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Well, I got to thinking about it the other day and I decided the price of tomatos are just too high here where I live. I paid 2 US dollars for 1 tomato for a hamburgers I was making that night! 2 BUCKS!

So I decided to turn my small porch in my apartment into a container garden. I went down to my local home and garden shop and purchased the stuff for hanging tomato plants. Then I just went nuts and bought containers for herbs, cucumbers, peppers. I have a smallish porch, so I suspect it will be a jungle by July. Now I have only grown something once in my life, basil, and didn't know when to pick it so it died before I could. I certainly didn't know how to make the plant keep bearing pickable leaves. Apparently, I really screwed it up because a friend of mine told me her plants give her basil all summer.

I am just learning how to do this, and wondered if there was anyone else here on EGullet that grows a garden? I searched around for threads, but did not find any recent threads on gardens. I was thinking it would be fun to compare notes. My camera sucks, but I will try to take pictures when it is up and running.

Heres to hopefully good tomatoes soon!

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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oh, yes. we have so many trees on our property and on surrounding neighbors that i can't have a garden. the three places we do get a decent amount of sun are the back patio, the kitchen porch and now, after removing two trees last year, the whiskey barrel planter in the corner of the front yard.

last year i had a rosemary plant that has become a bush - and i brought in to overwinter -, basil that gave all season and flat leaf parsley in the front. tomatoes in containers coplanted with marigolds on the porch. if you go the container route make sure your containers for the tomatoes are deep enough. you need a good 8-12" for the roots. this year john has expressed interest in the contraptions that let you grow tomatoes upside down so he may get two of those for a wedding anniversary present - along with the plants.

we are redesigning the back patio this year and i am going to buy some of the moveable raised beds so i can move my herbs around for the best sun.

good luck and take pictures.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I salute you! :smile:

I hope you find that perfect tomato-- and save the seeds! I've been meaning to plant some herbs once I've settled down-- should save me a ton of money and it's nice to have it handy when something needs punching up :)

Mark

The Gastronomer's Bookshelf - Collaborative book reviews about food and food culture. Submit a review today! :)

No Special Effects - my reader-friendly blog about food and life.

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I live in NJ, and we produce some of the best tomatoes in the world in season. As for saving the seeds, that won't work for hybrid tomatoes. Hybrids result when several breeds are crossed together, and the seeds will likely revert back to one of the parent tomato plant types.

Basil will grow all summer if it is not allowed to bolt (bloom and go to seed -- once they go to seed their life cycle is over, and the basil just gets bitter). I plant basil among my tomato plants. That keeps them from getting too much sun (which makes them bolt). When the basil plant sends up what looks like flower stalks, you need to pick them off right away.

I do a combination of container and raised bed plantings. Make sure the soil is friendly to the plant you are seeding there, and if you fertilize be careful what sort of fertilizer you use. Add a 5-6-5 or something similar when your plants are setting fruit.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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I have lived in places where I could on my porch balcony with no sun ..and could grow a garden with the aid of a cheap grow light that was ok in damp conditions (I asked at a hardware store and was directed) ..I sat out there with my plants and pretended there was real sun many times!!! ...I have been astounded over the years how much you can grow in such odd spots ..I applaud you for trying!!!

my advice is to remember to use a good potting soil that is specifically for growing food not flowers...have lots of drainage in your pots (gravel or broken pots work fine) and feed on a schedule ...you will have lots of beautiful tomotoes!

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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You might also see if your community has garden plots you can rent---that's what I do. My porch is nice, but I like being able to grow LOTS of stuff (especially tomatoes and peppers). I'm not sure it pays for itself in the end, and maintaining it can be a lot of work, but home-grown tomatoes taste infinitely better than store-bought because you can wait to pick them until they are actually ripe (what a concept!!!!).

