How are your gardens coming along?

Discussion in 'Common Vegetables' started by shellbellc, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. davenh

    davenh Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Plastic is just trash bags. I used nylon string to tie down on some, and started cutting out the inside portion of the container cover and snapping it down over the plastic on others. You have to use a peat based potting mix like Miracle grow or it will get to compacted and smother the roots. I'm on my 3rd year re-using the potting mix, figure to get 5 seasons before re-filling.

    I used two cups of 10-10-10 cheap fertilizer. Lay it in a two inch wide strip away from the plants on top of the potting mix, they find it. Cover (so rain water doesn't get at the fertilizer strip and blocks weeds) and all you do is keep the reservoir topped off with water for the season. The theory is the plant gets the same water and food intake consistently while growing. For storage, I just pull the plant and leave in place. Leave mine out all winter, doesn't seem to bother them.

    The photos of the buckets with seedlings are actually original Earthboxes some gave me. Mine are a DIY version of them, like mine better they hold more water and potting mix.

    To refresh them in the beginning of the season, I just pull out about a 3rd of the potting mix and mix it with two cups of powdered lime, fluff up the rest (pull out any larger roots) add the mixed 3rd back in, add the fertilizer strip and cover. Ready to go again.

    A bunch of us over at the Gardenweb we trying to make our own and this was my version.

    Here's some instructions I did a while back to make them.

    DIY Earthbox Photos

    DIY Earthboxes, self watering planters. There are a lot of variations of these, so I've included some basic instructions showing how I made mine. These boxes hold 2.5cf of potting mix and 4 gal of water.

    Materials to make 3 planters: Cost:
    • 3 - 18 gal. storage box w/cover. $12
    • 1 - 10' x 4" PVC drain pipe. $5
    • 1 - 2' x 4' plastic egg crate light panel $10
    • 1 - 5' x 1 1/2" PVC pipe $3
    • 3 - 24" x 20" fiberglass screen material $1
    • 36 - nylon ties $3
    Total: $34 for 3 planters.

    The storage boxes are Sterlite brand, purchased at Walmart. The smallest roll of fiberglass screen I could find at HD was 24"x100' ($27), there is enough for 60 boxes. You may have to buy a 10' length of 1 1/2" PVC pipe, will make fill tubes for 6 boxes ($6).


    Cut 6 - 6" pieces out of the 4" PVC drain pipe (I used a miter saw). Drill 9 - 1/2" holes (I use a wood bit) in the tubes and stagger the holes 3 top, 3 middle, 3 bottom. Drill 2 - 1/4" holes at the very top of each tube, opposite sides, these are for securing to the screen. Snip the egg crate panel 18" x 15" (this will vary depending on the dimensions of your box). If your box has rounded corners, then snip out the corners to match. You should be able to get 3 screens per panel. Use two nylon ties to attach each tube to the egg crate screen. The egg crate panel seems flimsy, but it is very easy to snip out and saves you from drilling out the cover to make a screen. Once the supports are under it, it is plenty strong enough and provides great aeration.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Snip out the egg crate material from the middle of two outside tubes, they should be on the same side of the screen. Make sure to leave some edge squares intact so the screen is still supported by the edge of the tube. These are going to be the wicking chambers. On the same side, snip a 3 square by 4 square hole above the center tube, this is where the filler tube will go. (See photo below)

    Take a piece of the fiberglass screen material and wrap it over the top of the egg crate screen, this will prevent the potting mix from falling through the holes. You can just hold it in place while you drop the screen assembly into the box. The box sides will hold the screen edges. After the screen assembly is in the box, you need to cut the fiberglass screen from the wicking and filler tube holes.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Cut an 18" piece of the 1 1/2" PVC pipe ( I used miter saw), then cut an angle on one end. Insert the end with the angle cut into the middle hole. This will be the filler tube.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Drill a 1/2" hole in the front of the box so that it is 1" below the inside screen. This is the overflow hole so the planter cannot be over filled and ensures there is a gap between the screen and the water for good aeration. You can put one of the tubes next to the box to get an idea of the hole height.

    Use only a peat based potting mix in the box. Soil will not wick up the water. Mine are filled with Miracle Grow potting mix.
    Fill the wicking tubes with potting mix and firmly pack it in the tubes, I really soaked the mix while filling the wicking tubes to make sure the were no air pockets. When the tubes are packed, start filling the box with potting mix. Wet the potting mix as you fill the box, making sure to pack the box so it fills with no air pockets. The goal here is to turn the potting mix into a big sponge that soaks up the water. It is important to fill the box enough to make a decent crown on top so rain water will run off. For a moisture cover, I used a trash bag with either a bungy or nylon cord to hold it down and put the plants directly above the wicking tubes (when planting tomatoes). I also used the plastic bin cover as a base to help protect the bottom, the greenhouse floor is crushed stone. You can follow the instructions on the Earthbox website for filling, fertilizer and plant placement.

