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September 2, 2009

Garden Update

My container garden did pretty well this year, but there are a few things I'll do differently next year:
- more containers
- fill them higher (the soil washed out or settled)
- remember to stake the tomato plants!
- plant more variety
I only planted tomatoes and peppers, plus parsley in a tub; I've had a windowsill herb garden for a few years. The tomatoes did well; the peppers were disappointing. I only harvested six seven peppers from 5 plants. The markers on the tomato plants were lost, so I don't know what varieties they were other than "bigger ones", "cherry" and "grape" sizes. The grape tomatoes produced the most, which isn't surprising.

I haven't had enough tomatoes to can, but we've had enough to put on sandwiches and I've sliced one up to go with dinner nearly every night (most of my family isn't as crazy about tomatoes as I am, so one was enough). I've also dehydrated some roasted tomatoes, and tomato skins that I ground into powder to be added to soups or other dishes for extra flavor.

I filled the garden containers with a combination of compost and potting soil, or in some cases with straight compost when I ran out of potting soil. My compost is just goat bedding/hay/manure, aged in a huge pile until it's "black dirt". Next year I might not spend the money on potting soil and plant them all in straight compost.

I will also keep a bucket full of compost/soil near the pots so I can refill them when the soil level gets low. The soil is either washing out at the bottom (I line the bottom with coffee filters to keep the soil from being washed out, but evidently it is doing so anyway), or it has settled. They need to be "topped off".

Watering the containers was certainly easier and I think it took less water too. I just filled the containers. They drained quickly because of the good soil/compost.

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