.
      Heck - when I lived in the Big City I grew lettuce and tomatoes (full-sized) in window boxes on my deck.
      Most seed companies now have container-sized veggies - Burpee just came out with a sweet corn designed for containers!
      Watering is your biggest problem since containers tend to dry out a lot quicker than plants in the ground.
      Look into simple raised beds or square foot gardening.
      I know straw bales have fans , but that method failed for me.
      *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
      Steppin' Out 1988-2004
      Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
      Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

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      • #4
        Everything you mentioned witht the exception of corn grows great in containers. If it were me, I would probably do 2 or 3 tomato plants, 3-5 pepper plants, beans however many I felt could fit in my container, and then I'd probably do a few "bag garden" sections of sweet corn. That way everything is non-permanent until you get your more permanent layout set. In case you don't know it, a bag garden is just that. You buy bags of garden soil/compost/potting soil. Lay them flat on the ground with a few holes punched in the underside for drainage. Cut a square out on top and plop in your seeds. Corn when grown like that (or even in a square foot garden bed), can be planted much more intensively than done traditionally. I plant my corn every 4-6 inches in every direction. They grow up in a big "mass", but since I harvest by hand out of square foot garden beds I've never had a problem.

        I too would avoid straw bale growing. I don't know anyone personally who tried it and had any luck actually growing anything but squash (which we all know grows EVERYWHERE! LOL)

        Sheila

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        • #5
          There are plenty of various veggies that have been adapted specifically to container gardening, or that do well anyway Tomatoes, peppers, cukes, various squash types, all the herbs do well, etc.

          You just need big enough containers to accommodate good deep roots, a well-draining soil mix (or soil-less mix), and be ok with watering sometimes twice a day in the midst of Summer. For things that vine - cukes, squash, maters, etc - you need to plan appropriately to either grow them up, which means stabilizing so the whole thing doesn't topple, or to travel more horizontally. The latter will then provide nice shade under which you can grow things that require cooler weather - the greens. They'll still probably do poorly in July and August, but by shielding them from the worst of the sun, you can really prolong their Spring season and get an earlier start on the Fall season.
          ______________________________
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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          • #6
            Fiance and I rent so don't have a garden, but we do have a large south-facing deck, so container gardening is it for us! It's impressive how much you can grow in containers. Last year we did tomatoes (4 kinds), potatoes (3 kinds), peas, zucchini (2 kinds), strawberries (2 kinds), and a whole ton of herbs. We had so many tomato plants we dubbed part of our deck "tomato forest!"

            This year we are going to nix the zucchini and do radishes and carrots instead. Also some beans. We're also going to try a vertical pallet garden with lettuce.

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            • #7
              You can get garlic going too! I double-dutied my garlic plots by putting radishes on top of them. I had several radish sections and would plant a new batch weekly, since in 2-3 weeks they are ready to eat, some varieties, and I always had a new batch going. They grow so quickly, and grow right on the surface, that they don't disturb the garlic. Then when you get a bit of garlic growth starting, you can stop with the radishes
              ______________________________
              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by JB View Post
                You can get garlic going too! I double-dutied my garlic plots by putting radishes on top of them. I had several radish sections and would plant a new batch weekly, since in 2-3 weeks they are ready to eat, some varieties, and I always had a new batch going. They grow so quickly, and grow right on the surface, that they don't disturb the garlic. Then when you get a bit of garlic growth starting, you can stop with the radishes
                If I recall correctly, garlic is not a great grower in my zone. I planted it in previous years with mediocre results.

                Definitely will look into some containers. Container corn? My mind is blown!

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                • #9
                  Can't grow garlic? *sob* I'd be so upset! LOL Adding that to the long, long list of why I could never live in the PNW!

                  Ok, I just had to go look up some things because, well, that's what I do
                  http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/1068
                  ______________________________
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

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                  • #10
                    Since I began having health issues a few years ago, I do almost all my gardening in containers on our deck. And I grow pretty much anything & everything I want - tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, okra, beans, carrots, beets, greens, flowers, herbs, - heck, this year I'm even going to do a few tubs of corn!! (Burpee has been advertising a new "mini" corn that only grows 4'-5' high & is suitable for container culture, so couldn't resist buying a packet to experiment with.)