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I started growing my tomatoes in a container a couple of years ago because they get the best direct sun in the front of the house, rather than the backyard. The first year I didn't fertilize them nearly enough and only got a few tomatoes (but lovely plants, for whatever that's worth...). When they're cooped up in a container the roots don't have the freedom to go in search of the nutrients, so you have to supplement that. Now I usually give them some composted manure and bone meal when I plant them, mixed in with the soil, and after that it is regular doses of water soluble 'tomato food' to sustain them and it's been a successful strategy.

aka Michael

Chi mangia bene, vive bene!

"...And bring us the finest food you've got, stuffed with the second finest."

"Excellent, sir. Lobster stuffed with tacos."

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topsy turvy tomato

This is the URL to the tomato container I purchased. It states on the box that you even grow eggplant this way. I am not going to but if the tomatoes work out well this year I just might.

Chris Hennes - I never heard of doing that, but it is something to look into. I live in Oklahoma and there are a lot of farms around here that are "you pay -you pick" I plan on canning peaches this summer after I go picking.

TongoRad - I got the containers deep enough, but I bought the self-watering kind where all you have to do is pour the water in the bottem of the container and it draws the water up to the root. Was this a bad idea? What is bone meal? I get pictures in my mind of some scary holloween stuff! :raz:

I have one container set aside for herbs. I have to try again. Only this time catch the basil. I remember the last time I did this, they grew pretty flowers and I thought "huh, look at the flowers, I should pick that" and the next day they were dead. :unsure: I may just buckle and do strawberries as well. I have visions of strawberry jam in my head.

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Chris Hennes - I never heard of doing that, but it is something to look into. I live in Oklahoma and there are a lot of farms around here that are "you pay -you pick" I plan on canning peaches this summer after I go picking. 

Anywhere near Oklahoma City? I started a topic on restaurants there a while ago and no one replied!

I may just buckle and do strawberries as well. I have visions of strawberry jam in my head.

Strawberries don't generally produce well the first year they are in. The second year, you will have more than you know what to do with! I am still eating strawberry jam from two seasons ago.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris Hennes - I never heard of doing that, but it is something to look into. I live in Oklahoma and there are a lot of farms around here that are "you pay -you pick" I plan on canning peaches this summer after I go picking. 

Anywhere near Oklahoma City? I started a topic on restaurants there a while ago and no one replied!

I may just buckle and do strawberries as well. I have visions of strawberry jam in my head.

Strawberries don't generally produce well the first year they are in. The second year, you will have more than you know what to do with! I am still eating strawberry jam from two seasons ago.

Actually I live close to Oklahoma City. I didn't see the thread or I would have replied. I am sorry about that.

I will remember that about the strawberries.

edited for stupid spelling mistakes

Edited by CKatCook (log)

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Actually I live close to Oklahoma City. I didn't see the thread or I would have replied. I am sorry about that.

It's over here if you want to take a look. Thanks! Good luck with your garden, I love to grow food. It invariably tastes better, if only because you convince yourself it must, after all that work! :smile:

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Actually I live close to Oklahoma City. I didn't see the thread or I would have replied. I am sorry about that.

It's over here if you want to take a look. Thanks! Good luck with your garden, I love to grow food. It invariably tastes better, if only because you convince yourself it must, after all that work! :smile:

posted you something there...

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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topsy turvy tomato

I have one container set aside for herbs. I have to try again. Only this time catch the basil. I remember the last time I did this, they grew pretty flowers and I thought "huh, look at the flowers, I should pick that" and the next day they were dead. 

When you break the flower heads off of the basil- do NOT toss them. I like to barely poach them in olive oil, strain. The resulting oil is a lovely dip for bread.

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I have a farm and I grow as big of a garden as I can each year (have a full time job, too, so it's tough at times lol) I live not far from you in Kansas. I think Kansas tomatoes are the absolute best--better than candy lol. I'd love to share tips and tricks!

