Vegetables and Container Gardens

So as promised I am back to talk about veggies and my experience with planting a container garden. Looking back, I think it is a good thing that I jumped right into this project with blinders on. I guess that’s pretty much how I approach every project! My friend had a thriving container garden and was a wealth of information.

There is a lot of information out there, and it can be very overwhelming!

I built my garden last year and this year was my second year of planting. I’ll go through my personal experience with each vegetable and then offer some tips I have learned along the way. If you are looking for “professional gardening tips,” this is not the place. If you are looking for “real life rookie gardener do’s and don’ts,” THIS IS THE PLACE! :-)

Garden Container

So like I said before, last year I planted corn, tomatoes (4 varieties including big beef, early girl, cherry tomato, and heirloom), tri color zucchini, peas, basil, habanero pepper, bell pepper, carrots, onion and green onion.

Here is the run down of how things went:

1. Tomatoes: tomatoes are easy to grow. I started all mine from 3 inch plants bought at the local garden store. The only thing I can say about tomatoes is they are delicious and so worth it!! Give them lots of water, lots of sun, and get them off the vine before rats or birds get them.  Here is a more detailed list of tips.

2. Corn: I planted corn from seeds, and it was doing fabulously!! It gets tall…think 7 or 8 feet tall!! Mine got to about 6 feet tall, the cobs were about 6-7 inches in length and one single heat wave and it fried. Fried, dead, fried. I didn’t get to harvest any corn, but I am convinced it’s doable. A lot of what I read on container gardening said corn was difficult. I will try again and likely start my seeds indoors so the plants are bigger sooner and maybe harvest my crop before the weather gets too hot. Another idea would be to move them from full sun when temperatures get too high. Remember to plant them tightly so they can fertilize each other. (Is that the technical term??). Here are some other thoughts on corn in container gardens.

3. Zucchini: When it comes to zucchini…it doesn’t get much easier than this. It’s a hearty, easy to grow vegetable. Easy to eat too :-). The plants get big, so one plant per 18 gallon container is idea. But this year I used seeds from last year, wasn’t sure if they would take and planted 4 in one container and they are doing great. I am getting more zucchini than I know what to do with :-).

Container Vegetable Garden
Container Vegetable Garden

Garden Zuccini

4. Peas: Last year I did peas that were meant to grow up a trellis. I had many plants, but something would come into my garden every night and dig up the peas and eat them. Not sure what it was. I was anxious to try again this year. This year I chose a sugar pea that grows on a bush type plant (no trellis needed). They did great, we ate them faster than the plant could produce them. So sweet, yum!! Nothing better than garden peas. My tips here would be…peas like cooler weather. Maybe better for a winter garden? I’ll be trying them again in the fall. When the heat came, this plant was not happy. I think we are done for the year. Here is another take on peas. Peas might actually do better if you start them indoors as well.

Garden Peas

5. Carrots: I get the feeling carrots are pretty easy to grow in containers. Mine were easy to grow, I just scattered seeds heavily. Thinned them out as they got bigger. Only problem, they tasted super bitter. I am not sure if it was the type of carrot I chose? Unfortunately I don’t remember what type of carrot I chose. Anyhow…if you have tips about what types of carrots taste better than others, let me know. More tips on growing carrots in containers.

Here is another list of veggies and tips on how to grow them.

6. Peppers:Growing peppers is easy to do in containers. You can plant about 2-3 pepper plants in an 18 gallon container. If you plant peppers in their own containers, say a 5 gallon bucket, you can bring them indoors in the winter…giving them daily sun outside when its warmer and they will grow and produce year round. I planted my peppers again from seeds. I think they may have done better if I started them indoors. I have to say though, these were low maintenance and I got a good yield. My goal is to make and can my own salsa from veggies all grown in my garden. :-)

7. Onions:  What I know about onions…they take a long time to grow. A long time. Like 180+ days. That being said, I think the other challenge with onions is knowing when to harvest without digging up your crop “seeing if they are ready yet.” Mine didn’t do well…I am thinking I over fertilized. Definitely want to try again. I eat onions every day. Would love to have my own. Here are some tips to get started…if you can teach me anything, please let me know how you do it.