    They work great and are a good alternative to have a garden where an in-ground one might not be practical.
  2. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well, finished pulling up the last of the tomatoes bar one plant that is still doing OK. I might get three more then it is gone. Otherwise only some Jalapeno's growing. Starting to pick out the seeds for the early fall garden and planning to purchase plants for the main fall garden.
  3. morkdach

    morkdach Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    like daves ideas on container planting this is my first year and seems to be working, just a little slow. just used old buckets and plastic pots works ok except weedeater plays havic on pots. dave has a good plan will give it a try.
  4. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Well its getting close to that time again so I figured this great post should be brought back up
  5. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Starting slow as there is atleast one more freeze comin, you can probably bet on it. Got two tomato plants in the ground along with a bunch of "bunch" onions. Started some Collards, Cukes and a couple more tomato plants from seeds. Should have them in the ground in another 2 or 3 weeks.
  6. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Heres a few pics of what we have going right now
    These cucumbers growing in the 5 gal buckets were planted the same time and into the same soil as the ones in the self watering container wow what a difference. I have to build more self watering containers for us and my Dad

    We have radishes which I already harvested the first planting and the second is about ready. We have lots of bell peppers for the wife. We have carrots. We need more room to plant more stuff

    Some peppers the 5 gal bucket in this pic is self watering

    If you haven't tried building any of these self watering containers then try it they are easy to build and require little maintenance. After planting all we do is fill them with water everyday. They aren't really all that expensive either the first year you have to buy everything and build them but this year it was just buying some fertilizer and the seeds and a couple small plants she wanted. My Dad had tomatoes over 8' tall growing in these last year
  7. dutch

    dutch Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This past weekend we planted banana squash, butternut squash, cucumbers and pumpkins (for the grandkids). In the container section we have an 2 'mater plants- an early girl and a roma- the roma already has fruit on the vine. We also have a couple of poblano peppers and a couple of tam jalepeno peppers.
  8. roltyde

    roltyde Fire Starter

    About 15 years ago we lived out in the country in Central Alabama. I had a nice little garden and decided to plant some broccoli. My wife's cousin lived next door and came over one evening. He was admiring my broccoli plants, which were now quite big and leafy. He commented how good looking my collards were. I told him it was broccoli and he told me he'd been growing collards all his life and those were collards.

    I was ticked that the garden shop had mis-labeled my two six packs of broccoli and we began eating our newly-discovered collards. They weren't the best I'd ever had but were tolerable. After about 3 meals and getting ready for a fourth, as I was bending down to cut the collards, guess what I saw down in the middle? That's right, the prettiest little head of broccoli you'd want to see.

    I went and got wifey's cousing and showed him. His response? "Well, I'll be damned! I didn't know that's what broccoli looked like."

    Things aren't always what they appear.
  9. Here are some pic's of the main garden. Tomatoes, Bell Peppers and Squash. Kind of small but it works.

    Here are my Chile Peppers.
  10. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Ok where are all those pics. I know ya'll must have some veggies growing. I'll attempt to get more pics up in the next few days but the self watering boxes are doing great and still producing. We picked 20 Sweet Banana Peppers yesterday and the wife had picked 8 or 10 of them on Friday
  11. biaviian

    biaviian Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Shellbellc, I'm just a bit west on the Turnpike from you. 

    My garden isn't doing very well.  My lettuce didn't do anything and neither did my spinach.  I had great looking peas, beans, and soybeans but quarter sized hail destroyed all of it.  I do have some great looking tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and corn.  I replanted some peas and soybeans and they are doing quite well.
  12. I picked 12 different veggies this morning[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Some green beans I have canned already

  13. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Dang that looks awesome nice garden!!!!
  14. silverwolf636

    silverwolf636 Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    We planted and a ground hog helped himself to everything. Wiped out.


  15. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Ok let set the ground work on this gardening. We can't grow/ ok could not grow anything BUT. We used to buy tomatoe plant with tomatoes on them and pick them before we killed the whole plant. We gave it another try # 77 or so. Well I builded the wife some boxes and she planted corn, cucumbers, squish, peppers, and some tomatoes. So here's the starting plants this was taken of month or so ago and we are really stoked for it is a first time we have ever grown anything and it really grow.

    this is our garden. small but it is growing. Corn and squish and tomatoes Now the cukes are growing over the front of the porch and I walked around one day and I was amased to what I found but alot of cukes growing well but we couldnt see them. The last picture.

    this is a plant that grew out of the dirt from last years trying to grow something. Then I looked one day and this was quite the surprise to me and the wife too.

    This is our first ever grown vegi grown from seeds. Now I think we might be hooked on this gardening thing. Now this is whats growing on the other side of the front of the railing. You can see one of the arms of the plant growing back into the garden area.

    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  16. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Looks good Mark congrats on sticking with it looks like its gonna pay off this time
  17. pit 4 brains

    pit 4 brains Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I just went and picked a few ears of sweet corn out of our new garden. I noticed that the husks didn't feel as firm as the ears I get at the store. I started to pull back the husk ever so slightly to see what the ear looked like and I ran into some blackish mess and a darn ol' Corn Earworm wiggling in the husk. GROSS! I'm pretty sure my whole corn crop is shot. I Have no idea what to treat it with to prevent it and I'm sure i wouldn't have the money to buy any chems anyway.. Tomatos are doing great and I'm getting a few cayennes as well.. I'm going out now to illustrate my findings...


    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  18. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well, my Sugar Snap Peas are finished along with my Cukes and Turnips. Onions and Banana Peppers still going strong and tomatoes are lining the counter. Planted one Super Beefsteak plant this year, from seed. Doing really well. Atleast 15 tomatoes on it at last count. The biggest one will be bigger than a standard Hamburger Bun. Lots of Burgers, BLT's and Tomato Pies in my future.

    One of the smaller Beefsteaks

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2010
  19. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    I went to my Dad's house to do some work for him yesterday and while there I took these pictures of his Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and an Egg Plant bush he has growing in self watering containers I built for him last year.

  20. Wow those look healthy,been thinking about doing some of those containers next year myself.

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