Time to Set up the Container Gardens!

After losing my 3rd hat and 2nd pair of gloves, it looks like we’re finally getting some warmer weather. I think it’s time to play urban gardener again!

The past few years I’ve experimented with all kinds of container gardening and still haven’t found the perfect method. Growing pretty flowers and things to eat is tough without a real garden, real dirt, or rain. Last year gave me tons of jalapeno and serrano peppers, basil, chives, spinach, swiss chard, arugula, and mesclun (not the drug!). The beans and tomatoes weren’t as happy but I’m blaming that on my small containers and not loving them enough. This year will be different!

The goal this year is to make the containers more self-sufficient. I thought I had the whole watering thing figured out until the basil and pepper plants started sucking a gallon a day. Since there’s no water faucet on my balcony it would be nice to go more than a day between waterings. You’d be amazed at how fast lettuces wilt when the water source in the lower container runs dry. You can almost count the wilting in minutes.

Since I only grow from seeds, it’s difficult to gauge the size of these plants and know how many will actually produce. Instead of letting it all grow wild and marveling at its girth, this Spring I’ll have to actually pull and throw away the weakest seedlings and concentrate on the best 20%. Maybe I’ll have smaller harvests but at least next year (using the saved seeds) I won’t have to worry as much about weaker seeds. As an added bonus, I’ll probably have to water less, too.

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