What We Learned About Container Gardening - iNeed a Playdate What We Learned About Container Gardening iNeed a Playdate a Blog for Northeast Ohio Moms

9.03.2015

What We Learned About Container Gardening

What We Learned About Container Gardening

Way back at the beginning of summer, I won two gift cards from Petitti's Garden Center.

Since the city I live in already has a "mom and pop" garden center, I've never really ventured all the way (twenty minutes) to Avon until I won and boy was I glad I did! It's HUGE!

Our backyard is not ideal for gardening and I hate yard work. What I had were several random milk crates littering our yard and an itch to get rid of them so I started searching for ideas on Pinterest. I even shared some of the blogs I found about gardening in Beyond Bylines for PR Newswire.

A plan started to form and we headed off to Petitti's to pick up what I would need. I dragged the Hubs along because he wanted to put mulch down in our front yard, too and wanted to pick it out.

My plan was to take the four milk crates I had and turn them into container gardens. We eat a lot of tomatoes in our house so I knew two would be dedicated to tomatoes. I wanted to grow some herbs and maybe some peppers.



I knew the soil and plants would cost the most plus the mulch so I was on the fence about purchasing fabric mulch to prevent the soil from washing away through the holes of the milk crates. While it is relatively cheap, I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend the money or store the unused amount since I would not use all of it. I ended up doing without the fabric mulch and just packed the soil in tight.

I spent nearly all of the $100 I had won on plants, soil, mulch, and plant food. The few dollars I had left I gave to the people behind us just because.

The kids were stupid with excitement over this project which made me happy. This is a relatively easy project and it teaches responsibility and some other important life lessons I hope they picked up on.


Remember how I planned for two crates to be for tomatoes? Well at the last minute, I let the kids pick out some flower packets to plant in the yard at the store. Somehow yard was confused with their own crates and my poor tomato plants were put into one crate and another pot I had in the yard.


After all was planted and watered it was a waiting game with more watering. Oh! Another life lesson  - patience!

Finally, the tomato started grow...


And, the whole garden was thriving. Okay, maybe just growing.

A photo posted by Mary Johnson (@mryjhnsn) on

Until finally, we had a tomato to pick!


So, what did we learn?

  • Plant deeper than you think is necessary if you don't use fabric mulch
  • No milk crates? There are plenty of affordable options! 
  • Don't crowd tomatoes into one container - keep it to two per milk crate
  • Cut back the tomato vines so that they aren't stealing nutrients from the vines that will be productive.
  • You don't need to use fabric mulch, but it is a good idea. 
  • Don't wait to train your plants. Use dowel rods early to make sure they stay on a starting path upwards.

This is starting to sound eerily like a list on how to raise humans... 

  • Finally, don't let the tomato lover pick the tomatoes! They won't make it into the house.



And the question I get asked but never get to ask...

How does your garden grow?

Thank you

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