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container.garden.update.IV

As the season has gone on and already seems to be coming to an end, we have learned even more lessons. Namely:

Lesson 9:  An article I read told me to trim some of my tomato branches, starting with the little guy that sprouts in the ‘crotch’ of 2 branches. This is totally incorrect as the little crotch sprout (it’s funny to say, right?) is where the future blossoms and thus, tomatoes, will come from. One does need to trim excess greenage from the plants though as they take away growing power and water from the little growing fruits, so look for the giant leafy branches without a connection to fruit or flowers.

Lesson 10: If you see that a particular branch is heavily laden with fruit (in our case one of the Topsy Turveys with the most direct sun), keep an eye on how that fruit is dangling. One of our branches snapped with 8 or 9 large tomatoes hanging from it, as it was just too heavy to be supported. Had I been paying closer attention (or known?) I could have secured the branch and allowed the tomatoes to naturally ripen on the vine. Between that accident and a drunken intruder’s murder of a full plant off the side rail, we had quite a few little green guys evicted from their bushes too soon, but they are starting to ripen as they sit next to other ripe fruits.

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Lesson 11: It’s funny – the tomato cans we used as planters have weathered elements very well, while the coffee cans used have gotten rusty on the outside and pretty ugly. I’ll be ditching most of the coffee cans after this season and continuing to save the whole tomato cans that we use for tomato soup.

Lesson 12: While the summer squash have gone totally crazy in the larger containers, they did not do nearly as well in the cans as hoped. The lack of root space inhibited fruit growth to the point where we only got 2 or 3 squash total from the cans as opposed 2-3 per week in the larger bins. Next year, no squash in cans.

cedar squash

Regardless it’s been a lot of fun and we’re really excited to work out more of the kinks next year to have a totally kick ass garden. Hooray!

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container.garden.update.III

Are you sick of hearing about my little garden yet? Because I could talk about it for most of the live long day. I’ve been posting pictures of my urban garden to a local Farm & Food group (with real bona-fide farmers and gardeners and people who actually know what they are doing) and I’ve even impressed some of them with my efforts. At the beginning of the season we asked around to see if the $5 Topsy Turvy Dohickies were worth anything and got mixed reviews. Some people couldn’t get them to produce at all, while the package boasts an up to 30 pound yield per bag. We were hoping for somewhere in the middle and it seems we are doing well! Each of our 3 hangers has gone crazy and is lush and finally starting to produce (both steps further than many in the area). The heritage we chose are smaller higher production plants so we should be looking for quite a few little guys which will have time to mature before the weather turns on us yet again.

tomato

I have obviously learned a few more things to add to our ‘gardening lessons’ list and am already excited about the small yet significant changes to next year’s garden.

Lesson 7:  Tomato plants require a lot of water. Like, a lot. It totally makes sense when you take into account how many leafy greens they are constantly pushing, but skipping a day of watering won’t work. The plants will wilt and fall quickly if left without water, but thankfully bounce back just as quickly when you finally get back on your game.

Lesson 8: When planted too close together with a heat wave, your beautiful radishes will bolt and form not a radish, but a long root which does you no good. We harvested a single lonely radish in our last container and had to toss the rest. Here’s hoping this latest planting (ready in 28 days) does better and we have some super sweet radishes to much on.

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Compare this photo to the one taken here and you can see how much these plants have grown!

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