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I do live here in extreme weather circumstances but I grow my own vegetables in the garden...though bugger if I know why my green peas never reached my kitchen. Carrots, tomatoes, corn, sunflowers for the seeds, gherkins...as long as I have more space left at the back where the sun shines, I put some sort of vegetables. Then I have my sort of herb garden in pots at the patio during warm weather and just inside my kitchenette during the cold seasons. I also have key limes and lemons in largist pot with a wheelie underneath so I can easily wheel them out to the deck after the frost had passed. There's nothing like fresh herbs within easy reach...

austramerica

Life is short: Break the rules...Forgive quickly...Kiss slowly...Love truly...Laugh uncontrollably...And never regret anything that made you smile. Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we're here we should dance...
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I don't think this was addressed yet, and it looks like some people didn't know how to deal with their basil, but basil is one of those great plants that throws out two new stems for each stem that was cut. Cutting it quite regularly will actually promote growth, and in season, it grows fast. You can be fairly aggressive with it. It's also simple to grow from seed, so it's not really worth buying seedlings. I'd recommend growing chillies, too, either from seed or seedlings, as it's not difficult at all to grow, and it's a beautiful plant.

On the Japan forum, Hiroyuki, and Helenjp, Torakris and others have given some extremely useful information on growing vegetables. Hiroyuki's square foot gardening blog has great pictures too.

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Good luck! What kind of climate are you in? Thanks for the topsy-turvy tomatoes link - I'd been wanting to know what they look like.

I have hot summers, so my best successes were tropical plants that are similar to weeds - built-in pest-resistance!

I have Suzilightning's problem - too many trees, and a tall roof next door shades my tiny "real" garden, so it's all containers for me.

I'm with TongoRad on deep containers - just surprising how much that matters. Or maybe not surprising, when you think how big a tomato vine or bean vine gets - 3 ' is a minimum. Even for greens, 2-3 feet depth is so much better than 18" - 2 ' depth - I thought that with attentive watering, I could re-use some shallow planters I used to have hanging off a railing for salad greens - but they were not very successful.

Same with basil - and I always have to give it twice as much water as anything else. Though it will revive even when it looks wilted past all hope!

I'm so space-hungry that this year I'm determined to get thyme seeds growing in the cracks between my house foundations and the road! :biggrin: In the past, they&ve dried up, so this year some stuff like pond-sludge is going to be molded along the edge! (I've been reading Gardening on Pavement, Tables, and Hard Surfaces - strictly for the water-twice-a-day crowd, I suspect...).

I don't have room to start seedlings in trays indoors, so I've started putting them in ziploc bags between layers of wet kitchen paper (presoak really big seeds). Then plant (gently) the sprouted seed. Works wonderfully, really like this method.

Last year I got a stack of pea seeds half-price beacuse it was "too late" to plant them. I planted them very thickly, and harvested several cuttings of pea-shoots for use as greens.

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It gets real hot here in the summer, and it is not uncommon for there to be stretches of time where it is 100 plus for days on end. Mostly in July and Auguest. My biggest concern is the tornadoes! We had some roll by last night that made a "beeline" straight for my apartment! Luckily it didn't drop down and stayed a funnel, but it is still scary stuff and often you don't have time to get everything indoors, not that that would matter, the whole place would be gone! :)

I will check out the Japan forum and the Blogs that were mentioned.

I have never sprouted seeds first. Last time I planted I just threw them in the pot and watered. I love the idea with the basil flowers! I am determined to grow as much as I can and quit buying from the grocery store as much as possible. I just feel better doing this. It makes sense to me. I hope to take pictures of the space I intend to use and pots I bought if it ever quits raining, and does not decide to snow today!

edit to add: Does anyone know if herb plants are poisenous to cats? I would love to grow them inside, but I am worried my cats would try to eat the plants! :unsure:

Edited by CKatCook (log)

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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You can find lots of info and inspiration in the eGullet discussion "Gardening, The Topic (merged w/ similar topics)"

