Friday, June 15, 2007

Transformation on the Patio

We made big changes on the patio last weekend. We bought some wee cherry tomato plants two weekends ago from the semi-local farmers' market. We go there every weekend, and it tends to be the thing I look forward to doing all week. The problem was we didn't have containers for the cherry tomatoes. Hence, the cherries demanded major changes. So we moved the Santa and Patio tomatoes to a large bin, giving them some more root room and perhaps crowding the above-ground growth. We moved the cherries to some large bins, because Father-in-law said they need a lot of room. We also bought some purple sweet peppers and potted those in the old tomato pots.

Here's what we did. We bought two 18 gallon, and one smaller, galvanized steel tubs and rinsed them. These were cheap and functional, working nicely into our limited budget. Ideally, we would have filled them with water for 24 hours to leach and surface chemicals. I learned this trick from my short stint in oyster aquaculture for my research.





Then we filled the bottoms with about an inch or so of gravel and spread it around. I would have liked to soak the gravel, too, but we never quite got around to it.



















Next, we filled the pails with ORGANIC potting soil
purchased from our favorite farmers' market. Then dug holes and transplanted the potted tomatoes.












These three tomato plants went from this:
























































To this:


And the cherry tomatoes went from packed and thirsty here:
To these two roomy, moist pails:









































The new Purple Beauties peppers went from packed (here) to potted (above and below).





















So in all, my patio garden has undergone an expanded transformation.

My legs were sore for a few days afterward, but I think it was well worth the hard day's work and subsequent pain. What do you think of our set up? Are things too crowded? Is galvanized steel bad? Any suggestions for improvement?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mariwood--
Your patio garden is making quite a bit of progress. We're watching from sunny Seattle and hoping our peppers do as well as your's. We've just planted morning glories and poppies--maybe 3 weeks ago--and are hoping they grow as nicely as the items in your patio garden.

Here's a question for you: we bought seeds for an herb garden. Did you start your's from seeds? Any suggestions for success?

Anonymous said...

Mariwood--
It's Sunny Seattle again. We forgot to say that you can put a small-mesh screen over your rain water collection bucket to keep the mosquitoes away.

Mariwood said...

Hi, Sunny Seattle. We started everything in our patio garden from seed, except for the tomatoes and the new Purple Beauties peppers. Here's a list of the things we've successfully grown from seed.

Herbs and veggies:
basil
cayenne peppers
cilantro
jalapeno peppers
spinach

Flowers:
cosmos
marigolds

We tried cosmos and larkspurs, but squirrels dug up all the seeds except for a few cosmos. We decided to start over with more flower seeds in the 6-pot baby planters, in which our cherry tomatoes and Purple Beauties came. I will put more about this in an upcoming blog entry.

Anthony said...

Hi, I'm enjoying reading your blog. I have a vegetable garden in my yard but I also plant a few things in those same big metal tubs like you did. I like having a few herbs and cherry tomatoes right outside my kitchen door. I only put 1 or two tomato plants in each tub though. Do you think yours might get too crowded?

Mariwood said...

Hi, Anthony.

Thanks for reading the blog. I've enjoyed your series of blogs as well.

We are worried about crowding in our patio garden, particularly for the tomatoes. My father-in-law warned us that cherry tomatoes get very big and bushy. Do you predict over-crowding at four cherries per tub? We tried to plant them toward the outside of the tubs so that they would have more room between each other. Still, crowding is a risk we are taking. How close can we plant them without causing major damage? We're thinking of it as part of our adventure, part of the experiment. Also, two of our three non-cherry tomato plants are Patio varieties. I think this means they stay pretty small and are adapted to a confined container life.

Looking forward to any tips you can give us about our patio garden.

Marc said...

Great post! I really like your blog. Thanks for the links to Garden Desk and to Veggie Garden Info. I just put the first part of this post and links to it on Veggie Garden Info.

Is that okay? I would love for "My Organic Patio" to be a regular contributer to VGI if you allow it.

Keep up the great gardening and great writing!

italman said...

Mariwood
I have a few cherry tomatoes on my balcony and I can say your father-in-law is right, they do get very big and bushy. If it really gets crowded, do a bit of pruning and everything should be all right. Some of my cherry tomatoes are in pretty small containers(boxes) and a bit overcrowded, but still growing great!
Wish you luck with your grow!
Each one, teach one!

Mariwood said...

Hi, Marc.

I am honored to have my posts as part of Veggie Garden Info. I love VGI! It gives me so many ideas and much inspiration for our second summer of gardening. Thanks for thinking of My Organic Patio.

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