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Container Gardening with Edibles


kitchensqueen
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Unless I'm blind and missed it, I didn't see a topic for container gardening. As an apartment dweller, I rely on containers to grow my food. At the end of this summer season, I've got one pepper plant hanging on, a rosemary and a bay tree. What's everyone else growing? Any plans to keep herbs and veggies going through the winter months?

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I am fortunate that I live in So. California so the fall months are the beginning of a wonderful growing season for us. I have a regular in the ground garden, but I also use containers. I have a very large pot that I use for growing lettuce. I just sprinkle the seed from some of last years seed pods and cover with a think layer of compost...keep it moist and let it go. Having the pot on wheels allows me to move it to areas most conducive to its growth...for us that means indirect sunlight. I also have a dwarf bay tree in one pot and thyme in another.

Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.

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Living the in the Pacific Northwest, in an apartment, with a southeast-facing balcony... it's pretty easy for me to maintain a small winter "garden". We are blessed to have a protected space with good airflow, and cluster the pots together to maintain good temperatures in the root mass.

We currently have several pots of herbs: chives, bay laurel, thyme x 3, rosemary x 2, mint(s), oregano(s); these will all stay out for the winter. A potted meyer lemon is due to be moved indoors soon. The pot of shiso (both red and green) has self-seeded, so I expect will be happily producing again in the spring. The lettuces did not do well this season, as they bolted twice before I could harvest properly. DH has "recycled" the soil, so there may be surprise lettuces next year, all over! Tomatoes were very prolific, and I was set to move one of the pots indoors to ripen. Alas, DH decided to "clean up": picked all the green fruit and disposed of the vines while I was at work yesterday. There go my plans for vine-ripened toms in November!

Last year I used some heavy plastic bags, and wire coat-hangers, to make "row" covers for the planter boxes. This extended the season somewhat, to nearly Christmas, at which time the covers were removed, dried, and stowed away. IIRC, the chard was happy through our mild winter, and was harvest-ready through to February.

I also made use of those plastic boxes from purchased salad greens, as mini-greenhouses for starting new plants in February/March. The same boxes might also work as covers on small pots to "pre-warm" the soil before planting.

Karen Dar Woon

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Just getting my container garden going. We are on water restrictions, and although they have eased, I want something easy to maintain. My new house has a garden area (thigh high in weeds right now) but containers are so practical and nice to look at.

Right now I have a terracotta pot with a small bay tree, oregano, mint, French tarragon, and parsley. I'll probably move the mint and maybe the oregano before they take over the world. I also have coriander and Thai basil waiting to find a permanent home.

I'd really like to get a dwarf lime going, too.

ETA: just getting into spring here so I don't need to worry about what will keep going through winter just yet. Shouldn't be any problem though because we only get mild winter frost and that's the wet season. I started planting last winter without too much concern, although the tarragon died back and is just poking up again.

Edited by haresfur (log)

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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I have some spots that get good light but the soil is clay on top of concrete so I use abandoned plastic kiddie pools with holes poked into them for drainage. They are not very deep so that does affect growth and I tend to do more frequent light feedings with a fish or seaweed based fertilizer. For my heirloom tomato this year I used a 20 ga. pot from smartpots and was pleased. It will be used for a cooler weather vegetable as soon as the 80 degree weather stops...

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We currently have several pots of herbs: chives, bay laurel, thyme x 3, rosemary x 2, mint(s), oregano(s); these will all stay out for the winter.

I'm surprised you can keep them outdoors in Vancouver over the winter - are you going to cover them in some way so you keep harvesting them?

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And it seems like bay trees are pretty popular; I love mine. Mine is still a baby at about a foot and half tall. How big are everybody else's? Nothing beats fresh bay in cooking.

I just watch some Lidia Bastianich cooking shows where she was cooking recipes from Sardegna and Molise and she used fresh bay leaves in all of the dishes...some with fish.

Cooking is like love, it should be entered into with abandon, or not at all.

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We currently have several pots of herbs: chives, bay laurel, thyme x 3, rosemary x 2, mint(s), oregano(s); these will all stay out for the winter.

I'm surprised you can keep them outdoors in Vancouver over the winter - are you going to cover them in some way so you keep harvesting them?

Because we have a southeast exposure, we have good light for a major part of the day. Also, our building is concrete and glass construction, so a good heat moderator. Will likely move all the "bearing" containers closer to the apartment wall, for best heat, and better protection from the weather. I have an overhang on part of the balcony.

Karen Dar Woon

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  • 2 weeks later...

This year was my first year I really got going with edible gardening. I live in townhouse that is 3/4 surrounded by wooded areas, so I did all of my gardening in containers on my 14' high deck (I have absolutely no interest in going to war with the multitude of wildlife around my house).

I grew, successfully, many different tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and beans. I grew basil, oregano, thyme, mint, chives, parsley, sage. I also grew, in the spring, some lettuce and radicchio.

I don't know that I'll be able to keep anything going outdoors as I live in Virginia and our winters get pretty nasty. I will try to move most (if not all) of the herbs inside - I've got a couple grow lights in my kitchen. But as for veggies, I just don't think I could do it.

I do have one huge pot that is kind of an experiment - it's got asparagus growing in it. Most places I've researched will say asparagus and containers are a no-go, but I figured what the hell. The plant itself actually flourished quite a bit this season, so the question will be how it comes back next year and what I do with it in the meantime. I can't decide whether I want to move it inside but try to keep it alive/growing, or let it go dormant.

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