Got the tomatoes upright and secure last night; not sure if the bamboo will hold, so I may need to address this later on. It was pretty simple in the end—and the plants are happy to be upright!
We picked up supplies from home depot that were needed to build the s.i.p. planters. I had done a trial run with one a couple of weeks ago and have been happy with the results so invested in 5 more.
I drilled the bottom of them all and added the fill pipe. We are using a 50/50 mix of coconut coir and black earth. In the future, I think I may even go 75% on the coir, as it still seems a little dense.
The next step is to get the pails around the edge of the deck and train the vines!
every year, there is much thought put into how to support the tomato plants. the last few of years, i have been building six-foot bamboo pyramids that eventually get out of control and are a nightmare to take a part at the end of the growing season.
our plan for the rooftop deck this year is to grow tomatoes and beans in self-irrigating planters (s.i.p). this not only gives us the opportunity to grow more food for canning but will hopefully create two green railings or “green walls,” for privacy on the upper deck.
we have plans for ten planters (one tomato plant and three beans per pot) sitting on the outside of the deck railing. the s.i.p. planters are made from two 5 gallon buckets, set into each other. the top pail has a 6″ container with holes drilled into it and a cut into the center. holes are also drilled into the bottom of the bucket, and i inserted a water-feed abs pipe. the hope is the roots will be forced to grow deeper, to get moister and avoid root rot.
we planted beets last year but found they did not do so well—i think it was a combination of soil that was too hard and not soaking the seeds for a day or two before planting. the prep is easy to do and has made a huge difference in our beet sprouts this year. my method: place the seeds on a paper towel soaked with water and place it inside some saran wrap; roll it up and let sit for a day or two.
yesterday, during what is becoming our mother’s day tradition, we planted a bunch of our seedlings and flowers from seed. it was nice to take all of the things we have nurtured from seed in the house and put them into their new homes, in the ground. i am glad we have the jump on the season (and if for some reason the seedlings are not strong enough to survive, we can recover with new seedlings from urban harvest.)
we planted tomatoes (pink brandywine, black cherry, roma, olpaka and black plum), cucumbers, basil, rosemary, wonder peppers, chinese hot peppers, carrots, radishes, broccoli and beans. bry planted flowers on the south side of the yard along with various planters around the house.
the watering system is still a work in progress. i’m having trouble getting a good seal on the spout installed on the bottom and have learned a lesson about plastic and metal parts not being the best combination in this case. so, we are still filling up a watering can and letting it de-gas every day for water.
2011 was a big year. it was the year i decided i was going to move on from growing things at ground level in whatever soil was available in the backyard, to building raised boxes and buying worm compost to fill them. unfortunately, our landlord had different plans, and so my projects got sidelined as our house was renovated…alas, all seeds planted for greater things!
we were able to build our basic infrastructure and get things in place for the following year—and there was plenty of experimentation with what grows best where and for how long. admittedly, one of my strengths (and weaknesses) is my desire to figure things out on my own and learn from my successes (and/or my failures)….asking for help is a challenge.
2011 was also the year bry and i decided we should co-habitate and share responsibility for many of the things i had always done on my own (something i also have a hard time with!) but we persevered. this year things are in great shape and there is more time for modifications and additions, in a nutshell, in 2011 we did the following:
- built 4 raised boxes with growing areas in between
- invested in high quality soil to grow in
- tried our hand at growing potatoes
- learned more about plant placement and relationships
- learned about growing from seed
- learned about compost
we had some success and some great veggies but 2012 is going to be amazing!
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this about about growing food. it’s about wanting the world we live in to be a better place and living as sustainably as possible. sustainable isn’t a buzz word or a fashionable thing to do; it is a choice to … Continue reading