My container gardening 'experiment'

btbarbara(7b/8a)July 13, 2011

My whole adventure with container gardening kind of started on a whim and took on a mind of its own over the last couple of months. The bad news is, I've managed to kill (or very close) a tomato, some pumpkins, one blueberry bush, and a couple of strawberries. The rest of the strawberries did great but they've pretty much shut down for now. I'm hoping the Ozark Beauties might crank out another batch of berries later this summer/fall but that remains to be seen. I don't know what variety the other strawberries are so I'm not sure if they'll do any more this year or not. I'll be thrilled if they do!

Everything else is doing great! I'm so excited and wanted to show off:

Watermelons are taking over! I'm thinking of putting some of these in the "desert" between my house and my neighbor next year just for the groundcover! I've got a Jubilee that I bought as a seedling in a 31-gal rubbermaid, 3 Crimson Sweets that I started from seeds in pots that are WAAAAY too small (I assume...they don't really seem to mind), and one that I have no idea what variety it is (one of those windowsill kits for the kids) in a pot that's WAAY too small but again, it's set fruit despite the less-than-ideal conditions. There are at least 10 good-sized melons between the five of them and who knows how many more babies hiding under all those vines.

Found Mr. Peanut this morning...isn't he cute!

The twins :) Believe it or not, these are crimson sweet growing in a 14" pot!!

It'll be interesting to see how this one grows since it's right in the corner of the box. I'm leaving it alone for now but keeping an eye on it.

This is what our Cayenne pepper plants looked like when we started:

And these are the two that are sharing a box with the watermelon a month later. Not sure if the peppers are so skinny because the watermelon is crowding them or if they like it drier than the melon or if it's just normal.

Here's the two that are in their own pots. These are FINALLY starting to turn red.

No tassles on my corn yet but I planted it late and it's more than chest high. I'm tempted to thin it a little because there are about 15 stalks in this 31-gal box and that seems like an awfully lot but I'm trying to be patient and leave it alone for now

I moved my cantaloupe the other day to cut the grass and get it a little further from the cucumbers (and fill in the space left by our dearly departed pumpkins). I think I must have damaged one of the vines because most of it looks great but there's one vine that doesn't look good. I might get out there again later and see if I can find the problem. We've already picked one cantaloupe (a little too soon) and have one more the size of a softball. Apparently the female flowers only open for about 5 minutes because I can never seem to catch them but there are a few that look like they may have been pollinated so we'll see.

This is three picklebush and two burpless bush hybrid cucumbers in an 18-gal tub with a wire teepee. I made my first batch of pickles over the weekend, gave mom some fresh cukes, and have another basket ready to be pickled!

I see lots more pickles in my future!

This is my little picklebush in a 14" pot. Originally, I didn't trellis this one and just let the vines go. About two days ago I added the trellis and he wasn't too happy with me at first (but the bees went nuts) but he seems to have forgiven me now and is adjusting to the new setup. I've gotten several cukes off this plant but hopefully it will do even better growing up.

This was the extent of this year's blueberry harvest but this was just about two weeks after I planted these. I had three in 24" diameter pots but one died. Haven't decided whether to put these in the ground in the fall or see how they do in the pots. Really looking forward to fresh blueberries next year!

This one isn't a container but I just love love love this rosebush! I've planted several this year and they're all doing pretty well but this one is awesome. Most of the others, the flowers drop off after a day or so but these flowers are more than a week old! And I cut a bunch to take to mom just the other day. The ones I took her still look gorgeous in a glass of water after several days and these smell SOOO good. I wish I could just fill my yard with these!

This is so much fun but I can't wait to get an early start next year and put all I've learned from this "experiment" to good use!

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greenman28 NorCal 7b/8a

Very, very nice!
The peppers are looking great.

Josh

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 1:46PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Amazingly beautiful man!

Look at those watermelons, my favorite fruit! I was almost tempted to grow one but not sure how easy it would be. Thanks so much for sharing.

