Saturday, June 5, 2010

Vegetables Planted in Containers Around the Garden

Last week I blogged about the plants in the Square Foot Gardens and the Traditional Garden. This installment covers the vegetables planted in DIY Self Watering Containers (SWCs) and large pots.

First, I want to send out a HUGE “Thank You!” to Jeff of Our Engineered Garden. I had some issues with the SWCs that I built last year that involved excess moisture. Jeff has given me great feedback in regards to what went wrong and some good advice on how to modify and fix these problems.

In addition, I constructed six new SWCs this year mostly following Jeff’s instructions here. Jeff, also an Alabama Master Gardener, has tested his DIY SWCs and has even developed a soon to be published “how to” guide for building them for his local extension office in Alabama. We are very lucky to have such a resource in our little garden blog community, thank you Jeff!

The best advice I can give you if you are interested in building DIY SWCs is to learn all you can from tested methods. Don’t just source out random plans from the internet or forums unless they can prove results. Even then, results may vary depending on different growing conditions in your area. So proceed with caution and try one or two at first and see how they do.

A plethora of information can also be gained from the EarthBox website and forums. I obtained a lot of knowledge here from recommended soil mix, to fertilizer, to plant spacing. If we are going to copy a commercial design, it's probably best to study one of the sources and learn how it works first.

I am still learning about SWCs and I want to see how these produce this year before I give more information on building your own. However, between Jeff’s advice and tutorials and gaining additional knowledge from the EarthBox website, I am confident that this year will be an improvement over last year.

There is a total of 9 SWCs in the garden spot. The first 2 below are Tall Utah Celery. Celery likes a lot of water, so I hope this growing method works well for them:

Below are the 4 SWCs with 2 Roma Tomatoes each:

2 SWCs with 2 Bush Boy Tomatoes each:

Broccoli SWC under a row cover as I am trying to avoid the yucky infestation of green cabbage worms. So far, so good. These photos were taken a while ago, they have doubled in size since then, but have not formed heads yet:

There are also a few other containers around the garden spot. The two below have one Roma Tomato each and one Basil:

Not shown is Zucchini that was also seeded in a container this year. No pictures yet since the seeds have just been planted. I have never grown Zucchini in containers, so I am curious to see how these will do.

A rainy weekend is expected here in Maine. I am glad to be finished with all the major garden projects and now I can watch the garden grow, weed, and water as necessary until the harvests begin. I hope you enjoy time in your gardens this weekend.


  1. Wow! Things are looking good. EG's a wonder, isn't he. Think of the poundage he could rack up if we added the pounds he helped us grow to his total weight!

  2. Good luck with the containers. I'm certainly using more of them this year, too. It's nice to be able to pick a spot and plop down a container of something when there's no more room in the garden.

  3. Aw shucks, it was nothing. That's what friends are for....I'm glad your stuff is doing well in them this year, and can't wait to see the end result.

  4. I have not ventured into the SWC (yet) but follow EG's blog with great interest. These seem like a really great way to grow celery and other crops that demand constant and steady hydration.

  5. Definitely no need to water this weekend! With the rain, all kinds of plants in my garden have burst into bloom, and my daylilies are making flower scapes like crazy. As long as this doesn't turn into a June like last year, I'm happy. -Jean

  6. I really need to join the SWC bandwagon one of these days. Maybe this will be a project I can tackle with next year. I'll be very interested to see how yours do this year.

  7. Ribbit: Yes, EG is a wonder. We are so lucky he shares his knowledge with us.

    AG: I planned the SWCs, but the other containers were for things that just didn’t fit in the garden. I still have one little tomato plant that may need to find a home in a container.

    EG: I really appreciate all your help.

    KitsapFG: I will admit, I hate building them. I wish I had EG near me so I could buy them from him. I think the celery is going to do really well in them. We will see about the tomatoes.

    Jean: It was quite a lot of rain, wasn’t it? Pretty scary at times with the thunderstorms and tornado watches. Now the sun is out and our gardens will explode with growth.

    Thomas: It’s fun to experiment. I learned a lot from the few I used last year. I hope they perform better this time around.

  8. I keep thinking about containers too, but even a self watering container here in the summer needs to be watered more than once a week. I can't promise to be there for the poor plants so I'm trying to stay away. Of course this last week we have had water every day. Once day we had a microburst. It took trees down in the neighborhood. My road was fine, but the two other close ones to me were totally blocked.