8. Herbs:Last year I grew basil in my garden. I loved having basil at my fingertips and loved cooking with it all summer. This year I expanded my horizons when I found the idea for a Pallet Herb Garden online. I have to tell you my garden is thriving!! It’s doing so well despite the traumatic planting experience these little plants endured. I have more herbs than I know what to do with. Going to look into drying them out. Come over anytime to gather some herbs of your own. Seriously I could supply the entire neighborhood :-). This pic is when they were just getting started.

Finished Pallet Herb Garden

Here is a more recent photo on instagram

Here is a great forum where others who grow vegetables in containers share tips.

So, what do you think? Do you grow any of your own veggies? Anything in containers? If you can offer up any tips, please do so in the comment section. I am always open to learning more and hearing what other people do. What things others have found that work or don’t work. Thanks for sharing and thanks again for stopping by :-)

Linked to: Natasha in Oz, Mums Make Lists

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Pallet Herb Garden

Hello again!

Today I am sharing my version of an Herb Garden, hand-made from a shipping pallet. I love the idea of reusing something that would otherwise be garbage and making it into something usable and beautiful. Life on the Balcony has a great tutorial on how to construct your own Pallet Garden, and I am going to share my own trials and tribulations here (don’t worry, it has a happy ending!!). This is a great project, even for those with limited space.

I started with the prettiest pallet I could find. I actually got mine free by looking on Craigslist.

Sanding Pallet

I sanded the pallet–it’s good to wear gloves here, lot’s of splinters!!

Sanded Pallet

I primed the pallet with Kilz oil based primer

Helper 2

The best part about this step was my handsome helping hand :-)

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I wrapped the pallet in two layers of landscape fabric

Wrap landscape fabric

Here is my first “I wish I would have known that” moment!

Reinforcing the pallet with additional boards after it was wrapped would have made my life sooo much easier. This was almost the undoing of me the project! Luckily I had another pallet I had deconstructed earlier. I reinforced with extra boards out of necessity AFTER it was filled with dirt and weighed 1000 pounds. I think I would have also added an additional double layer of fabric for a total of 4 layers if I had to do it all over again.

I reinforced the sides with precut fence boards that were about $1 each at Lowes. Use heavy duty nails to reinforce the boards you add to the pallet.

Fence Posts

I painted the pallet a cool, light green color. I used Valspar The Perfect Finish (Paint+Primer in One). I wanted a paint that will withstand the outdoor elements over time. This is spray paint!!

Paint1

Ah, so pretty and clean–but it’s not gonna stay that way :-)

Green paint pallet

I wrote the names of the herbs on the pallet for a nice decorative touch. These are the two font’s I narrowed it down to…of course I had to go with “Sunshine in my Soul.” It’s like OPI nail polish, partly about the color and mostly about the name!

Font

I laid the plants out around the pallet to determine their position by the look of the plants themselves. I then taped the names to the pallet and wrote them free hand with a sharpie marker.

Layout Font

I then drew over that writing with a paintbrush using black, outdoor, oil based paint (the smaller the paintbrush the better).  I can’t say it enough, I love things that don’t require perfection. I wanted this to look like handwriting.

Fresh Font 3

And here is the finished pallet before it was planted.

I used waaay more dirt than the original plans called for. In fact, almost double. I bought two large bags of potting soil, had to return to the store for a third (well, my hubby did anyway) and then had to go back for a fourth!! Another “I wish I would have known that” moment!

Finished Pallet Herb Garden

And here is my finished herb garden. I LOVE IT!! I love that I have fresh herbs for cooking at my fingertips! I love the pop of color that my garden so desperately needed! I love the smell of fresh herbs!

Final Pallet Herb Garden 2

It’s nestled between two rose bushes with pink blooms–definitely the perfect spot.

It was so worth the blood, sweat and tears…but I do have to say, this could have been easier. And for you it can definitely be an easy DIY project. I would love to hear your thoughts about my garden and would love for you to share your own herb gardens with me.

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This post was linked to One More Time Events, Thrifty Décor Chick, House on the Way, Natasha In Oz, Mums Make Lists, and Cheerios and Lattes

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