Thursday, July 31, 2008

What have you learned this year, so far?

Been sharing the parsley flowers with some little visitors. When they get big, we will put them in a bug box to watch them make a chrysalis and then emerge from it.

Anyway, I wrote this in response to a question on a container gardening list.

1. WATER: Invest in soaker hoses and water barrels. Manual watering is uneven and hard to gauge. Most things in containers need a self-watering feature, no matter how faithfully one plans to water.

2. FISH BOXES: Get more fish boxes - works great for greens. Focus on what we already eat: romaine, spinach, bok choy, and kale. No exotic lettuce.

3. FERTILIZER: Compost is not enough. Everything got bigger after the fish emulsion. Explore other organic fertilizers. Find a source for mushroom dirt or compost at the start of the season - small city yards cannot produce enough compost.

4. SOWING: Winter-sowing in milk jugs is good for annuals and herbs, not so much for veggies. Mid-March start for onions, lettuce, spinach, peas was good. Transplanting peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes too early is dumb. Build cold frame this fall.

5. YIELD: Herbs, celery, onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, beets, and peppers suit us best, so far. Tomatoes, zucchini and cukes are hard to protect from bugs, and local organic can be bought easily and inexpensively. Plant lots more beans and peas. Replace some ornamentals with more medicinals.

6. NEIGHBORHOOD: Expand program of helping kids plant tomatoes in containers. Ask more neighbors if we can "farm" their unused front yard planters.


Tara said...

Fishboxes? Please explain...

Matriarchy said...

Fish boxes are big styrofoam boxes in which iced fish are shipped to stores, like coolers. Fish markets often throw them away, so you can ask if you can have them for free. I punch holes in the bottom for drainage, then fill them with soil and plant lettuce and spinach in them. I keep them raised up on stacked milk crates, to keep critters from eating or urinating on my lettuce. There is a photo in this post:

Tara said...

Ah ha! Thanks!