This summer Eric decided he wanted a bigger vegetable garden. To do this he completely dissembled the fence so he could rebuild it, but with this summer being so crazy with the wedding he never got around to finishing it. So long story short, we still wanted veggies but didn't have a place to put them.
I've known people to use planters to grow vegetables, but have never tried it myself. So naturally, I called Mom. She found the planters big enough to fit everything in and even painted them for me! Then she had me over and taught me all about how to do it just right to make sure I got some really great results. Now, I can't selfishly keep all this great knowledge to myself so here you go! From my mom to me and now to you.
First you need the planters. The bigger the better, but a 3-5gal should be fine. And a lot of potting soil. The multipurpose is great and I like to make sure it has the moisture control because, let's face it, I'm not so great at remembering to water my plants.
Next you'll need a wheel barrel or something to mix the potting soil up with.
Dump in a good amount...
Now for your additives. You didn't think my mom would just use potting soil, did you?!
First you'll need a little Osmocote plant food (just a few shakes) which will "ensure a continuous supply of nutrients to feed your plants for 4 months". This is great and will last you all season long. Next, add some Coast of Main Lobster & Kelp plant food (one scoop) which is "ideal for fertilizing vegetables". I know people who swear by this stuff to help the plants produce awesome crops for the season. And last, add some Hydrated Horticultural Lime (about 1/4 cup) to "reduce soil acidity and increase efficiency of fertilizers".
The next thing she does (which is genius by the way) is fill the bottom of the planter with styrofoam popcorn. This is done for two main reasons: 1st, to help bring down the weight of the planter after it's complete and 2nd, to help the filtration of the water and keep loss of soil when watering to minimum. Then after they're in, go ahead and fill up your planter with your potting soil mixture and start planting your veggies, adding more soil as you need.
Plant whatever you like to eat, of course, but if you're planting tomatoes, start with them. When planting a new tomato, place it on it's side in a valley of the soil (rather than the traditional hole) after scraping the bottom of the stem with your nail. This will allow the plant to root along the stem as well as getting it's existing roots established, and will result in a stronger mature plant. Then plant everything else around them.
We planted lettuce, bell peppers, a squash, some lettuce, and even threw some oregano and magnolias in there to help deter the bugs from eating the plants.
When planting, be sure to not plant them too close to the edge of the planter. You want to have about an inch of soil all the way around the outside of planter.
We added some stakes for when the tomato plants need some additional support as well.
Drooping of the plants is completely normal and they'll bounce back in a couple of days. Next we gave them a shot of some Miracle Grow when we watered. Also, keep them in a shady spot for the first few days so they're not baked by the sun and make sure they're watered every few days, or when you see them wilting.
And there you have it! Keep them watered and watch them grow! After I got them home I put them on a stand that placed them about 2ft above the ground to help with the rabbits that just LOVE my veggies every year, and we've gotten a great crop from them. Even when we get our vegetable garden rebuilt, I might still do a planter or two instead of annuals. They serve as decoration too, so why not?! Hope you enjoy!
After we were done making the planters we took a walk around her property. Since I thought you might be bored of seeing mine all the time, I thought I'd share.
|Mom's Veggie Garden :)|
As we walked I got a quick lesson on Blue Birds that I though you might also like...
My mom is a member of the North American Blue Bird Society and watches her Blue Birds very carefully and takes great care of them each season: switching out their babies' nesting materials to avoid them being bit by blow flies, watching them fledge, & shooing out invasive birds to allow for the Blue Birds to nest. She has many Blue Bird houses on her property and says the main thing that makes or brakes a good bird house is ventilation. She bought the white one seen below online and doesn't get many residents because it's too hot for them. But the one she built herself is always one of their favorite. Though it might not be as pretty, the ventilation is the seller. As you'll see below, she has equipped it with drainage holes on the floor of the box as well as ventilation on the roof.
|Operation Blue Bird|
|Bought online, but not the best box for Blue Birds|
|Drainage for the rain as well as ventilation.|
|Ventilation where the roof meets the wall of the box.|
|Handmade and it's their favorite!|
It was great being able to spend the day with Mom on her property. She loves tending to her gardens and her land and takes such pride in the result of her hard work. Here's just a little more of our walk on this beautiful day. :) Thanks for reading. Till next time!