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Old 04-06-2011, 10:27 PM   #41
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My little green friends....Roma and cherry tomatoes and cucumbers in the window boxes and peppers ( 2 successive plantings) in the aquarium. The labels are tiny yellow PostIts and wooden toothpicks.
The aluminum foil reflects the light inward toward the seedlings, i.e. intensifies the light inside the aquarium.
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Wow, that's the first time I've seen Gro-Lights used to grow food. Who'd a thunk it.
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Old 04-07-2011, 07:30 AM   #42
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Thanks everyone for all the tips and the fun pics! I've decided that I'm not going to use the technique I posted in the first video, b/c I'd have to buy a ton of water jugs (15!) to fill the 5 totes I am going to make up...and there's no way we can drink that much water by the weekend (when I want to put them together). I asked for friends to donate any unused jugs, but haven't had a response.

So I am going to go the more difficult route and make the totes up using the plans in this link: http://www.seattleoil.com/Flyers/Earthbox.pdf

DH is going to help me with using a jigsaw and drill...kinda looking forward to expanding my skillz using power tools...watch out!
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:26 AM   #43
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I quit container gardening. My plants thrive better in the ground.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:54 AM   #44
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Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Wow, that's the first time I've seen Gro-Lights used to grow food. Who'd a thunk it.



The light fixtures are inexpensive standard shop lights, 4' length. I replaced the standard white fluorescent bulbs with full spectrum grow lights when I caught them on sale at the end of the growing season. Big difference in price!

I forgot to mention that I put about 2 inches of small rocks or coarse gravel in the bottom of all of the plastic containers that do not have drainage holes in the bottom. I use smooth glass "stones" and marbles (on sale at the dollar store and craft store) in the aquarium bottom. It keeps the bottom dirt from compacting, for better drainage and avoiding root rot.
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Old 04-07-2011, 09:06 AM   #45
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Too bad they don't indicate the Scoville units as that'd tell me how hot they are. They look like they'd be hot but sometimes a pepper that looks like it'll burn a hole in you is not hot.
Heat (Pungency):
Hot (5,000 to 30,000 Scoville Units)

according to this site
PlantFiles: Detailed information on Chile Pepper Capsicum frutescens 'Hot Portugal'

You can have my share of hot peppers. I can handle jalapenos only if I have cheese to soothe the burn on my tongue. Ouch!
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:10 AM   #46
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For squirrels, I sprinkle ground cayenne pepper around the plants in the containers (and in the ground if they start digging there). They HATE the hot pepper, and usually learn to avoid that area. If they forget, I simply remind them with a bit more! If they are way to adamant about digging and destroying my plants, I cut chicken wire and put it in the pots. And I cut a couple of the wires and point them upward so the little bushy-tailed tree rats get poked in the nose when they decide to check it out!

As for rabbits, usually the stray cats and the redtail hawks have handled the situation for me. The few times they failed their duties, I sprayed some nasty, smelly, animal repellent around. I use Liquid Fence Deer & Rabbit Repellent...smells like disgustingly very rotten eggs! It works though!

And for stray cats that come around to try to prey on birds, or to use parts of my garden as a litterbox, I spray a little cider vinegar around those areas, and the cats stay away!
Great suggestions and great thread! I like the idea of pointing a couple of the wires upward. I think my husband would love that part. How much cayenne pepper do you use? Last year I made a spray and put it on the leaves of my zinnas. I put too much in and it burned the leaves!

Have you ever tried to make your own spray with the eggs? I have a bunch of egg yolks that I could use (won't let my DH eat them because of cholesterol.)
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:48 AM   #47
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Honestly didn't know Goonie was a champ container gardener, and I apologize for that oversight. I'll have to go back and search his threads now.

