Monday, March 9, 2009

The Plan

Two years ago I tried to grow a few peppers and tomatoes in plastic containers on my back patio. I've seen it done successfully and I've read about it online, but my attempt failed miserably. The tomato plants succumbed to some little, but very evil, green worms and the peppers never fully matured on the vines.

According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension Service, I'd have had better results if I'd planted in September, instead of April as is customary in many other areas of the country. That same website has a lot of information about watering, pesticide and non-pesticide growing methods, fertilizing, compost, and proper pH levels for the soil.

My previous exposure to serious vegetable gardening as a youngster involved a 1/2 acre plot of land, planting in rows, weeding for hours on end, a roto-tiller, pressure cooking, and canning everything in glass jars we had something to eat in the non-growing winter months. This year's attempt will be limited immensely by the size of my backyard (20 feet long x 40 feet wide), but as Clint Eastwood once said, "Improvise, adapt, and overcome."

It's time to decide how to overcome the space limitations with various alternatives to gardening in rows including container gardening, above ground beds, fabric containers, square foot gardening, and maybe some very basic hydroponic or aeroponic methods. And besides homeowners association probably wouldn't appreciate it if I tilled up the entire back yard.

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