                    All you need are containers of suitable size/depth for what you want to grow, along with the realization that you'll have to do more watering & feeding than you would with in-ground plants.
                    Last edited by Bacardi1; Feb. 4, 2013, 05:06 PM.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by JB View Post
                      Can't grow garlic? *sob* I'd be so upset! LOL Adding that to the long, long list of why I could never live in the PNW!

                      Ok, I just had to go look up some things because, well, that's what I do
                      http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/node/1068
                      Hmm...wonder what I was thinking of, then.

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                      • #12
                        Well, I certainly don't doubt you had trouble! LOL It could have been the batch you had, something off with the soil, planted at the wrong time and it stayed too wet too long, and certainly there are varieties that do better in certain areas of the country over others.

                        Try again!
                        ______________________________
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Save some money too and bring home some compost from deep in the manure pile for your veggies. I mix it 50/50 and I get tomatoes in containers that are 8 feet tall.

                          I usually grow tomatoes, green peppers, and cucumbers. All three can grow up and should grow up.

                          I live in Indiana and during the summer I water once a day, when it gets into the upper 90s I water twice a day.
                          http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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                          • #14
                            As far as what containers to use, if you have any old water troughs or bathtubs lying around, those make great "pots" for small "raised bed" gardens. You can grow potatoes in bags or rolled up snow fencing. Territorial Seed is your best bet for plants that will reliably grow in the Willamette Valley (and garlic grows very well here, as you learned). I only garden in raised beds now, and you could knock together a few, and fill with just composted manure, in a weekend. Then, when you are done, you can take them apart, or move them, too.
                            Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

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                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Calvincrowe View Post
                              As far as what containers to use, if you have any old water troughs or bathtubs lying around, those make great "pots" for small "raised bed" gardens.
                              How did you know? Our yard is getting more redneck by the minute. First, we started with the old clothes dryer when it took a dive - then, the toilet. And we recently replaced our old claw foot tub with a nice, (MUCH BIGGER) new tub.

                              Yes, you read that right. My yard's got a dryer, a toilet and a tub.

                              I've got plenty of extra...stuff... to plant things in. Any reviews on those topsy turvy tomato things? I've got an overhang that would be an absolutely PERFECT spot to hang a few of those...

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I haven't used "Topsy-Turvey" myself, but from what I've heard/read, they're a waste of money.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  This will be my first summer with sunny land for a garden, but for the last 12 years I have been container gardening veggies. I agree with everyone, including that topsy turvy or the gourmet version the gardening mags have are a waste of money.

                                  Self-watering containers are great if you want to go to the lake for 4 days in the hottest part of the summer. Also, I use judicious amounts of those water crystals--they made a big difference in my window boxes--can't tell as much in the super deep planters.
                                  DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Last summer we had over 90 days of over 100F and no one, in the ground or in containers, did get hardly anything to grow, no matter how much it was watered or protected from the searing hot winds.

                                    We use plastic tubs the cattle supplement comes in, the size of half whiskey barrels, with holes drilled on the bottom.
                                    Generally you can grow two tomato plants to the tub, etc.

                                    Hope this year will be better, but it looks like the drought will continue.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I've used the "up side down" containers for tomatoes and green peppers (Usually two plants per container of tomatoes) I then add some fertilizer to them. I also leave the lids off. Last year I tried two plants on the bottom and one on top. Mine get big & heavy - and would probably be bigger if they were not at the perfect height for the "deer buffet" that I grow

                                      My favorite containers are the TALL supplement ones - I start a potato in each and as the plant grows, I just add dirt. Lots of small, yummy potatoes that I gig up in the fall/winter when the plant dies.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My biggest problem with the upside down ones was they needed to be watered more than I was willing to show up. I'm a water every-few-days kind of gal. I tend to forget. I do better with very large containers.
                                        DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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