We will be rolling out several small fixes mid-day today (Jan 29.) We do not anticipate any disruptions or problems, but f you spot any unexpected issues after 12 noon (PST), please report them in the designated thread in the DG Site Updates forum.
The trees in my cedar fenced area are beginning to shade out some of that area so I am moving some grow poles to my original deer proof garden area...two large dog pens located on the sunny side of the property.
Picture #1 dogpen shows my old original verti-grow type grow poles which are now planted in strawberries and bush beans as of yesterday. The containers sitting around have some pole beans, bell peppers and eggplants recently planted.
Picture #2 and #3 is a view of EZgro type grow poles mounted in the second dog pen. There are some tomato's growing in 4 gal containers sitting in about 4 inches of dirt in that pen as well as some other plants growing in one gallon containers. I need to add more dirt untill I have about 6 inches of loose dirt in the bottom of the pen. If you partially bury a container in dirt, plants in those containers can send roots out thru the containers drain holes into the loose dirt. You can grow some relatively large plants in one gallon containers using this technique as the plants are getting some (maybe most) of their nutrients and moisture from the loose dirt around the container. And the plants are mobile, can be moved. During the dog days of summer when flowers and tomato's stop producing, I lift the containers, jerk the plants from the containers, whack off about half the roots and most of the top foliage, re-pot in fresh grow mix with some slow release fert pellets and set them in a shady (or dappled shade) area to re-cuperate. About the time the hotter days of summer are waning, they are pert and sassy and ready to go again and be set out in the loose dirt beds again.
Picture #4 is a close up of some poles with broccli, lettuce, various flowers, and some onions which are flowering that overwintered in the poles. All of these grow pole containers were removed from the back fenced yard to these dog pen's one at a time and re-stacked again in whatever order I decided on. Mobility in gardening is a definite advantage and as I mentioned before...I am running out of sunshine in the backyard.
In the backyard garden, I have removed the grow poles from 3 of the 4x4 sq ft platforms and converted them to mini greenhouses for winter growing or shade cloth for the dog days of summer. the platforms have also been converted to waterbeds also with a double covering of black plastic. They will hold up to 1 1/2 inches of water or less adjustable by me. Check here in Dave's Garden forum for posts by "Twiggybuds" for some interesting posts about growing in waterbeds.
Here is a photo of a platform capable of growing 96 plants. There are 64 plant sites on the four poles and 32 in the double stacked containers just sitting on the platform. With years of playing around with these grow poles, I know that you can double plant them and succession plant them and produce hundreds of plants each year. It is a vegetable pump!! as an example: A grow pole with 16 plant sites can be double planted with bok choi, giving you 32 plants. Harvest 16 baby bac choi in 30 to 40 days and plant another seed in its place while the remaining bok choi grows to a fuller size. When you harvest the larger bok choi's, you still have 16 more bok choi's coming on. And that is just in the very early spring before warmer weather starts interferring with bok choi growth. Before the final bok choi reaches what you consider harvest size, stick 5 bean seeds in each of the 16 plant sites with the growing bok choi and you can have a summer crop of beans coming on when you harvest the bok choi. And of course, you can always have small plants coming along in 6 packs to replace whatever you harvest from the poles. The potential production is amazing, especially if you concentrate on the faster maturing vegetables.
How 'bout that...I dont like swiss chard either. I just grow it for its ornamental effect but didn't know they could grow so big. That thing waving in the breeze is probably spewing seed in all direction and will infest the grow mix in all my grow poles which are already infested with pigweed (purslane). Pigweed is edible too but I dont eat it either. So next year, I will have a huge crop of non-edible edible's.
Your chard looks better in the container than my raised bed grown chard. You're apparently doing something right! My dog pen looks just like yours (brick patio included), but has a large maple tree canopy shading it; mostly on the SW side. I have had success growing morning glories up the North side of the fence that I'm hoping will re-seed. As far as the "non-edible edibles", I have some of those kind of plants myself. The kale and collards have recently gone to seed from last fall's planting. lol
The rest of my summer will mostly be growing flowers. Seems like powdery mildew attacks most any kind of vegetables, especially the brassica's, this time of year. The early spring crops of turnip greens, mustard, collards, broccli did OK. Tomato's are doing so so so far. Actually, fall gardens do better here than spring gardens. We have beautiful spring weather here, all two days of it, before summer weather sets in. We are already into consecutive days of 90 degree weather and the first 4 months of rainfall here is just 6 inches. Not looking good for dirt farmers. I can keep the poles and containers watered but the hot weather still is rough on everything.