Archive for the ‘Container gardening’ Category

Container Gardening With Calla Lillies

February 13, 2013 3:02 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Lisa asks…

Container gardening with my calla lilies?

Container gardening in zone 7. I planted 3 calla lily bulbs, and only one is producing. Same with one of the cannas–lots of roots, but after many weeks, that’s it. The ones that made it are flourishing. Should I dig up the others and store them until next year, wait until the end of the season, or what?

Martin Boyle answers: Container gardening with my calla lilies

If they have roots and also have leaves but no flowers?
Sometimes they will grow but not bloom for a year or two in a new site.

Calla’s are picky about their temperature wanting a minimum day temp of 65 and 55 degree nights. They like morning light but need afternoon protection in warmer areas.
They like a pH of 6-6.5 in a rich, organic heavy soil.
They like a steady supply of water. The tuber should always be damp. Once the leaves unfurl water uptake is greatly increased. Water should not be diminished until the plants foliage begins to fail in fall.
Calcium is needed to prevent soft rot. Because they grow in wet soil they are susceptible to fungal diseases.
Tubers need to be at least 2 inches up to 4 inches deep.

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Container Gardening For Vegetables

October 22, 2012 11:26 am
posted by Martin Boyle

George asks…

Do you have a book recommendation about Container Gardening for Vegetables?

I want information on container gardening. as I’m a novice gardener, I’m interested in starting a vegetable garden next year, but would need to do it in containers.

Do you have any book recommendations for container gardening? I’m also looking for suggestions on how to get started and what would be easy to grow in containers. Thanks!

The Container Gardening For Vegetables Bible

Amazon sells a great book on container gardening published by Edward C. Smith .This is how I got started. Although now I [containergardening] live on about an acre, I started gardening in containers on an enclosed condo patio. I still have over 200 plants growing in containers in my yard, including herbs, citrus and veggies.

Tomatoes, peppers and herbs are great to grow in containers. I grow 5 different varieties of tomatoes, 3 pepper varieties and a host of herbs like thyme, sage, chives, basil, 2 kinds of oregano, tarragon, dill, mint, chamomile…and some others I don’t remember right now. I found growing vine plants like cucumber, pumpkin and squash is a little tricky in containers. By growing vegetables in containers, even novice gardeners can reap a bounty of organic food in very small spaces. Anyone can harvest tomatoes on a patio, produce a pumpkin in a planter, or grow broccoli on a balcony — it’s easy!

Ed Smith shows you in his book, how to choose the right plants, select containers and tools, care for plants throughout the growing season, control pests without chemicals, and much more. He even includes plans for small-space container gardens that are perfect for urban and suburban gardeners. Anyone can grow, harvest, and enjoy homegrown veggies, even without a yard. For free advice on gardening in containers in your zone, you can contact a master gardener or the county agricultural extension.

This is a how-to video on container gardening for vegetables, in containers and planters instead of a traditional in-ground garden.

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Your Questions About Container Garden Ideas

September 14, 2012 10:19 am
posted by Martin Boyle

Daniel asks…

Where could I find some ideas for container gardens?

I have two half barrels that will be placed in a sunny area.

Martin Boyle answers:

Magazines, libraries, and junk shops. There are some really cool and cheap things out there for containers if you use your imagination. Be sure to know where your container will be placed before buying plants so you get the right ones for the lighting. Wave and Rave petunias are adorable in them and bloom profusely throughout the season, by the way!

Paul asks…

Need veggie container garden idea….?

I am kinda getting addicted to my container garden, (its so much fun!) I want to plant one more veggie, I already have a beefsteak tomato plant, a jalapeno pepper plant, 2 different types of mint, AND a “strawberry pot” (one of those urn type pots with cups cut out of the sides of it) full of strawberry’s. I want to plant another veggie but am not sure what else will work in a container. Thanks in advance for any ‘idea’s’ you give me! 

Martin Boyle answers:

The first suggestion of squash or zucchini should be followed with a warning that is spreads and takes allot of room. Same with melons so I wouldn’t recommend those. The banana peppers are a good idea. I grew cucumber in a pot before and although it also spreads I had a trellis that worked out pretty well. Spinach is a good easy plant and will go great with your garden to have a salad all right there!. Glad you are getting addicted it is so fun!

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Your Questions About Good Tomatoes and Fertilizers For Container Gardening

September 11, 2012 2:57 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Charles asks…

Container gardening?

To those of you who are more knowledgeable with tomatoes than i. (which should be just about all of you) which tomato is best for container gardening that will also have the best flavor for cooking/sauces?

Martin Boyle answers:

There are tomato’s called “patio tomato’s” Great for a little bucket and good tomato’s too.

Susan asks…

What are the good fertilizers for the container gardening?

What are the good fertilizers for the container gardening to make the soil powerful for plants … like Nitrogen, Potassium etc

Martin Boyle answers:

Any fertilizer containing N:P:K will do the job. If you’re growing vegetables or flowers for spectacular blooms, then you’ll need a slightly more specific fertilizer.

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Your Questions About What would be some great fruits,spices,and herbs,and veggies to grow in my container garden?

9:42 am
posted by Martin Boyle

James asks…

What would be some great fruits,spices,and herbs,and veggies to grow in my container garden?

I am planning to have a container garden next year on my front and back stairwell and on the property surrounding it.I live in my parents’ building and they said I can have my lawn decorations,holiday decorations,and garden only on my stairwells and the property surrounding the stairwells.
I am buying a couple of those Rubbermaid clear storage bins and I will drill small holes in the bottom so that water can drain and I want to plant some flowers,herbs,spices,fruits,and veggies.
I saw the dwarf blueberry tree that fits in a big pot and the North-pole apples that grow on stalks instead of trees, but what are some other fruits, veggies,spices,and herbs I can grow in my garden?
I live in Chicago and I am in planting zone number 5.
Thank you so much.

Martin Boyle answers:

First, I’d put some stones at the bottom of the container for extra drainage. I also don’t know why you’d use clear storage bins rather than actual large pots, but that’s just aesthetics and your plan should work.

Apples and Blueberries are best planted in ground. Especially in Zone 5, where it’ll be tough for you to take them in for the winter (how will you water them in a stairwell?). Those also take years to produce large amounts and I don’t think they’d ever give you much in a container.

I’d stick to annuals you replant each year. For herbs, Rosemary is wonderful along with Basil, Thyme and Cilantro. Basil and Cilantro can be used all the time in the summer (pesto, salsa) and Rosemary dries really well. Cilantro turns into the spice Coriander when it matures. Rosemary is pretty hardy and I move mine indoors each winter (zone 7).

For veggies, Tomatoes are always great because they are a meal by themselves (maybe with basil and mozzarella) and can also be made into sauces and canned for the winter. I love making fresh salsa, so I also grow onions and hot peppers. They don’t take up a lot of room in a small container.

Eggplant is another plant that grows pretty much vertical and would work in a container. There’d be no way to grow squash, pumpkins, zucchini, cucumbers or anything that spreads. Bell peppers will work too.

If you want flowering plants that you move indoors, I have miniature lemons. The flowers smell fantastic and I keep my tree trimmed to grow up. By the end of the winter it looks a bit ragged but springs back through the summer.

I guess the best advice beyond those suggestions would be to take it slow the first year and figure out what you can handle.

Good luck.

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Martin Boyle
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