Monday, May 4, 2009

Some strange scientific experiment?

No just a silly gardener pushing the season on her tomatoes!

Not wanting to miss out on the excellent heirloom tomato varieties that are available right now (but gone a month from now when it is warm enough for your tomatoes to really thrive) , I went ahead and bought these silly looking little water filled tee-pees to protect my tomatoes and peppers. I am hoping these, combined with the warm soil from the sun shining on the galvanized metal containers and the black pottery, will really get them off to a good start. It all looks a little clean and clinical right now but hopefully it will be a happy green jungle soon!

Last year our neighbors to the south of us cut down a big beautiful Photinia hedge, or more of a wall really, along the side of our drive way. This opened up the south side of our house to sun…lots of afternoon sun flooding our dive right next to the house and kitchen door. We hated to see the Photinia go, but making lemonade out of lemons decided this was an excellent place to plant veggies! They will all have to be container veggies though as this area is completed paved over.

On my list: tomatoes, peppers, corn (special request from the husband, from Nebraska), peas, radishes, baby carrots and lots of arugula and mixed greens. Herbs include mint for Mojito’s (above...doesn't it just look like summer!) and, once it gets a little warmer, tons of basil. I am a little nervous about this. I’ve grown all these before in the ground in a past garden (minus the corn) but not in containers. I’ve made a good soil mix and since I will walk past them at least twice a day everyday they’ll be sure to get lots of water. We have a neighbor down the street who is doing this all in a parking strip planter box. So far things look quite successful for her. I am afraid that I’m getting a late start for the greens and peas, probably the carrots too, but better late than never, right? Anyone have any helpful hints for me?


  1. Good experiment. I like to do experiments on my plants... just to make gardening more fun. I like the big and deep galvanised planters. They are practical yet look so cool. Happy gardening!

  2. Love the watering troughs! When our tomato whiskey barrels bite the dust I want some.

    Only one growing hint from me: regular watering. Okay, two hints: add a small amount of lime to the tomato soil to help prevent blossom end rot.

    This will be our third summer growing tomatoes in pots. The first summer, we planted right into the barrel halves and they dried out too fast. Last summer we went to big plastic pots inside the barrels. That worked MUCH better. We're holding off a few more weeks to plant, so I hope all the cool varieties aren't sold out!

  3. I was going to try something similar this year, but I only managed to get herbs, none of the vegetables. I'll just live vicariously and watch how yours turn out this year. Maybe next year I'll jump in.

  4. Thanks Stephanie, experimenting is fun…especially when you can do it on the cheap and it’s successful! My husband is concerned that we have so many of those galvanized planters that our place looks like a farm. But they really are great and very affordable!

    Jane – thanks for the lime and water recommendation. I did add lime for the first time this year, I hope it works! Last year I grew tomatoes in big terracotta pots which were very hard to keep moist and I also had blossom end rot issues. You are smart to hold off on the planting. Last year I didn’t plant mine until June…and I swear they caught up with others that were planted much earlier. Do you grow anything else in pots? Mother nature certainly is helping with the watering! A little sun in Portland would be nice.

    Megan, it’s good to ramp up slowly, last year I just had 2 tomato plants in pots with basil all around them. I was moderately successful. This year is the big jump – if I fail miserably, ah well. My father is, and my grandfather was, an amazing veggie grower. It’s a lot of pressure to live up to!

  5. Seems like you are taking a very smart approach to this. I don't know about the corn, I've never heard of growing it in containers... but maybe you'll start a trend! I'd love to see pics of the parking strip planter box veggies, since that's kind of my obsession. I am doing a few things in containers this year too, it can't be that hard can it if you start with good soil and remember to water??!!

  6. Oh Karen I should have totally sent you a copy of an article in the Oregonian a few weeks ago. There is a guy here in Portland that was turned in by his neighbors for building parking strip boxes that were too tall and too close to the curb to meet "code" (?) he was ordered to redo them. I'll see if I can find it online.

    I'll take a couple pictures of the neighbors boxes. They are pretty great. Except the signs she puts out on weekends "no parking - working urban garden" - hello! It's a public street and there is a park at the end of the block. People park next to the parking strip!!!


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