Rule Changes for Containers

Rule Changes for Containers

 fourth-and-garden-081.JPGI am excited to show you the beginnings of my mom’s rooftop container garden this year, because I want you to see how easy it can be to grow in small places, and even how some package directions should be ignored.

I’m not kidding.

I know, I know. Normally I am more of a stickler than that. But my mom, who can grow things well by just looking at them, is proof of the fact that the SEED PACKET AIN’T ALWAYS RIGHT.

Take for instance, her groupings of corn. They are fourth-and-garden-069.JPGnumerous because she ignored the part on the seed packet that said “plant six inches apart”. When I asked if we should be thinning them, she said “no”. And lest you think that this will ruin her crop, I assure you that her crop supplies three plus families each year. Another example of ignoring space recommendations shows in her tomatoes, where she plants onions around each plant.

Sometimes, rules change a little in container gardening. And that is OK.

Another rule that she changed for containers is how much to water the plants. Although I have heard experts say that containers need more water-we actually water ours with less water because it is a flat roof (prone to leaks) and we have to empty the trays underneath each plant that collect the water. We may, however, be watering a little more often than our ground counterparts so perhaps it equals out.

Ongoing, I will share some specific tips that work for us in our rooftop container gardens. Please share tips if you have any in the comments section.

  • Dianne
    Posted at 07:17h, 17 July Reply

    I’ve always wondered about fertilizer/nutrient requirements when growing tomatos, corn, small squash in containers (in part because my own never seem to bear as plentifully as your Mom’s.) Hints welcome…. 🙂

  • Flora
    Posted at 14:41h, 17 July Reply

    Hi Dianne
    My mom doesn’t grow organically, like I like TRY to do, so her efforts are helped by good ole Miracle Grow. She uses half Miracle Grow soil along with home soil that she mixes with homegrown fertilizer throughout the year. Then for the tomatoes, she uses the fertilizer spikes once green tomatos are on the vine. For the other crops, she uses the liquid MG 1-2 times a season. But I think her winning number is the fact that she loves to spend hours a day in her garden. The plants adore her. BTW, mine are never as plentiful either and every year I lose some. So maybe she should be writing this blog. LOL. Best, Flora

  • Shibaguyz
    Posted at 00:37h, 18 July Reply

    We have been using a combination of containers and in-ground planting with wonderful results for the past two year. This year, we really kicked it in to high gear this year by using the principles of biointensive gardening. In addition, we have done it all organically with great yields. Check out our blog link and drop us a line if you have questions.

  • Greenscaper Bob
    Posted at 19:05h, 20 July Reply

    Hi Flora, I’m curious why your mom isn’t using sub-irrigated (aka “self-watering”) planters. There is no drainage to mess with, they save water and produce better quality plants and vegetables.

  • Flora
    Posted at 17:11h, 23 July Reply

    Shibaguyz- Can you share more about biointensive gardening or recommend a good resource for it?

    Greenscaper Bob- I suspect cost was a bit prohibitive but I will ask her more and get back to you.

    Thanks for reading, all!

  • Shibaguyz
    Posted at 08:22h, 16 August Reply

    Flora – Sorry we’re nearly a MONTH late in responding… better late than never??

    There are two resources that we used. First and foremost the book that documents all the research and disseminates it all in very easy to understand language and illustrations (and more than a few cool charts!) is “How to Grow More Vegetables” by John Jeavons. This is the bible of Biointensive gardening and we credit these methods and concepts for the HUGE successes in our little space. It took a bit of creativity to apply it to the container planting but the in-ground stuff was a no brainer.

    Second, we reference information and inspiration from the Ecology Action website that is the home of the Biointensive movement. Check it out and see all of the amazing applications for this method of gardening/farming and the impact it is having all over the world.

    Hope this gives a jumping off place for you on your search. Again, all of these links and references can be found on our blog.

    talk to you soon…
    The Shibaguyz

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