Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Getting ready for gardening

I went to Walmart yesterday and priced containers for my project this year. I also decided instead to focus on a few vegetables rather than tackle so many as I'd planned before.

I'm going to plant beets, cukes, green beans, and tomatoes- both regular sized and cherry. With the beets, I'm hoping for enough crop to can a few batches, since we love pickled beets so much, but I've found a couple store brands that taste pretty good. So, if I don't get much out of those exept fresh eating I'll be okay. The cukes- I'm planning on purchasing several pots and having one plant per pot. The book Tub Farming that I am reading says that an 8 inch pot is the smallest size recommended. That size seems too small but I'm going to start them in that size and maybe transplant them later to a bigger pot. I'm planning to make small batches of relish, and sweet pickles.
We bought some Dragon tongue heirloom beans, that I may try. I don't know too much about them whether you eat them shelled or whole. So, I'm going to buy some green beans.

Also, instead of buying special seeds for container growing, I'm going to try using the seeds I already have. I'm hoping they work, since I already spent the money on them and they are also heirlooms and open pollinated. Being able to save seeds is a big plus for me.

The tomatoes I plan to plant for fresh eating. I may if I get enough can a few small batches of salsa. But my favorite kind of salsa to make is a salsa mix, using herbs, peppers and a can of tomatoes. So, I may just opt for canning crushed tomatoes.

As far as container prices goes: the size I need for beets and green beans run anywhere between $2.23 to $8. I have decided to use plastic pots instead of clay so that they are not too heavy to move.

For the cucumbers the containers are $.88 each and those are the kind that have a saucer attached to the pot. They had some standard looking ones for $1.57 but you have to buy the saucer seperately. I was kind of suprised to see them (with saucers) there for less.

For the tomatoes, the prices run anywhere from $2.97 for the 12 inch, $3.97 for the 14 inch, $4.97 for the 15 inch and $8.44 for the 18 inch. The book recommends using a diameter size ranging from 12-18. That is for the regular size. The cherry tomatoes call for a 6 inch pot which costs $.97.

I was worried that the containers would cost too much, but I was pleased when I found out they weren't. I'm going to use Miracle Grow Potting Soil, rather than the walmart brand version> I tried it and didn't have any good results. I have had good luck with the Miracle Grow brand before.

I thought I'd use a swimming pool, the plastic kind for $10 for planting some things, but I'm not sure how well it would drain. I'm going to read more about it and maybe plant some things in one.

Like I said earlier, I plan to post some pictures so keep checking back if you want to know how this project is turning out.

Walmart sells kits for strawberries, tomatoes, cayenne pepper and bell peppers. There are a large variety of strawberry kits, some come with soil, seeds and are guaranteed to grow. Some come in pots, baskets, and hanging bags. I thought it would be fun to try and see if I couldn't get some strawberries growing. I'd probably stick with a kit, but may just buy some plants and a glazed ceramic strawberry pot. The hanging bag kit sounded cool, but I have no place to hang one.

The tomatoes and pepper kits are also guaranteed to grow, but are they guaranteed to produce anything, I wonder? I will probably pass on the kits for these and just start it myself with seeds. Most people plant tomato plants rather than wait for the seeds to come up, but we got lovely results with our tomatoes last year and we used seeds.

I would love to find a blueberry plant that I can grow in a container and I found a company that sells some. They sent me a $25 gift certificate for free stuff with no obligation to buy. I may just have to do that.

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