My Organic, Container Vegetable Garden

Container Veggie Garden

Container Veggie Garden – Tomato, Zucchini & Spinach

Is anyone else out there as freaked out as I am about the insane cost of groceries?  Here on Catalina Island all of our produce is brought over on a barge, in a refrigerated shipping container so it’s even more expensive than it is on the mainland. I couldn’t believe recently that one green bell pepper (yes green, not yellow or red) at our small market was almost two dollars!

I’m drawing on all the self-control I have to not roll right into a political/ socio-economic tirade. But be warned readers, I don’t know how much longer I can contain my frustration.

Anyway, to continue with the less controversial topic of gardening, since I’ve embarked on my juicer journey, I’ve obviously been buying a lot more fresh fruits and veggies than I  have in the past which is a good thing. Last year I’d decided to start a vegetable garden but just never got around to it, which is the fate of many grand ideas. This Spring I bought two large garden containers that were $45 each and the fact that I couldn’t return them was just the miserly incentive I needed to actually do it.

The containers I bought at our local hardware store are intended for city dwellers or those with limited outdoor space, hence the name “City Pickers”. They’re about 1′ 9″ x 2′ about 9″ deep and one of their greatest features is that they’re on wheels! If you think your spinach might be getting a bit too much sun, just wheel it over to a shadier spot.

I found this feature especially convenient last week when our neighbors were having their thirty-foot palm trees trimmed. Large fronds were dive-bombing to the ground right where my garden was, so I just wheeled them out of harm’s way until the tree-trimming was finished.

Watering the plants in the container is fool-proof.  There’s a plastic tube that rests on the bottom and comes through the soil at the top. The reservoir holds two gallons of water to replenish daily and a screen keeps the soil from direct contact with the water reservoir so the plants are never over watered (there’s an over-flow opening on each side). Just pour the water through the tube and it’s wicked up into the soil as needed.

I went into this project rather blindly since I’ve never actually grown vegetables before. I have plenty of experience with ornamental plants and even herbs but not veggies. My mom had a small vegetable garden in our back yard when we were kids, so she gave me some good general pointers.  She, however, lives in the wet, humid north-east, US (NJ) and I live in the very sunny, dry south-west, US (CA), so it’s a very different experience.

I’ve planted tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, green onions and spinach. As expected the zucchini and tomatoes are thriving but the others are having a slow start. I think it’s too hot and sunny for the spinach so I’m thinking of moving that container. There are 5 baby tomatoes on the vine and the squash plants have sprouted beautiful orange flowers, some of which, I hope, will eventually become squash.

I haven’t had too many problems with pests but one young tomato was eaten by a cabbage worm (I think) and I have seen some aphids.  I rinsed as many of the aphids off the leaves as I could, let them dry and sprayed a light mist of vegetable-oil based, organic pesticide to the leaves and it seems to have done the trick.

I’m hoping, in a couple of weeks, to have a great shot of me to post, biting into one of my own, home-grown, juicy, red, organic, tomatoes!  Here’s hoping!

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2 Comments

  1. Frances Douglas

     /  June 12, 2013

    Great job ! What a wonderful way to vent your frustration, by growing a
    veggie garden and a great pay off. It looks very healthy…..Have a great summer. I could use some of that SUNSHINE up here in the north woods.
    ( Duluth MN )

    Reply
    • Thanks Francis! It really is a great way to relax I’m finding. I always loved gardening but you’re right – the veggies are just the “icing on the cake” (if you’ll excuse the horrible cliché). I don’t know how you handle the weather in Deluth! I’ve never actually been there but my Dad is from Rochester and I’ve heard many “walked to school uphill both ways, in ten feet of snow, had to dig my way out the front door, etc, etc… ” stories and I’m sure the weather in Deluth is much more extreme. Still, it must be beautiful. I’m just such a wimp after living in sunny Southern California for almost ten years! Thanks again for the comment!

      Reply

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