Monday, July 5, 2010

The Driveway Garden, Year 2

This is my second year of growing tomatoes and other vegetables in pots. So far, this is looking like a banner year. Last year's results were not all that impressive, though the attempt to grow cantaloupe and watermelon in large pots was fun and seemed promising at first.

This year, I've limited myself to the more traditional tomatoes and peppers, along with an okra and plans for a cucumber. The tomatoes look healthier and more productive than last year, and there are probably several reasons why. 

First, I started out with better transplants. Last year the plants I started from seed were pretty lanky by the time they got into the big pots. I let them sit outside in part shade, hardening off in small pots, while I got around to buying the large pots and preparing the soil mix. This year's plants got out sooner, and had sturdier stems to start with.

Second, I've been better about removing the suckers - the new leaves that start to grow between the main stem and a branch. Suckers left to grow turn into stems, which means more energy diverted from the growing plant. I try to get them when they are tiny, so as not to damage the plant. Last year I did some more vigorous pruning of larger stems, which my plants may not have appreciated.

Third, I mixed some fertilizer in with my soil mix, which was a blend of potting soil and compost. I'm not always so great about making sure my vegetable crops get some fertilizer.

Finally, I've been careful about giving them a good watering every day. It's been essential, as we've had many days with temps in the 90s.

All my plants have healthy looking tomatoes, though none have ripened yet. I'm growing mostly heirlooms: Cherokee Purple, Brandwine, Yellow Pear Cherry, Brown Berry, Amish Paste, Costaluto Genovese. I'm also growing a couple of hybrids: Micro Tom (a truly tiny plant with tiny tomatoes), and another patio variety called Container Choice Hybrid. Peppers are Poblano, Mohawk (supposed to be an orange bell pepper), Rainbow (also bell), and Salsa Mix (we'll see what that is.)

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed with how healthy everything looks. Sounds like you learned (and more importantly implemented) some valuable lessons from last year. Let me know how the peppers turn out. P.S. This is Lori. I totally forgot that I have a blogger profile. Maybe you'll inspire me.