Congrats! Don't forget to share when you cut into it with all that red sweet juicy meat. Yum

Hi Josh:-)

Mike

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:38PM
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btbarbara(7b/8a)

Thanks, guys! I'm like a kid with this stuff...it is so interesting to see just how the different plants grow and adapt. I'm a little concerned about my watermelons because they're right next to the cantaloupes and cucumbers. I read (too late) that if they cross pollinate, the melons may be bitter or taste funny. Hopefully not! Those twins are two I hand-pollinated so if nothing else, they should be fine. I'm already reading up on dehydrating watermelon (seems like a crime but if we have too many...), watermelon rind pickles, and even watermelon wine. I've got a little bit left from a melon we got at the market so I'm going to put it in the blender this evening and freeze it in popsicle molds to see what the kids think about that. The watermelons have actually been pretty easy, especially considering I had NO idea what I was doing. The ones that are doing the best are ones that I moved from smaller containers to big ones when they had stalled and even the ones in the tiny pots have set fruit. They're thirsty little devils (but nothing compared to the pumpkins!) but so far they've withstood the abuse of being moved, handled, trampled on (kids and neighborhood critters), scorched, drowned, improperly fertilized and who knows what else. I'll definitely be doing watermelons again next year.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 3:57PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Amazingly beautiful man!

Look at those watermelons, my favorite fruit! I was almost tempted to grow one but not sure how easy it would be. Thanks so much for sharing.

Congrats! Don't forget to share when you cut into it with all that red sweet juicy meat. Yum

Hi Josh:-)

Mike

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 4:02PM
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btbarbara(7b/8a)

Ugh....I think I'm going to quit bragging. Last week, the same day I posted pics on Facebook and talked about how great my pumpkins were doing, they suddenly died. Now, I walked outside just now and it literally felt like putting my hand in the oven. The heat index is 110 and even though I watered this morning, EVERYTHING is totally limp and lifeless. I watered again and sprayed the outsides of the containers to cool them down a bit and it should all perk up when the sun goes down but good grief!

I also noticed some little roots sticking out of the soil on the cantaloupe in the 18-gal tub. I started to try to cover them but there are roots all through the surface of the soil. Is that normal? I know cantaloupe is not a container plant but surely the 18-gal is big enough for just one? Could it be that I'm overwatering or the bucket isn't draining enough so the roots are growing up to get away from a wet bottom or something? What a roller coaster!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 5:23PM
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meyermike_1micha(5)

Doesn't that just freak you out?!

I here ya. You should see how I feel by days end when I look at my tomatoes and can't pick up the hose to water them due to a broken heel! It's frustrating.

No fear though. after emptying the local reservoir in you area by summers end, you will have the biggest and best looking melons around!:-0)
Be proud of what your are doing and feel free to show us anything you you succeed at. Happy growing!

Mike

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 5:32PM
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jonpalmer(7a)

Your cayyenes and watermelon are beautiful! I'm growing those in buckets and they're doing well but aren't nearly as vigorous as yours. Have you fertilized them? And if so how much/how regularly?

I started my crimson sweets from transplanted seedlings. I wonder if yours had a head start due to being from seed. So many questions and variables with gardening.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 5:49PM
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btbarbara(7b/8a)

As if today's heat wasn't bad enough, we got a storm this afternoon. I haven't heard if there was actually a tornado but definitely some insane winds. I watered everything, went to pick my kids up from grandma's and when I got home, there were rose petals glued to my front door from across the street! The little cucumber that I had finally gotten around to putting on a trellis 2 days ago had blown over, one of the pepper pots tipped over, and one of the pepper plants just snapped in half. I strung up 30 little green Cayennes to dry but I don't really know. Some of them were JUST starting to turn red, some really seem like babies. If I dry them and crush them green, will they still have good flavor?

Oh and the corn was COMPLETELY flattened. After scouring the garage, we went straight to Lowe's to find some way to support the corn for under $7 which is how much money I have to hold me over till my next paycheck. Got a 25 pack of 4' bamboo stakes and a ball of twine and made a little fence around that bucket. It's all pretty well standing back up now but we'll see whether it's really ok and how it holds up to the next windstorm.

I know one thing...I'm definitely going to quit bragging about how well everything's doing! Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut till the season's over!

@JonPalmer - I planted pretty much everything the last week in May or first week in June. Most of it is in half Miracle Gro potting mix and half Black Kow. The first few things I planted are just the MG potting mix. I've been using the MG sprayer thing about every 5-7 days or so (when I have it and think about it basically). I'm just tickled with how well it's all growing in spite of everything!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 10:58PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I'm also impressed with the watermelons. I've grown them in the ground with great results, but this year I tried them in a container with poor results. I planted 2 watermelons and 2 muskmelons together in a 30 gallon container using the 511 mix. The watermelons are barely growing...3 small fruits, and the muskmelons are growing well...probably 15 fruits set....the final size yet to be determined. I'll have to definitely do something different next year with the watermelons....more space, different soil, different fertilizer.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 12:50AM
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