- Brandywine tomatoes in a 25-gallon container
- Cherokee purple tomatoes in a 25-gallon container
- Victoria Supreme paste tomates in a 15-gallon container
- Heinz tomatoes in a 15-gallon container
- Broccoli in an Earthbox
- Romaine lettuce in an Earthbox
- Jamaican hot chocolate peppers in a 10-gallon container
- Big Bomb cherry peppers in a 7-gallon container
- Yellow pear tomatoes in a 5-gallon coconut grow bag
- Cucumbers in a 5-gallon coconut grow bag
- Strawberries in stackable containers
Friday, August 27, 2010
The Plan, Part II
I just took delivery of four—count 'em, four—5-gallon coconut coir grow bags. I used these last year to grow Better Boy tomatoes with decent results. Basically, these are black plastic 5-gallon bags with expandable growing media already packaged in them. You simply add water, the coconut coir growing media expands, and you plant. Well, it's almost that simple. Coconut doesn't exactly have the same properties as composted peat, which is the main ingredient in most bagged potting soils, so you have to make a few adjustments to it along the way. But as with so many things, I'll get into that more later.
For now, I wanted to round out the growing plan for this year. The big news is that I'm expanding the tomato garden this year to cover a whole bunch of stuff, including strawberries, cucumber, hot peppers, romaine lettuce, broccoli, and a full herb garden. I'm dropping the cabbage and eggplants, which I grew last year. It turns out there's no way to convince the family to eat cabbage and eggplant, so it's kind of wasted effort to grow it.
So here is the final plan, including a brief mention of how I'll be growing each crop. In the coming days and weeks, as I start to raise seedlings, I'll go over each of these in greater depth, because of course there are details like potting media, soil amendments, and fertilizers that must be attended to. As always, my goal is to find the best way to get the most food from the smallest space, which explains the hodgepodge of growing methods. Here goes:
I'm especially excited about the strawberries. Stackable containers are just what they sound like: multi-ported containers that stack one upon another to yield a tower of growing space. You're growing vertically, not horizontally, so I'll be able to grow something like 60 strawberry plants in one 2-foot square tower. The towers can be rotated so the strawberries receive equal sunlight. I've never grown this way before, so I'm hoping it works. Incidentally, so is my five-year-old son—last year, not one strawberry from my test plants made it into the house because he'd sneak outside and eat them all. If you're interested in stackables, mine are being shipped from here.
So there it is. In my way of thinking, you don't need a ton of space to grow enough vegetables to feed your family for the season. You just need to grow smart, so each plant yields as much as possible. And if there's extra, you can always give it away.
My last thought: it's still too early to plant seeds, so resist. And definitely resist buying tomato plants from the garden center. It's waaaaay too early for that.
Up Next: Getting Dirty—The First of Many Posts About Potting Media and Why It Matters So Much