You can also find regional gardening discussions in most of the eGullet region forums. For example, in the California forum you'll find "California Gardening: What's up?, Planting and growing for the table....". If you can't find such a discussion in the eGullet regional forum for your area, you're welcome to start one.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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So, speaking of garlic~

I had some sprouted cloves that I just shoved into some dirt last Monday, and this is how they are today. Now what? Apparently this isn't the time to start garlic (don't tell the garlic!) so what can I expect? :unsure:

gallery_29637_5774_154923.jpg

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It gets real hot here in the summer, and it is not uncommon for there to be stretches of time where it is 100 plus for days on end. Mostly in July and Auguest. My biggest concern is the tornadoes! We had some roll by last night that made a "beeline" straight for my apartment! Luckily it didn't drop down and stayed a funnel, but it is still scary stuff and often you don't have time to get everything indoors, not that that would matter, the whole place would be gone! :)

I will check out the Japan forum and the Blogs that were mentioned.

The gardening thread linked by Toliver is also very good, and might be more specific to your needs, geographically speaking.

With those very hot temperatures, you'll need to keep basil well watered, especially if they're in pots and getting a lot of direct sun. You'll see a huge difference between clay and plastic pots - clay looks nicer but will dry out much faster, and obviously, smaller pots will too. Also, if they're placed directly onto concrete, tile or stone, hot summer temperatures will really hit them hard.

For your first year, it's a good to do some successive plantings a few weeks apart in case one batch dies off for whatever reason. You should be able to use basil well into autumn, and then it will die off really fast before or at the beginning of winter.

I don't think any of the common herbs will harm your cats. More likely the other way round. And catnip will be a good thing to grow for them.

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Am I right in thinking that unlike some of the other gardening threads (which do have lots of relevant info), you are growing only in containers? Or do you have some open ground?

Herbs - haven't ever experienced cats falling foul of herbs. After all, herbs by definition don't have poisonous leaves. Double-potting can be good too, especially for herbs with delicate leaves, but not all plants like to be double-potted. I stuff the gap between the two pots with sphagnum moss.

For hot places, I think that tropicals such as yard-long beans/snake beans, malabar spinach, or okra are good value. Climbers take up less space, tropicals won't go all celeb on you in hot weather, and they are pretty pest-resistant too.

If you have a library, why not pop in before the spring gardening rush starts, and see if you can borrow something on container gardening? I bought "Bountiful Container" a while back, but while it was interesting and inspirational, I didn't find much new gardening information - because I have a shelf of garden books already. But for a new gardener, it gives you a heap of sensible information covering a wide variety of topics, and lots of ideas as well. it's not the only such book on the market, though.

One thing that I don't always agree with is the soil mixes - seems to me that the light, free-draining soils recommended are usually too light for hot climates/hotspot patios etc. I add some heavier soil, a good dose of organic material, and mulch - often a stone mulch of pebbles.

I'd love to hear what soil mixes other people with hot summers like for their containers!

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There's also "Vegetable Gardening for Dummies". :laugh:

And Googling "container gardening" gets you "goodles" (I think I may try to trademark that word :wink: ) of hits like this one:

"Guide to Container Gardening "

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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So, speaking of garlic~

I had some sprouted cloves that I just shoved into some dirt last Monday, and this is how they are today. Now what? Apparently this isn't the time to start garlic (don't tell the garlic!) so what can I expect?  :unsure:

gallery_29637_5774_154923.jpg

You can start garlic in autumn or spring so you're doing just fine. It's pretty easy to grow. Full sun, don't over water (the bulbs will rot) and apply a balanced fertilizer once a month or more if it's quite diluted. Stop the fertilizer about one to two months before you harvest as this allows the plant to concentrate on producing the largest bulb it can. Then, come summer or late summer when about half of the leaves turn brown and wither it'll be time to harvest your garlic. I just brush them clean, tie the leaves together and hang them in my kitchen to cure for a couple weeks.. but usually less because I get too excited. :smile:

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

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