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Old 04-09-2018, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,340 posts, read 3,140,223 times
Reputation: 1280

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Quote:
Originally Posted by G Grasshopper View Post
I have two Earth boxes, new this season. I have two tomato plants in one and bush beans in the other. I haven't decided if I should buy more. I have no land - only a deck in back (north facing) and a small balcony in front (south facing.) On my balcony, I have lots of herbs: 2 kinds of mint, oregano, lemon grass, hot thai peppers (tiny but mighty) marjoram, and taragon. I also have a fern, several pots of succulents and a hanging spider plant, just to round out the scene. On the back deck, I have a raised planter with chives, parsley, sage, various lettuces and kale. Then I have pots with basil, rosemary, and thyme. I have a potted naval orange tree, two kumquat trees, a fig tree, and just planted in February, a black mulberry and black gooseberry bush/tree.

The north facing deck still does well with planting. In winter, there is virtually no direct sun. But as the sun rises higher in the sky, I start to get a strip of sun across the back of the deck in February. And as the house becomes a less and less effective shade-maker, by April, I have enough sunny area for all my plants to have a full day of sun. Everything except the raised bed is on wheels so that I can move things to the optimum sun as the seasons evolve. That helps, because when we have an occasional freezing night during the winter, I can scoot the tender plants under the overhang of my deck to protect them. So far, no frost damage.

I've been deck gardening for 2 years now, having moved from my home with a real yard. There are frustrations to not having land, but I am trying to develop something that satisfies my need to garden. My sisters and I were born with dirt in our blood.
GG, sounds like a nice "modular" garden you have yourself there! I have so much room to grow in-ground or in raised beds, but I love having the flexibility to move my garden around and take advantage of different light, wind patterns, etc. Unfortunately, because of the amount of grass we have, my garden is somewhat confined to within about 10' of the back of our house where we have river rock between the house and grass. Our lot is about 75' wide, though, so that affords some room to spread. In all honesty, it's probably good I have some boundaries or I might be completely out of control.

I think you will LOVE your Earthboxes. Did you buy trellises to go with? They are expensive, but work well and look kinda cool. I believe I started with 4 or 5 in 2014 and now have 18 (there are some people who have 1,500 or more; I can't even imagine). I have only assembled 12, though. I plan to add two more this season and maybe the remainder next season. I had to take advantage of their winter sale with 25% off and free shipping. They're an investment for sure, so I always wait for the sales. Saves a lot of money. I will say that I found the first year in the Earthboxes to be so-so for tomatoes, but they just get better each year. You do not need to replace the soil for years, so don't empty them out and re-fill them after this season is over. They claim you can re-use the same soil for 8 seasons - I don't know about that, but I will be going into the 5th season with several boxes and all I can say is that my plants definitely grow bigger each season and produce more fruit. It's pretty cool. I do replenish the top 3-4" of soil when I add each season's dolomite, so then I shouldn't have to ever completely empty the boxes out and replace all of the soil. What a pain that would be.
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,340 posts, read 3,140,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by galaxyhi View Post
Gee Nickman,

I feel so...so..inadequate. compared to you.

We bought the house in fall 2015. It had one four quadrant raised bed in the back yard that they had attempted to grow any thing in, judging by the leftover plant markers. Didn't look to successful.

I NEED raided beds as I have a bad back, hip, and if the second opinion agrees, will have my r knee replaced come summer.

The raised beds aren't high enough though, and containers, still would not be high enough. I need the "standing tall " raised beds.

I only plant a smattering of stuff, a few tomatoes ( I call them tomb a toes), a few bell peppers, an eggplant or two, a few cukes, and yellow squash and zucchini. I'm anxious to see if the,asparagus I planted last year does a harvest this year or next?

I have herbs but tgey take care of themselves.

I also have a strawberry bed, grapes, red, black and purple raspberries, gogi berries and a cherry tree and two apple trees. Cherry bush and canteloupe.

Indoors I have a produceable banana plant ( they're not called tree s), an orange tree and I've started pineberry white "strawberries ".

Can you tell I like fruit as much as veggies?

