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Topic: My patio vegetable garden + a few solutions for small spaces  (Read 1845 times)
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cinnamon teal
« on: May 31, 2010 05:48:59 PM »



pinokeeo's fantastic garden inspired me to share my own little garden with you all. It's really small but I think there are probably a few apartment/condo dwellers out there facing some of the same gardening challenges. I hope this gives you some inspiration for your own garden. Smiley



In pots, from left to right, I have sage, a cantaloupe I planted yesterday (as sort of an experiment), my dwarf tangerine tree and a rosemary plant. The rosemary it looking a little down in the dumps. It prefers cooler weather.



In this picture you can see my upside down tomatoes. This year we have one sun gold and one celebrity. The short green box is a worm box.



There are a couple things I really like about upside down tomatoes. They take up less space on the ground which is awesome, particularly if you have a really small patio or balcony. They also don't really get creepy crawly pests. And they don't get shaded by the fence which for my patio is a very big deal. If you're interested in how we did these, let me know and I can write more about them.



The worm box. I love this thing. I got the box a couple years ago for Christmas, but I know some people make their own. The starter worms came from a nice woman on freecycle. Basically, a worm box is like a mini compost box. You put in chopped up fruit and veggie scraps with some shredded paper and the worms turn it into garden magic in the form of castings and worm tea. The castings get dug into the soil and the "tea" (icky runoff water) gets added to the watering can and sprinkled on the plants. Again, if you want to know more about it, just let me know.



Along the fence, I have a strip of dirt about 18 inches wide. This side gets pretty much no sun and I haven't yet been able to find anything that will grow well. So we're experimenting! Cheesy There's some corn up against the fence... I'm hoping that it will grow tall enough to reach the sun. I'll let you know how it goes. In front of it are a couple little lemon balm plants. They're one of the few herbs that tolerate the shade. They smell awesome and I have high hopes for these little guys.



This fence is the sunniest spot of the whole patio. Well, this is half of the fence. The other half is in the next photo. Smiley Here I have a couple cucumber plants against the fence with some string fashioned into a make shift trellis. I did the same thing last spring with peas and it worked great! Vine type plants take full advantage of the sun on the vertical fence. In front of the cucumbers are a couple pepper plants. Yum, jalapenos!



The other half of the sunny fence. Here I have some pole beans planted against the fence and an italian parsley plant right in front of that. In this photo you can also see some of our drip system. I'm not going to lie, it was the most expensive part of our garden at around $100. But it was totally worth it. It has a timer, so we don't have to pay anyone to water when we're out of town and it's awesome not to have to hand water everyday. My hubby put it in himself and says it wasn't terribly difficult. He did our whole patio in a single afternoon and it waters everything, even the hanging tomatoes.

So there's my garden. A lot of the plants we've just put in the ground yesterday, so I'll let you know as the summer goes on how they do. If you have any comments, questions or handy tips, I would absolutely love to hear them. Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2010 06:05:17 PM »

I'M INTERESTED!!! I currently have a patio, upstairs, that gets TONS of sun but haven't had a lot of luck. I had a tomato plant in a pot at one point that got these weird little green wormy things in the leaves so I sent it to my sisters house thinking maybe it needed to be planted in the ground, after the wormy things were removed. However shortly after the move the plant died completely and I have been nervous about starting another one. I would be really curious to find out if the upside down tomotoes would do better... I hate to admit it but I am basically clueless about most plants but would LOVE to get a mini garden started. I also live in So. CA so weather should not be too much of a factor. Just that I have no access to dirt in my immediate area. This is so inspiring!!!
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pinokeeo
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« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2010 07:04:17 PM »

Your little garden is awesome.  You've done well.
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cinnamon teal
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2010 08:05:28 PM »

Your little garden is awesome.  You've done well.

Thanks! That's very sweet of you. Smiley
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cinnamon teal
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2010 08:24:50 PM »

I'M INTERESTED!!! I currently have a patio, upstairs, that gets TONS of sun but haven't had a lot of luck. I had a tomato plant in a pot at one point that got these weird little green wormy things in the leaves so I sent it to my sisters house thinking maybe it needed to be planted in the ground, after the wormy things were removed. However shortly after the move the plant died completely and I have been nervous about starting another one. I would be really curious to find out if the upside down tomotoes would do better... I hate to admit it but I am basically clueless about most plants but would LOVE to get a mini garden started. I also live in So. CA so weather should not be too much of a factor. Just that I have no access to dirt in my immediate area. This is so inspiring!!!

I'm so glad you're inspired by my tomatoes! If you google "upside down tomatoes" or "hanging tomatoes" you'll find a ton of information and tutorials. But here's how we did ours... We used regular old 5 gallon buckets from the hardware store. Then we cut a hole in the bottom about 3 inches in diameter. This hole needs to be big enough to fit the seedling through. Then you need a piece of card board larger than the hole. The cardboard will keep the plant and soil and stuff from falling out the hole. Cut a small hole in the cardboard with a slit from the hole to the edge. You then carefully thread your seedling stem through the slit into the hole in the cardboard. Next, you turn the seedling upside down and gently maneuver the plant through the hole in the bucket. Now your roots are inside the bucket and the stems and leaves are hanging out the bottom. Fill up the bucket with soil. Then hang it up. We use a carabiner to attach the bucket handle to some rope tied to a beam. You can also use this same technique for beans and other plants.

About your little green pests... they sound like some sort of caterpillar, so I'm not sure hanging your tomatoes will keep them away. You should be able to pick them off and maybe spray the plant with a homemade insecticide, though. I've heard that a combination of hot pepper, dish soap and some other stuff will help keep the bugs at bay.
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Ludi
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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2010 08:56:37 AM »

Happy to see another worm-raiser!  Earthworms are my favorite "livestock" - quiet and mostly trouble-free.   Smiley
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