5 Best Container Gardening Ideas from 2013

comments (16) December 31st, 2013

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WesternGardener Jodi Torpey, contributor
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EZ-walls Plant Protectors, planted with short-season tomatoes, were the best way to get a head start on the garden.
The container garden enjoyed time spent in the plastic pool while I was on vacation.
Best of tomatoes from 2013 included Tiny Tim (upper left), White Cherry (middle left) and Sungold (bottom).
Big and beautiful Gemini peppers were easy to grow in the container vegetable garden.
Huge basil leaves grew on an ordinary plant without any special care.
EZ-walls Plant Protectors, planted with short-season tomatoes, were the best way to get a head start on the garden.Click To Enlarge

EZ-walls Plant Protectors, planted with short-season tomatoes, were the best way to get a head start on the garden.

Photo: Jodi Torpey

It's that time of year when I like to look back through the folder of garden photos to remind myself of the previous season's gardening lessons. It always feels good to click through the images and see the garden all green and growing because it sure doesn't look like that now.

I especially enjoyed looking at the patio container garden and reliving some of the best moments from the season. Here are my top 5 successes I hope to repeat in the vegetable garden next year:

Best way to jump start the garden. EZ-walls Plant Protectors gave me a head start planting in the large patio containers. I used them for the tomato plants that needed the extra warmth to get through chilly mid-May nights. Planting short-season tomatoes in the EZ-walls meant harvesting earlier--and longer.

Best vacation watering idea. The advantage to growing vegetables in containers is that they're portable. When it came time to leave the garden in late August, I crowded as many containers as I could into the plastic kids pool and filled it with water. When I returned a week later, there was still a little water in the pool and all of the plants looked like they hadn't missed me at all.

Best use of space. The 6 different varieties of small-sized tomatoes did exceptionally well in the container garden. My favorites for flavor were 'Tiny Tim', 'White Cherry' and 'Sungold'. The most prolific was 'Yellow Pear'. I plan to grow all of these again next season.

Best pepper surprise. I've never had good luck growing full-size sweet bell peppers in my container garden until now. The 'Gemini' peppers sent to me by Harris Seeds were easy to grow and tolerant of the weather extremes: cool start, then very hot, very dry and then drenching rains. Although there wasn't a bushel of peppers to harvest, the peppers themselves were huge and matured to a gorgeous deep yellow.

Best basil. The container of basil grew leaves that were unbelievably big. I picked up a small pot of sweet basil at a big box store and was amazed that it did so well with no special attention. Now that's what container gardening should be all about.

What successes did you have in your vegetable garden in 2013? Please share your 'bests' here.

posted in: tomatoes, peppers, basil, Water, plant protectors

Comments (16)

BenjaimWelch writes: Hey its great project
Posted: 6:38 am on November 18th
HarryGalbert writes: wow… its awesome! very nice.. u did a gooood job! i like the bg! really nice.

Posted: 6:25 am on October 30th
Maxbannett writes: incredibly Awesome
Posted: 4:57 am on October 30th
Oscarwilson writes: Great Work of art....
Posted: 4:11 am on October 30th
Masongreen writes: Beautiful...
Posted: 3:19 am on October 30th
Archiefox writes: Incredibly Awesome Idea
Posted: 2:50 am on October 30th
AlbertRoy writes: Very inspiring work
Posted: 2:35 am on October 30th
Marquss writes: incredibly Beautiful
Posted: 2:12 am on October 30th
Thomaswain writes: Incredibly Great..
Posted: 8:04 am on October 29th
Mikespencer writes: Incredible Technique
Posted: 7:45 am on October 29th
Dominichemmer writes: Best way to grow plants....
Posted: 7:12 am on October 29th
Sandraclif writes: Looks beautiful....
Posted: 6:54 am on October 29th
Adwardstim writes: Beautiful...
Posted: 6:08 am on October 29th
Jonathanray writes: Nice....
Posted: 5:34 am on October 29th
Grandma_Anne writes: I love wall of water. I put 5 in yesterday over my tomato plants I have reused them for several years. When you remove the plastic, just dry them out well before you store them. I wait until April to put in the rest of the tomatoes. I just can't wait for "real" toms.

We use dry leaves for mulch. And when they are gone, we use alfalfa (its expensive but it works so well) As the flower decomposes, you get fertilizer and the left over straw provides really good moisture retention.

We (my grandkids and I) also planted pea plants, pea seeds and carrots yesterday. Its a strange year.
Posted: 8:24 am on February 23rd
LillianInIowa writes: Tried the 'wall o' water" plant protectors and...in freezing weather, the little critters are desperate for water, and guess where they find it? (Unfrozen, too.) So. Those got holes chewed in them pretty quickly.

Love the wading pool idea, but remind readers not to FILL the pool with water. Roots need oxygen and may well rot if flooded. (I lost several fig bushes left in wagons, during a vacation, because heavy rains soaked the soil and put the plants in three inches of water. Roots rotted, plants died.)

Did have great luck heaping compost into a worn-out "turtle sandbox", propping the edges up a tad with pieces of wood, to assure drainage through holes I made, and planting....snow peas! HUGE harvest! (To move it later, don't move it; unload it by the bucketful.)

Just some ideas for y'all!
Posted: 9:57 am on February 19th
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