Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sweet Million Tomatoes (Container Gardening)

Sweet Million Tomatoes
(Lycopersicon esculentum)
July 16, 2008

If you have been following this blog you will know we moved last year and still do not have the vegetable and herb beds in. They are in progress but we were delayed by the spring weather conditions. We plan on having them ready for fall gardening and to allow the perennial herbs to root well before the cold weather. I'll talk more on that in a later entry.

This year's vegetable crop is being grown in containers. Pictured is one of my Sweet Million (Lycopersicon esculentum) plants with fruit ready for picking. This is a indeterminate cherry tomato plant that matures in 65 days to produce very sweet tomatoes. The fruit grows in clusters and is about 1½ - inch in diameter. It does require staking so the plant can be trellised making this tomato plant ideal for container gardening, small space gardening and square foot gardening. The best location for any tomato plant is in full sun but I've had success with partial shade as seen in my former garden. The best time to harvest tomatoes is when they are in full colour. Tomatoes benefit from epsom salt both around the plant and as a foliar spray (more here).

So many folks have said to me that they don't have room for gardening. My comment is always "get creative". The smallest of spaces can produce a lot of vegetables. Use that balcony space to grow some of your own foods. Container gardening needs to incorporate a few other practices for good production. Make sure your containers are large enough. A five gallon container is ideal and inexpensive. You will need one per plant although some vegetables like lettuces, radishes and carrots can be planted at a higher density. I rely on my square foot gardening knowledge and plant the containers to the same density. Weight can be a problem in some locations. If so, use non-dissoluble packing peanuts instead of gravel for the container drainage layer. First and foremost the containers will likely need to be watered daily and on hot, sunny days maybe more. This does present a problem if you want to go away for a few days. The solution to this is to have someone else water your container garden or to use self watering containers (more on this later). Second each time you water you are leeching some of the nutrients from the soil. Unlike other gardening practices, container gardens have a limited amount of nutrients. For that reason container gardens need to be fertilized. Use a good fertilizer like Osmocote® controlled release fertilizer or a good organic fertilizer. As with all gardens, keep your container garden clean by removing any dead vegetation. Insect control is the same as conventional gardening. If your garden is on a balcony above ground level you will likely eliminate problems like raccoons, squirrels, cats and other such pests depending on your location.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome


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