Container Garden Update #3

| June 23, 2012

I had been so busy with my tomato plants that I almost forgot about my basil. After removing the slime mold from one of the basil plants I took an objective look and realized I should have pinched the basil quite some time ago.

They were growing tall with nice big leaves, but they weren’t bushing out. I read (in hindsight) that I need to continually pinch the new growth if I want the plants to gain volume.

Since it’s too late to pinch I decided to cut off the top few inches of each plant. I cut a few of them on Wednesday. I had more than I needed so I gave it away. After all, I have about 7 basil plants (I only planted 5).

Three Days Later

I cut the basil on Wednesday evening and on Saturday morning it looks like I have twice as much basil than I cut. Here are a couple of pictures of the new growth in 3 (actually 2 ½) days.

Twice as Much Basil

In the first picture you can see where I cut the basil. About an inch or so below the cut are two new basil branches. The branches are almost as large as the amount of basil I cut off almost 3 days ago.

Cut Basil

Multiply that two-for-one growth by the number of basil plants. Now I have twice as much basil as I had before I cut it. As you can see, I need some help. Does anyone have several good basil recipes?

I love basil and put it in my salads, sandwiches, wraps and sauces. In addition to giving it away, I guess it’s time for me to look into drying and preserving some.

Tomato Plants

My tomato plants are growing like crazy and I see several green tomatoes. These are cherry tomato plants so I’m expecting to have several containers of tomatoes.

Because the tomato plants were growing so fast, I realized I needed to contain them. On Father’s Day weekend I purchased two wired tomato cages. It was tricky trying to put large tomato plants inside cages (note to self, next year install the cage when the plant is small). Fortunately, I managed to install the cages with no casualties.

The cages were large enough to give the tomato plants ample room to grow. They didn’t quite reach the top rung of the cages so I felt confident I purchased the correct size. After all, the plants are growing in a container, how big can they get?

One Week Later

The tomato plants have not only reached the top rung, but are growing past it. In one week the plant grew about 12 inches. I was so amazed at the growth that I decided to measure the growth after 24 hours. From yesterday morning to this morning the plants grew another inch and a half. At this rate, I’ll have two unruly tomato trees in my container.

Unruly Tomato Plants

Unruly Tomato Plants

Self-Watering Containers

I’ve found the self-watering feature to be a life saver. We had a dry spell for a couple of days, but my plants didn’t miss a beat. The containers with the tomato plants require more water refills than the others since the plants in the other containers aren’t quite as large.

I make sure to water the plants with non-chlorinated water. My three water sources are rain, air conditioner runoff and water from my basement dehumidifier. My house water is chlorinated and the chlorine will kill the bokashi’s beneficial microbes.

Thinning Things Out

Not knowing any better, I planted too many things too close together. I tossed in a bunch of seeds expecting only half to germinate. Much to my surprise, the germination rate was much higher.

Broccoli

Broccoli

My vegetables kind of remind me of a children’s soccer game. If you’ve ever watched kids play soccer, they tend to bunch up around the ball. The coach has to thin them out to cover the field.

Well, I’ve got to be the coach and thin out my veggies. I think the broccoli and the collards need more room in order to reach their full potential.

Collards

Bunched Collards

Because of weight limitation constraints, I don’t want to place another 45-gallon container on the deck so I’ve prepared 2 5-gallon containers instead. You see, my deck isn’t really a deck; it’s more like a porch. It’s on the second level of the house. Being the daughter of an architect, I’m cognizant of how much weight these large dirt/water filled containers can add to the deck load.

At the rate I’m going, I really need to move everything to the yard, but I’m not. That’s next year’s project. This year I’ll work on my containers while planning the yard garden. I’ll continue to learn and make mistakes without having to worry too much about critters.

Next year…well, that’s a whole new chapter to this gardening story.

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Category: Bokashi, Container Gardening, Gardening

About the Author ()

Felicia is a bit of a tree hugger and likes to share ways to lighten the toxic burden on the environment.

Comments (1)

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  1. Joni says:

    It’s so exciting watching your success! It was funny to see how your tomatos went “wild”. That’s how the weeds in my yard do…LOL. You are doing a great job. Very inspiring.
    Joni