Thursday, February 21, 2013

Container Garden Planting Spring 2013

I'm excited to begin another season of container gardening.  Although Arizona weather allows for year-around-gardening, my observation has been that plants such as tomatoes and peppers do better when planted in late January or early February.

The beginning of my 2013 container garden.

This year I have a few new ideas I would like to try out.  Instead of buying new soil, I decided to recycle what I used last year.  I added composted kitchen waste to restore depleted nutrients to the soil.  I have found this to be a very effective fertilizer and from the looks of my tomato plants, I am right. In an upcoming post I will explain how to make a very inexpensive and easy-to-make kitchen composter.

My simple yet effective kitchen composter.

Speaking of tomato plants, my kitchen compost produced a few volunteers in our transplanted poinsettia.  I was able to successfully transplant one of these and it is growing very well. it's too early to tell what variety it is so it will be a surprise.
Transplanted Volunteer Tomato.

Volunteer tomato in our poinsetta.


I planted the tomatoes in self-watering containers I made myself with buckets purchased at a local Lowe's Home Improvement Store. The containers are made by drilling a large hole and several smaller drain holes in one bucket and then placing it in another bucket which serves as a reservoir for the water. The top bucket is then able to draw water up from the reservoir bucket and effectively supply water for the plant, I was also able to wire-tie a tomato cage to the top of the buckets to support the plant when they are mature.  I learned how to do this in a copy of Mother Earth News.  These containers work quite well and are a very inexpensive alternative to store-bought self-watering containers. I will do another blog or possibly a YouTube video to teach you how to make your own self-watering containers.

A very healthy tomato plant.

Since my Ren and I both love okra, I decided to try to plant some this year.  I have yet to see any okra plants at the local nurseries or garden centers so I will attempt to start some from seed.  Please wish me luck; it would be so nice to have some fresh okra to add to Ren's delicious Sinagang Gabi she makes. 

My first attempt at okra.

I haven't gotten around to it yet, but I will be making a container garden planter out of cedar or redwood and then incorporate the self-watering concept using plastic storage bins.  This will allow me to plant root crops such as carrots, beets, and radishes in a container garden.  I have tried this with beets but they don't seem to do well in a small container.  I think this is because the small container is too restrictive.  The storage bin idea may be more conducive to root crops or it may not, but I figure nothing ventured-nothing gained,

I like to add color to any gardening project.  It attracts pollenators and
makes a garden more lively.

I'm looking forward to this season and to incorporating all of the new ideas into the garden and will keep posting as the season progresses.  Until the next time, ~Happy Gardening~