Container Gardens

Container Garden Week 8 Update

I can’t believe this is Week 8 with the Container Garden series! I’ll have to admit that sharing with my readers has been a huge motivator for me to get things done. I guess maybe I should be showing more of what other projects I’m working on around the yard, so that I might get those projects done too.

I’ve taught several short classes for our local Master Gardener group on container gardening, frugal gardening and season extenders the past few years, so this series is a perfect way for me to document how it all comes together. And hopefully, encourage those with a minimum amount of time, or who have limited mobility, or maybe have no access to a garden space, that it is still possible to grow a lot of your own food.

We finally had a break in the hot temperatures for one day, but only because we got a lot of rain off and on all day. One and 1/4 inch total that day, another 1/4″ two days later, plus another 1/4″ a couple of days before the big rain day. It was a wonderful relief from the oppressive heat!

Squash, Beans and Cantaloupes

Week 8 Update Greenhouse Area

The electric fence is doing a good job at keeping the raccoons out of the containers by the greenhouse frame. Hubby has caught two in the trap this past week. So far, I haven’t zapped myself. I’m sure you’ll be able to hear me holler, if I do.

I guess I should knock on wood, wondering why they aren’t back digging in the other group of containers, where one got in the cucumbers a few weeks ago.

Week 8 Update Squash Beans

Finally, we have some of our own zucchini to pick. I really like growing the squash and zucchini upright. It doesn’t take up near the room! It also makes it super easy to do a daily leaf check for squash bug eggs. I have already removed several batches of eggs by picking them up with a sticky piece of tape. When I did my first check a couple of weeks ago, the eggs had just hatched and I killed a couple of dozen baby squash bugs. Ewww….but I saved the zucchini. YAY me! So now I do a quick leaf check twice a day.

In case you don’t know….the eggs are reddish color and are in a cluster on the undersides of leaves or stems in the spring. They hatch in a week or so, so you don’t need to check every leaf every single day. FYI: they also attack pumpkin plants.

We’re picking beans!

And apparently the deer are enjoying the tops. Hubby says he’ll put up another strand of electric fence wire nose high to deer. We haven’t had these critter issues before and there are other measures we can and will probably do later, but for the now, it’s the electric fence. Part of the problem is that we haven’t had any containers this close to a wooded area before and we had always had a large dog that roamed the yard.

Week 8 Update Beans

The cantaloupe plants have lots of blossoms. I am so excited! 

The new tomato plants in the white buckets seem to have recovered from being dug up and replanted…not once, but twice!

Sweet Potatoes

Nothing to really report on the sweet potatoes, except the vines are growing and look healthy. (In the photo collage above in the white barrels)

And they are high enough that the rabbits can nibble on the vine ends, without eating the plants clear to the soil level. Yep, definite trust issues here….they’ve done it before.

Hot Peppers

Week 8 Update Pablano and Jalapeno Peppers

Here’s a different view than before. The pablano peppers are loaded! I’ll be able to stash a bunch in the freezer. Happy Dance! Lots of jalapenos on the first plant,  but the other plants haven’t started producing yet. The day it rained so much, we had several big gusts of wind that laid some of the pepper plants over, so I had to strategically place stakes to keep them upright.

Tomatoes and Cucumbers

Week 8 Update Cucumbers & Tomatoes

The tomatoes got off to such a great start. I was clipping the lower leaves to keep them from touching the soil and used mulch to prevent splashing from the soil and STILL got leaf spot.  I need to do some pruning and thinning this week. Luckily, the tomatoes are still good to eat.

The recommended treatment is to spray the plants weekly with an approved bactericide/fungicide, or copper spray. It won’t kill the disease, but will keep it from spreading. For future reference, as a preventative measure, weekly spraying can start immediately when first planting. Be sure to read the labels for how soon you can harvest after spraying. Some are a full week!

Cucumbers are doing extremely well. Too well, actually! Especially since pickle-making wasn’t in my plans this year. The next post will have a few ways that we enjoy cucumbers.

Squash and Cherry Tomatoes

Container Garden Week 8 Update Squash & Cherry Tomatoes

Found more squash bug eggs on these squash and zucchini plants too, and they were removed. The yellow cherry tomato plants just started blooming.

I am going to be so over-loaded with cherry tomatoes!

Bell Peppers

Week 8 Update Container Garden Bell Peppers

Have quite a few bell peppers on the plants. One day they were still too small to pick, and two days later with all of the rain, they are almost the perfect size to harvest. I went ahead and picked them. Hopefully that will encourage them to put on new buds.

Blackberries

Week 8 Update Blackberries

WhooHoo! Blackberries are producing….and they are loaded! Won’t be long until they are big and ripe, almost black in color. Sure glad I have plenty to share with the Japanese Beetles and birds.

I have a post to share soon with LOTS of blackberry recipes.

Ladder #1

Week 8 Update Ladder #1

I added a flower basket at the top for now.

The cherry tomato plant is almost 10″ tall now.

The Black-eyed Susans are budding. And after reading this post from a fellow blogger about this self-seeding perennial, I definitely need to plant more Rudbeckia, and definitely in the ground!

Everything on or around this ladder will get rearranged or moved as the cherry tomato vines grow up the ladder.

The white container on the left is one of our rain catchment containers. We water with rain water as much as possible. They hold about 125 gallons each, and there’s one at all four corners of the house.

Ladder #2

This is one of the areas where I keep mostly shade-loving plants. It’s at the opposite end of the little trailer from the greenhouse frame. It does get some sun early in the day and late afternoon. The weeds are terrible all around here, and the grass grows so fast, that I finally started keeping most of my ornamentals in pots, too. I’m still working on filling in this area.Week 8 Update Ladder #2 Ornamental Plants

I moved a couple of the hanging baskets from the porch to this area for some color. They are doing SO much better! I swear it’s got to be 20° cooler in this shaded area.

I have Cypress Vine (Hummingbird Vine) in a bucket on the ground, plus a tiny Cypress Vine in a pot at the top of the ladder. It’s been slow growing, but there is actually a red flower bloom on the smaller plant. I’ve read that this plant can be invasive in the southern states, but it doesn’t seem to be a problem here.

There are some astilbe plants in pots in the wagon. There’s also several pots of purple basil. Talk about invasive! I’ve already dug up a few dozen baby purple basil plants out of the grass from it going to seed last fall.

Under the tree are pots of hostas, astilbe and purple basil.

This Week’s HarvestWeek 8 Container Garden Harvest

Not too shabby for container gardening! If you want to check out how the container garden has transformed from Week 1, start here.

Grow Your Own Food In Containers

Guess that’s it for this week. Hope you are having an amazing week!

Happy Gardening

Robin

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