Last year my corn didn't do so hot, so don't know if I'll try that again. Same with my onions, all I got was pearl sized onions instead of big juicy onions.

Since I'm having my knee replaced thus sumner or fall, I may let the garden go fallow. Hate doing that.

Other than gardening as a child for the family ( tomatoes bells peps, yellow and green squash) thus is my first foray into gardening on my own.

Now if I could just get my OH to help....especially since OH lives the produce I do manage to grow and the fruits if my fruit cantaloupe.
Ah well...

galaxy, it sounds like you have some really wonderful perennial fruits in your garden! I am jealous! I have strawberries and raspberries and that's about it. I like them because they require almost no maintenance and there is absolutely NOTHING as delicious as fall raspberries after a light frost concentrates the sugars - O. M. G. They make me speechless.

There are some elevated 4-legged raised beds on the market, waist-high or so, but I have found them to be very expensive. Also, I'm not sure full-size tomato plants would do well in them. If they did, I don't know how you'd manage the height. Would be a lot of work.

I know it's probably a lot of unnecessary soil, but you might see if you could have double-high raised beds built - maybe 24-28" or so? It would be more expensive, but would really help with your back, knees and hips. It would also keep the taller plants more manageable.

Other options might be stair-step plant stands that would allow you to elevate your container garden. Would work well for peppers and eggplants, but probably not for large tomato plants.

Have fun with it and don't do more than you can handle. It'll just stress you out and it won't be fun. Plant a few things that you know you can manage and plan to expand on it next year when you're all patched up.
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:01 PM
 
3,477 posts, read 1,988,641 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NickMan7 View Post
galaxy, it sounds like you have some really wonderful perennial fruits in your garden! I am jealous! I have strawberries and raspberries and that's about it. I like them because they require almost no maintenance and there is absolutely NOTHING as delicious as fall raspberries after a light frost concentrates the sugars - O. M. G. They make me speechless.

There are some elevated 4-legged raised beds on the market, waist-high or so, but I have found them to be very expensive. Also, I'm not sure full-size tomato plants would do well in them. If they did, I don't know how you'd manage the height. Would be a lot of work.

I know it's probably a lot of unnecessary soil, but you might see if you could have double-high raised beds built - maybe 24-28" or so? It would be more expensive, but would really help with your back, knees and hips. It would also keep the taller plants more manageable.

Other options might be stair-step plant stands that would allow you to elevate your container garden. Would work well for peppers and eggplants, but probably not for large tomato plants.

Have fun with it and don't do more than you can handle. It'll just stress you out and it won't be fun. Plant a few things that you know you can manage and plan to expand on it next year when you're all patched up.
Yes, I now have 7 raised beds, a tiered system for the herbs, And two trellis planters ( raspberries there).
The grapes are potted in large pots and eventually will be trained over a pergola we plan to build. If I can keep the Japanese beatles from eating them!!

Since my strawberries didn't fare to well I'm going to try a raised bed idea I saw on Pinterest for them, you take deck stair stringers, build a rack for tgem, and cover each "stair tread" with an oblong planter box.

Well see, often my eyes are bigger than my budget and stomach when I get to planting time!

The tomatoes would stay planted in the10" raised bed as would some others, but the 2-3' high raised bed planters are tempting...i could probably build cheaper than to buy.

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Old 04-17-2018, 12:33 PM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,340 posts, read 3,140,223 times
Reputation: 1280
Default Update - Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Time for another update! I know these updates are relatively inconsistent, but I have to squeeze them in when I can! Hopefully, things will slow down a little this summer and I can stick to a once-a-week schedule.

The weather since the last update has been relatively mild overall with several highs around 80F and lows mostly above about 25F. We have had a ton of very windy weather (some gusts near 70mph), but it's been sunny and warm for the most part. Today is super windy and around 70F, 60s for most of the week, then 50s Friday/Saturday with good chances for decent precipitation - something we haven't had all winter. They're toggling back and forth between rain and snow, but this morning they're calling for mostly rain below about 6,000' (which includes the majority of the Denver/Boulder areas). Dry and warmer Sunday and beyond. We should stay above freezing through most of the outlook period. I'll be fertilizing the yards before Friday's rains.