Last year in Illinois I had a tiny garden that produced everything from beets to sugar snap peas to different types of tomatoes, etc.
This year in Phoenix I just planted 6 basil plants and one rosemary in containers until I get into the swing of this heat and learn how to do it out here. So far, tho, eating lots of pesto cause damn! the plants out here grow sooooo much faster than in Illinois...wow! It's unbelievable! Course, in the dead of summer I will have to move all to the shaded area of the patio or the basil will dry up.
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:00 AM   #48
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H This year in Phoenix I just planted 6 basil plants and one rosemary in containers until I get into the swing of this heat and learn how to do it out here. So far, tho, eating lots of pesto cause damn! the plants out here grow sooooo much faster than in Illinois...wow! It's unbelievable! Course, in the dead of summer I will have to move all to the shaded area of the patio or the basil will dry up.
YUM - pesto! Man, there are so many things I want to plant. Trying to "contain" myself (yes, bad pun) this first year, though, since I"m a newbie.

Do you use self-watering containers? I think they would be critical to have in the kind of heat you have there (and here in AL, too).
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:23 AM   #49
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Instead, I just put about a 1" layer of cypress mulch on top each container to hold in the moisture....as I've done with all of containers and planting beds for years.
I went to Home Depot today - they were out of cypress mulch, so I bought pine mulch. Will the pine type be ok? Wasn't sure if maybe it could change the pH or hurt the plants in some way. If so, I'll return it and seek out cypress mulch.
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:55 AM   #50
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So I purchased all of the supplies I need for my container garden today (except the plants). Since this is an ER board, and we love to talk money, I'm going to share what this little project/hobby is costing us so far for 5 self-watering containers:

The containers:
2 - 18 gallon tubs (have 3, so only bought 2)
1 - 10' X 4" long piece of PVC pipe (will be cut into supports and wicks)
1 - 10' X 1" long piece of PVC pipe (for water entry)

The growing medium:
4 - 2.5 cu ft bags of Miracle Grow potting MIX (may end up needing 1 more)
1 - bag of polymer moister crystals
1 - container of Osmocote fertilizer
1 - 2 cu ft bag of pine mulch

Total cost for the above, with tax: $109.58

So, about $22 for each container with medium. I will buy plants soon and add that cost.

Not bad, especially if this turns out to be a long-term hobby, b/c I won't have the "start up" costs for the containers every year.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:09 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by simple girl View Post
So I purchased all of the supplies I need for my container garden today (except the plants). Since this is an ER board, and we love to talk money, I'm going to share what this little project/hobby is costing us so far for 5 self-watering containers:

The containers:
2 - 18 gallon tubs (have 3, so only bought 2)
1 - 10' X 4" long piece of PVC pipe (will be cut into supports and wicks)
1 - 10' X 1" long piece of PVC pipe (for water entry)

The growing medium:
4 - 2.5 cu ft bags of Miracle Grow potting soil (may end up needing 1 more)
1 - bag of polymer moister crystals
1 - container of Osmocote fertilizer
1 - 2 cu ft bag of pine mulch

Total cost for the above, with tax: $109.58

So, about $22 for each container with medium. I will buy plants soon and add that cost.

Not bad, especially if this turns out to be a long-term hobby, b/c I won't have the "start up" costs for the containers every year.
Make sure you bought Miracle Grow Potting mix, not potting soil. With self-watering containers, I don't think you need the polymer moister crystals. As for the mulch, it is my understanding that pine mulch is slightly acidic. But since most vegetables strive in slightly acidic soil, I think it should be OK.
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:17 PM   #52
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Make sure you bought Miracle Grow Potting mix, not potting soil. With self-watering containers, I don't think you need the polymer moister crystals. As for the mulch, it is my understanding that pine mulch is slightly acidic. But since most vegetables strive in slightly acidic soil, I think it should be OK.
OH - that was a TYPO!!!! I definitely got the potting MIX. Thank you for catching that, though - I'd hate to lead others down the wrong path!
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:01 PM   #53
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For those who are interested, I'm going to post pics of the first container I made up today. I survived using power tools!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Container Gardening 2011 012.jpg (390.1 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg Container Gardening 2011 013.jpg (492.7 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg Container Gardening 2011 014.jpg (400.8 KB, 2 views)
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:13 PM   #54
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Looks great. Very functional appearance.

