Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Self-Watering Container Gardening

After talking to several people about gardening my favorite neighbor Violet, my friend from church Nancy, and my father who can grow just about anything. I have finally came up with my plans for my garden this year. I think I might be trying to grow to many things but we will see how it goes. I think the hardest part about gardening is coming up with a plan and sticking to it. I already started to grow some plants from seeds! They are doing really well. Check out this picture:

I'm growing tomatoes, eggplant, more tomatoes! Also, Vinca, Zinnia, Sunflowers, and Cosmos~!

Last year, my garden on the side of my house didn't do so well! The plants never got enough sun. My tomato plants were terrible looking. Skinny and short. I did manage to pick a couple of tomatoes and that was all. My summer squashed did fine but everything else was a failure. So, I decided to try a different approach! I'm going to be making my own self-watering Containers.

Anyone familiar with N.W. Arkansas especially knows that we have no soil, lots of rocks, and lots of clay! Not a good combination if you ask me! My side garden doesn't get enough sun! My dad told me about a new product called "Earth Boxes" but they are expensive. I'm going to try to save some money and build my own boxes or containers. I found this really informational YouTube video on how to build your own! Check it out!

My dad built his very own Greenhouse! I'm really hoping maybe I could get Leroy to build one for me! Here are the instructions from my dad:

Here is a few shots of my greenhouse which is 8x6. The sides are 4 feet with plastic hoops over the top. I have made it so I can use a screw gun to disassemble when I am done. I take the flats out when the sun is out, and bring them in a night. You have to have two ventilation windows you can open, and a thermometer, since it can get too hot when the sun shines. I have a vent in the door and in the end. I used spray cement to glue the plastic on the ends to the part that goes over the top. It works real well. Some times it gets over 100 degrees, so you have to open the door or windows to control the temps.

This is my gardening plan:

I'm going to try to grow all of my plants in my backyard which is fenced in! This will keep the deer away and pesty animals from eating my plants! I'm hoping to start building my containers soon! I'm going to plant: Peas, cucumbers, watermelons, and beets! Also, next month I'm planning on planting carrots, onions, broccoli, corn, and eventually summer squash! When my peas are done producing. I will plant bush beans!

Has anyone tried to grow potatoes in old tires????

I really want to be able to canned my own salsa and tomato sauce! I really wanted to do this last year but I didn't produced enough tomatoes.

My dear readers, what are you planning on growing in your gardens this year?


PA said...

Hi... great tip on the self-watering container! If you have empty buckets around, looks simple enough. I did see the "Earth box" being sold, and do agree its very expensive for what you get. I mean, how hard is it to get a watering can and give your plants a drink!!

Yes, your tomatoes NEED lots of sun, at leasts 6-8 hours minimum of direct sun every day. if not.. the plants will be straggly and barely produce. If you are looking for a recommendation for a staking/support product, try
I think this is the best, and certainly easiest product out there.. and certainly affordable.
The cages are no good, always falling over.. and bamboo sticks are too weak to hold up any plant.
Happy Gardening!!

banananutmeg said...

Our biggest problem is that we always over-plant our garden. We had great success with the tomatoes, and the yellow crookneck did well, but I only got about 6-8 zucchini all season long...which is a waste to me considering how much space they take up in the garden bed. A few things I want to try this year are: plant LESS tomatoes...we always plant 4 plants, and they get overgrown and many go to waste or are eaten by bugs because we can't get to them. I canned tomatoes one year, but honestly still haven't used them all. How long do they last in the jars? I'm planting only 2 this year. That will be enough for a batch or two of salsa if they produce as well as they have in years past.
I'm also going to plant bell peppers in pots this year. I never plant them but I find myself purchasing one a week on my grocery run. We always dump some of our fireplace ashes on the garden bed in the winter and mix it into the soil, but after 3 years of this, I think we have too much ash on there this year. I'm going to turn the soil and mix in a few bags of manure and peat moss. We also used a different approach this year where you cover the bed with straw for a month or two, to let everything underneath decompose. I haven't been out to look at the soil in a few weeks, but last time I checked it was still very ashy. I might have to just remove the top two layers and go from there.

Another problem we've had is BUGS! the japanese beetles always go crazy in our yard when it starts to rain a lot. Have you tried the traps before? do they work? I've never used pesticide before, but If the bugs get bad this year we are going to try some.

I want to plant an apple tree in our yard, but the ground is SOLID rock! We planted a dwarf peach tree a year ago and I don't think it has grown AT ALL...but now it leans slanted. Aaron wants to tear it out. I think we might as well leave it, it's not like it's hurting anything,and who knows? maybe in a year or two we'll have peaches. Have you had any luck with fruit trees here? I grew up in california and we had oranges, lemons, limes, and pomegranates..and a grapevine and everything else with ZERO effort. It is SO hard to grow things here!
Keep us posted on what you find works well...maybe you can come help me!

lara said...

You can't grow apple trees in NW Arkansas due to a disease or a bug that is in the area. It will eat the apple trees right up! Just ask my friend "V"! She planted several peach trees in her front yard about two years ago! Last year, all of peach trees produced a couple of peaches each. She's from Californa as well! Wanted lots of fruit trees. I'm not sure how she planted them in the ground. I will ask her! We usually talk several times a day!

lara said...

Also, meg! You can get Horse Maunre from the Morrioson's in Centerton. It's already composted and ready to use. You might want to mix it into your garden soil!