Tomatoes and eggplants were started from seed this past Saturday (04/14/18). My hope is that the tomato seedlings will be about 6" shorter than the past few seasons since I started them about a week later than last season and several weeks earlier than the two seasons prior to that. Everything else is moving right along.

I have modified my original seed list slightly from 40 different varieties down to 32 (and you have NO idea how difficult that was for me! ) - though I hope to have around 45 total plants in the garden because I will have multiples of several varieties. I have laid out my final grow list below. Varieties with asterisks (*) are new to me this season. I am growing several repeats either because I absolutely love them or because I want to give them another shot. My master plan is to grow all of my varieties at least two seasons, preferably 3, before concluding whether each variety a long-term keeper or one I don't want to grow again. I have left notes next to the repeats detailing why I am growing again.

1. 1884 - Very large pink beefsteaks with meaty flesh and little juice. Very few if any blemishes. Extraordinary productivity given average fruit size.
2. Aker's West Virginia - Was a very late producer, but once it got going, it produced huge, gorgeous red beefsteaks and tons of them. I was very impressed and want to try it again this season.
3. Amana Orange *
4. Amos Coli *
5. Aussie - Beautiful fluted, flattened beefsteaks that are dark pink to brilliant red. Absolutely delicious. One issue I had was that many fruit had large cores, so not always the best for perfect slices.
6. Barnes Mountain *
7. Big Beef - Produces consistently large crops. Not my favorite tomato for fresh eating, but is a notoriously reliable heavy producer, especially given the size of fruit.
8. Big Zac *
9. Bush Early Girl - Perfect size for medium-sized containers. Produces loads of 5-8oz fruit that are great for sandwiches and salads. Has been a reliable producer for me since 2015. I hope to squeeze 4 into the garden.
10. Celebrity *
11. Cosmonaut Volkov - I grew this one in a 5-gallon bucket in 2015 and it produced the most gorgeous huge beefsteaks on an 8' tall plant. I've been dying to grow again, so here we go.
12. Cream Sausage - Awesome little yellow/cream colored tomatoes that have a mildly sweet flavor and makes a beautiful and interesting sauce. My partner's favorite. I plan to have 2 in the garden.
13. Dester *
14. Dr. Wyche's Yellow - So far my favorite yellow/orange variety. Incredible sweet flavor. Consistently produces large fruits and plenty of them. If I have issues with other tomatoes, I might throw a second one in the garden.
15. Dutka's Pink *
16. Earl's Faux *
17. Giant Belgium *
18. Golden Girl *
19. Grandpa's White Wax *
20. Green Moldovan - Very sweet, very juicy, very productive. Not a good keeper - should be eaten quickly after harvest. Makes an interesting and delicious sauce.
21. Harless Creek *
22. Hillbilly *
23. Kosovo *
24. Krasnodar Titans - Amazing shelf life - often stays firm and fresh for a week or longer. Very meaty with almost no juice, few seeds. A great variety for pico or salads. I hope to have 3-4 this season.
25. Manyel *
26. Mr. Underwood's Germant Giant *
27. Nicholajevna Pink *
28. Orange Banana *
29. Paragon - Similar to Early Girl. Gorgeous, perfect red 5-6oz tomatoes with few if any blemishes. A good sandwich tomato.
30. Stump of the World - My favorite pink beefsteak of all time (plus it's kind of a great name). Produces large crops of medium-large meaty tomatoes. A must grow.
31. White Tomesol *
32. Yaqui - Similar to Krasnodar as far as long keeping. These are large and meaty Roma-style tomatoes that are very thick-skinned and perfect for applications where you want less juicy tomatoes. It is the only variety in my garden the past two years that got BER which is why I am planning to grow 4.

All of my outdoor-sown seedlings are doing very well. The Extra Dwarf Pak Choy is ready to harvest, so I see delicious stirfry in my near future. Lettuces, peas, kale, cabbage, variety of Asian greens, radishes, Swiss chard and celery are all doing very well under the cloches. I will begin transplanting into larger containers in the next two weeks.