I know the feeling about power tools. Before I FIRE'd (had all this time on hand ) my power tools consisted pretty much of one very old cordless drill. I remember the first time I put up trim for walls. I said "no thanks" for power tools, I'll just do it by hand.

Now I'm always looking around for the right tool for the job and I find myself checking Amazon's reviews about this saw I seen on an infomercial called the Bladerunner.

P.S. I did notice the important safety glasses in the pics
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:21 PM   #55
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Looks great. Very functional appearance.
P.S. I did notice the important safety glasses in the pics
DH would have it no other way! (Of course I agree.) He did take the drill away from me one time...I needed some re-instruction...

I was really nervous using the jigsaw...but I got the hang of it. It has this really cool guide that helps you cut straight (uh, most of the time, LOL! Glad this project didn't have to be perfect, cause that just wasn't gonna happen.)
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Old 04-07-2011, 04:35 PM   #56
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DH would have it no other way! (Of course I agree.) He did take the drill away from me one time...I needed some re-instruction...

I was really nervous using the jigsaw...but I got the hang of it. It has this really cool guide that helps you cut straight (uh, most of the time, LOL! Glad this project didn't have to be perfect, cause that just wasn't gonna happen.)
That's funny about DH having to take the drill away from you one time. Now you know just enough to be dangerous
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:33 PM   #57
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It's looking REALLY good! I like this design even better than the first one.
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Old 04-07-2011, 06:20 PM   #58
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YUM - pesto! Man, there are so many things I want to plant. Trying to "contain" myself (yes, bad pun) this first year, though, since I"m a newbie.

Do you use self-watering containers? I think they would be critical to have in the kind of heat you have there (and here in AL, too).
I used the best potting mix I could find at Home Depot that keeps your plants from overwatering supposedly and just plastic containers. So far, I am the waterer...and I am out there every single morning checking them out to see if they need more water (some days yes at this point and some days no). They are doing ok so far.
There will come a time that that basil will go in my kitchen cause the sun scorches everything frail here like basil leaves.
However, I figure at $15-20 for a plate of pesto in a major city that I have already made my money's worth, cause I am making pesto and freezing it. Stays good up to 3 months.
When I leave next month for a few days, I will bring them in and put them in the tub that has some water in it I guess to preserve my plants. It's a scorcher here some days, truly.
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Old 04-07-2011, 08:19 PM   #59
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However, I figure at $15-20 for a plate of pesto in a major city that I have already made my money's worth, cause I am making pesto and freezing it. Stays good up to 3 months.
Great idea!
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Old 04-08-2011, 12:31 AM   #60
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I quit container gardening. My plants thrive better in the ground.
Well I did not want to say it so thanks for doing it for me!

I've been growing food for 20 years and I have had some success with containers, I think that it depends upon the plant.

For eggplant I have had great results, far better than in the ground. I attribute this to 2 factors. First the 5 gallon pails were placed on the asphalt portion of the driveway and they heat up fast and stay hot. Secondly, there are no flea beetles outside of the garden and flea beetles decimate eggplant.

The other success is with parsley. I can put them in the sun early on like next week but when it gets hot I can move them to a location that gets less sun and more shade to cool them down in the heat of the summer Come fall I can move them back into full sun.

Tomatoes were not that great in 5 gallon pails. I'm on a gardening forum with lots of container experts so I knew how to do this re soil mixture/composition, watering requirements and fertilizing. Great tasting tomatoes were so so and produced far less than in the ground. I wouldn't grow tomatoes in a container again.

I'm not a fan of containers but I have the space and willingness to do the work a garden requires, not everyone has the ability so for them containers are a better option.
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