Oy Vey! In need of encouragement!

meadowdreamer(Z6 TN)April 16, 2012

My husband and I decided to do container vegetable gardeing because our backyard is on the small side and there isn't 1 spot that gets a full 6 hrs of sun. So we are able to move them around during the day. I followed the advice and guidelines for containers and got the perlite, compost, peat moss, bone meal, etc., mixture, and oh my we really racked up some cost!! Yes, this our first "attempt" at vegetable gardening. I have grown Bradley tomatoes before but that's all. I am just terrified after all that cost they won't grow. Anyway, I just need some encouragement on this money I just slapped down. HAHA!! I read that next year we can reuse the mixture in the containers. Just add a little bit of everything back to it? Please say that's the case...

FYI: We bought 1 Cherokee Purple tomato plant, 2 Bradley tomato plants, 4 cucumber plants (2 in each container), 1 Okra plant.

We have pleanty of mixture left for a few more veggies. If you know of any other's that are great in containers please let me know.

Thanks fellow gardeners!!

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capoman(5a)

Sounds like you are going to try organic container gardening which is much harder and more expensive then using Tapla's formulas.

I would consider reading Tapla's various treatise in this forum and use his methods, then consider organic after you have more experience. There is no real environmental or health benefit of doing organic in containers. It is best suited for soil in the ground.

I primarily grow hot and sweet peppers in containers. They do far better then in the ground for me. Might want to add that to your list. Lettuces and herbs also do well in containers.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 4:58PM
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Joe1980(5)

I agree that organic in containers isn't the best route. The problem is that in order for organic to work, you need things to break down naturally into the elements that plants need. This just doesn't happen in a container over summer. Also, if I were moving containers around, I would look into one of those big, flat carts with the off road wheels, so I could easily move the whole plant brigade around.

Joe

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 5:48PM
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captiveroots(6A)

My biggest piece of advice is not to worry too much and over-think things. I've grown the plants you mentioned for many years, some in far less than idea circumstances and always had at least something to show for it.

In my experience, tomatoes are particularly forgiving. I also agree with Capoman about peppers; they always do really well for me even when I crowd the extras I have into leftover pots that should be too small.

Strawberries also do really well in containers, as do beans and squash.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:18PM
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meadowdreamer(Z6 TN)

I'm going to sound like an idiot here..but I didn't realize I was going organic. :-\ I just found an article about container gardening and followed their suggested advice. The article said that normal soil gets compacted so it's best to use peat moss and perlite to help keep it loose. The compost and bone meal was food. All I want to do is grow some veggies! LOL! I'll check out Tapla's formulas. Only problem is, what's done is done.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 1:50PM
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capoman(5a)

Yes, normal soil gets compacted from the ground. Organic potting soil is not much better. Better to use the bark based 5:1:1. Peat based soils hold too much water, and are difficult for new (and even experienced growers) to control. They are very common, but mixing your own is cheaper and bark based soil drains much better, more forgiving, and is also much easier for a new grower to use. There are plenty of one part fertilizers that will work just fine, making things even simpler.

Well, if you wish, considering you already planted some, try additional containers using Tapla's methods for comparison. Guaranteed, that will be the method you stick with.

One note, it is always good to experiment somewhat and not stick to one method, especially early in learning. You will learn more by doing this then any other method. There is a lot of FUD, wives tales, and incorrect/outdated information out there. Best to try to filter through it, and try some things on your own. You will find what works best for you and your climate by doing this.

Don't let the definition of insanity haunt you (expect different results by doing the same things). Accept you will make mistakes, and learn from them. Learn from other's mistakes too. Before you know it, your brown thumb will turn green and you'll wonder why you found it so hard in the beginning. Know that we all have been there, and why we are willing to help others get there more easily then we did.

By the way, compost and bone meal gave the organic away. Compost can really cause problems in containers.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 4:31PM
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meadowdreamer(Z6 TN)

Capoman, thank you so much!!! I should have checked here before I went forward. I am such a newbie...I didn't even know what bone meal was. We used sphagnum peat moss, and mushroom compost, just FYI. I would be lying if I said I went by the measurements exactly. I wish it didn't seem so complicated. I sure hope we get something out of it.

Do you know where I can fine Tapla's mixture?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 5:50PM
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FromDirt(7 North MS)

Hi Dreamer,

Welcome to the wonderful world of container gardening.

I believe this is the thread you're looking for. It's managed to be dropped down all the way to page 4, so it's pretty easy to miss.

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Soils

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 9:21PM
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capoman(5a)

Actually, using Tapla's formulas and methods are not difficult at all. Mix the 5:1:1, water with weak one part fertilizer (fertigate). It doesn't get much easier then that. Aside from his soil posts, read his fertilization posts as well. He gives you all you need to succeed in containers.

Organic is much more complex since you are using multiple types of fertilizer, and also dealing with more water retentive soil, making watering more difficult. Tapla makes it all easy.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 8:30AM
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