Pictures below include the indoor seedlings and outdoor seedlings. The scraggly looking bush thing is one of the raspberry plants which is leafing out nicely. The other in-ground area is my strawberry patch which should fill in very quickly in the coming weeks now that I have fertilized and watered them in well.

Hope everyone else is enjoying their spring gardens! It's still early and there's tons to do! Cheers!
Attached Thumbnails
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My 2018 Container Garden-img_0186.jpg   My 2018 Container Garden-img_0187.jpg   My 2018 Container Garden-img_0188.jpg  
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,335 posts, read 79,508,905 times
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barely getting ours started, but think the weather will cooperate from here on out. I did plant a few herbs yesterday in my new raised containers. The rest of the week is very busy so it looks like my major planting will start this Saturday. Of course everything I started inside and moved out last week froze to death.
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Old 04-18-2018, 03:10 PM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,340 posts, read 3,140,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita View Post
barely getting ours started, but think the weather will cooperate from here on out. I did plant a few herbs yesterday in my new raised containers. The rest of the week is very busy so it looks like my major planting will start this Saturday. Of course everything I started inside and moved out last week froze to death.
I am jealous you are this far ahead of me, but I also know it's unusual for you guys to get a late freeze like that, nita! I am sorry you have to start over, but hopefully there is still time to have beautiful veggies before the heat of summer really sets in!
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Old 04-18-2018, 04:24 PM
 
Location: South Carolina
13,120 posts, read 17,658,319 times
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I guess you don't want to hear that some of my squash plants are setting squash already yep I have 8 squash plants all yellow straight neck . I will have enough to share with neighbors . all my tomatoes are in the ground too . I'm good and happy with those . it got up to 80 degrees today and that is good growing weather .
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Near the Coast SWCT
65,028 posts, read 47,349,860 times
Reputation: 10527
Quote:
Originally Posted by NickMan7 View Post
Time for another update! I know these updates are relatively inconsistent, but I have to squeeze them in when I can! Hopefully, things will slow down a little this summer and I can stick to a once-a-week schedule.

The weather since the last update has been relatively mild overall with several highs around 80F and lows mostly above about 25F. We have had a ton of very windy weather (some gusts near 70mph), but it's been sunny and warm for the most part. Today is super windy and around 70F, 60s for most of the week, then 50s Friday/Saturday with good chances for decent precipitation - something we haven't had all winter. They're toggling back and forth between rain and snow, but this morning they're calling for mostly rain below about 6,000' (which includes the majority of the Denver/Boulder areas). Dry and warmer Sunday and beyond. We should stay above freezing through most of the outlook period. I'll be fertilizing the yards before Friday's rains.
Love the weather update! How much precip have you had in past 4 weeks?


and wow you got tomatoes already??? You have a gift! I never get fruit to set inside. How can they within 6 weeks of starting the seeds? What are you feeding those things. lol
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Old 04-19-2018, 05:48 AM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
69,335 posts, read 79,508,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
I guess you don't want to hear that some of my squash plants are setting squash already yep I have 8 squash plants all yellow straight neck . I will have enough to share with neighbors . all my tomatoes are in the ground too . I'm good and happy with those . it got up to 80 degrees today and that is good growing weather .
80 degrees? We haven't seen 80 since last Sept I don't think. I am not a lover of heat and humidity but will welcome it this year. Hopefully we will get rain in early May as we will be on a cruise and I don't want the babies to dry out just as they are getting started. I don't think I did such a good job at planning this year.
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Old 04-19-2018, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,340 posts, read 3,140,223 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phonelady61 View Post
I guess you don't want to hear that some of my squash plants are setting squash already yep I have 8 squash plants all yellow straight neck . I will have enough to share with neighbors . all my tomatoes are in the ground too . I'm good and happy with those . it got up to 80 degrees today and that is good growing weather .
Wow, that is amazing, phone. I won't even be starting squash until the first week in May. I usually harvest my first one in mid-July or so depending on how warm the soil is when I direct sow. Once they get going, though, it's tough to stop 'em!
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