Thursday, June 18, 2009

Container garden Week 5 update

So it's been about five weeks since everything was planted (give or take a few days here and there). And today I realized there is are a couple lessons I have learned along the way. First off, when planting a vegetable with small seeds, such as carrots, do not take the 'easy' root and sprinkle them all in a small space. This is not the easy route, as later you must go back and thin. And let me tell you, this is a pain! I have been thinning and thinning and there's always more. I bet you I have thinned 2/3 of what was there, and they're still probably too close. Next time I will take the extra five minutes when planting and make more of an effort to plant fewer seeds better.

The other lesson I have learned is that soil is expensive. While it was a good investment for the containers in general (and hopefully with proper care I can get another year out of it), I have been topping up my potatoes a lot, and it just seems like a constant expense. More and more dirt. So with my potatoes I went from using a container mix/peat mix, to a 3in1 landscapers soil (compost, vermiculite and peat), and now I'm just using compost as it's cheap. So we'll see how it goes. I figure if they grow happily in containers of straw (which I might just try next year instead), I shouldn't be putting good money into expensive soils. They do get fertilized every week (along with everything else with a basic 20-20-20 feed), so hopefully it will be fine.

Again, I am very lucky that my families pantry is not dependent on this crop. If it doesn't work, Safeway always has potatoes. However, I would like to be able to depend on my own veggies down the road, and I would much rather be eating veggies I grew myself (no pesticides, no transportation pollution, tastes better and costs less). So this experiment will hopefully help to prepare me better in the future. One of the reasons I'm blogging so much about it, notes for next year!

Anyways, here is what the vegetables look like after five weeks. The weather this last week has been hot and lots of sun during the day, with several afternoon/evening showers. I think you can tell!

Starting with the tomatoes, looking good! There are flowers, new growth on all of them, they're sturdy and strong. Some aren't as tall as others, but again, maybe that's the variety, maybe they're slow, and maybe they just won't produce. We'll see!


The spinach is doing great. Some of the leaves are actually the right size to start eating. But they're aren't enough of them yet, so maybe in the next week or two harvesting will begin. The kids have been eating spinach salad lately, so fingers crossed they continue to like it!


The lettuce is still looking like lettuce. I think I'll thin them down a bit more, that might help them start to grow a little faster.


Zucchini is looking big and healthy. No more of those weird coloured leaves.


Here are those pesky carrots. I thinned them down quite a bit after taking this picture. Don't over seed carrots! But the leaves/stalks/stems whatever they're called are strong and fringey. And I know from pulling a few that the roots are also strong and growing!


Beets seem to be doing well. It's hard with the root veggies, I want to see what's happening under the dirt!


Peas - Batch 1

Doing great. I can easily see them from my kitchen window, it's starting to look like a garden out there!


Peas - Batch 2

These are also doing great. I almost can't tell them apart any more. I sowed an extra row in Batch 2, something I will do next time, Batch 1 could've used another row.


And again, here are my amazing potatoes! I cannot believe how well they are doing in their containers! Of course again I can only judge what's going on above the dirt, but I've had to keep topping up almost every couple days, they are seriously growing inches every day! And my potato bag is doing great. With the ability to keep unrolling the bag, who knows how high that one will get or what kind of harvest it will yield.


My peppers are looking strong and healthy. Growing well, even in their current spot where I'm not sure they're getting enough light.


My scarlett runner beans have completed exploded, you pretty much can't see the container underneath the leaves anymore. I can't wait until this gets bigger, I think it's going to be stunning!


Cosmos are doing great. I'm not sure I'll do flowers from seed again. I'm enjoying watching them grow, but I want some colour already!


And same with the sweetpeas. I'm very impatient with them.


And that's about it. Sunflowers and strawberries and everything else I haven't mentioned are all doing well, just nothing too different from last time.

And I will be back with something to talk about other then gardening soon. I'm trying to finish a few sewing projects in the moments of peace and quiet that aren't spent outside!


Tatiana said...

All those look awesome - I had a setback with my cukes - they're doing quite poorly and I have no idea why, so I've started more peppers, zucchini, and cukes. Just in case. I figure with the late start we can at least hope for a late fall. But I know what you mean - if our lives depended on this food, we may be in trouble :) So much to learn. Although for some things I think Calgary would be a good place for a greenhouse.

Madeline said...

Everything looks so good! I like your idea of the carrots in the rubbermaid bins, I think I'll try that. I heard you guys had a bit of a coldspell, glad every thing was okay!

Laura said...

Great growth! I know what you mean about wanting to watch the root veggie grow from underground. What a sight that would be!

Jen said...

Tatiana, that's too bad about your cukes! For some reason I had no idea you could even grow them here. I'm planning on trying them next year, but I can't say I've ever had Calgary grown cucumbers. And one day I'd love a greenhouse!

Madeline, the rubbermaid bins have been working great! The nice thing is I've had to rearrange the garden a couple times, and it's been really easy.

Laura, I love root vegetables! But a couple years ago I gave gardening a shot, and was so disappointed when I pulled up my awesome looking carrots, beets and potatoes only to find the carrots and beets teeny weeny and the potatoes all scabby. But I have high hopes for this year!