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Self-contained Box Gardens: Unusual spring weather slowing things down

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Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

April 30, 2009
9:18 PM

Post #6485432

The Texas Hill Country has been blessed with more rain than normal this year and we sure need it. All the overcast days have slowed down lots of my plants though. It is amazing how they jump up and pay attention to the least little ray of sunshine. About 3 continuous days of sunshine will cause them to explode.

In this photo, you can see some stuff blooming. Most I planted from seed or bulb and some came from the nursery. The sunflower in the top of one stack is still standing proudly with four blooms and more on the way. It has survived strong winds, rain, and not much sunshine. It is not staked, it is standing there on its own. Another sunflower is growing in the stack next to that one.

I have poked both seeds and transplants into these poles to such an extent that I cannot remember exactly what all is growing in all of them. You cant miss the petunia's and dusty miller on one pole but scattered around out there are fressia's, dianthus, tidy tips, convovulus, baby blue eyes, birds eye, batchelor buttons, chives, arctotis, aftican daisy's, alyssum, begonia, lamium, scabiosa, nigella, and some this and thats. Come on sunshine!!

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Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

April 30, 2009
9:30 PM

Post #6485469

Here is my tomato experiment, all early girl tomato's, two growing out of the top pot of a stack and two more planted in what looks like a 5 and a 7 gallon container. Here are the stacked ones. They are smaller than the container ones but look to be a few days ahead as far as flowering is concerned. I have them tied to the center pole of the stack.

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rtl850nomore
Glendale/Parks, AZ

April 30, 2009
9:31 PM

Post #6485471

The sunshine is over hereeeeeeee Jay.
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

April 30, 2009
9:36 PM

Post #6485487

Here are the container tomato's. Lots of foliage and larger than the stacked ones but just now beginning to flower.

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thistle5
Alexandria, VA
(Zone 7b)

April 30, 2009
9:46 PM

Post #6485520

I hear you about unusual weather, after about a week in the 90s, it was low 60s today & rainy. Last week, we had a day with sun, rain, & HAIL, aternating every half hour!

I don't plant too many annuals myself-coleus, lantana, plectranthus, setcresea, sweet potato vine (everytime I planted these last year the squirrels ate them, so I gave up). At work today, I got moved from my usual spot in perennials to help with shifting annuals (we get in TONS) & some of them are really nice-I like torenia, angelonia, even stock & snapdragons, maybe if I grew them from seed, I'd like them more. The only one I don't like right now are pelargoniums (the ivy-leafed & scented-leaf ones are nice, though)-I must have moved hundreds today, familiarity breeds contempt...

Oh, & I love begonias, not the waxleaf or tuberous, just the angelleaf, rex, & fancy ones, guess I like more annuals than I thought...

Your stackers are looking great, I have a big push tomorrow to get mine stacked & planted...
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

April 30, 2009
9:59 PM

Post #6485564

Yep...I know about that Arizona and New Mexico sunshine. I lived out that way and prospected all over that area plus So. Calf from 94 untill 2000. The trick to gardening out there is to build your house in the middle of a bunch of those big Sahuaro cactus (sp) so you will at least get some shade. :-) I used to look up at the sky looking and hoping for a passing cloud for some temporary shade. But I didn't look up long at a time cause I had to keep looking down so I didn't step on no rattlesnakes.
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

April 30, 2009
10:16 PM

Post #6485624

Thistle...the smaller snapdragons and dianthus are good in my part of the country. Both are early spring bloomers, fade a little in the heat of summer, but rebound strong in the fall. Almost year round bloom. Deer dont bother the dianthus and only nibble occassionally on the snapdragons.

I grew one 5 pot stack of stock one year. They smell nice and I like that. I liked the smell up there where I could just prop my nose on them and sniff away. But they grew big and leafy and drank water by the gallons and were aphid havens. Since that experience, I have tried to mix up the plants on the stacks rather than plant all of one thing. It seems to confuse the bugs. This year I am growin two types of basil to mix around on the stacks. The theory is that the smell of basil will discourge some kind of bugs. If not, I can still pass by and slap them to stir up a nice stink. :-)

Here is a picture of the controlled release fertilizer I threw into the little diffuser pot on top of my stacks. As you can see, they have not even started to break up and start releasing fertilizer. But they will when hotter weather gets here.

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OCCAROL
Santa Ana, CA
(Zone 10b)

May 1, 2009
12:17 AM

Post #6486095

Jay, I'm wondering if the tomatoes need warm soil rather than warm sun to set fruit. I put a Champion in my first EB this spring, and it is setting fruit like crazy. I had one in the ground, left over from last fall, that I pruned up to a single stalk, that is growing like a weed and blooming, but no fruit set.Both get the same amount of sun, and we have a plethora of bees this spring. Oh Yeh, I fed the one in the ground too. I'm thinking the container warms the soil faster.
Carol
darkmoondreamer
(Karen) Frankston, TX
(Zone 8a)

May 1, 2009
2:40 AM

Post #6486882

Jay our weather is the exact same here. The rain is a blessing, but it is sure slowing my things down. One day of sunshine and they do cartwheels!
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

May 1, 2009
3:54 AM

Post #6487176

OCCAROL...that thought crossed my mind too. The stack tomato's are sticking up there where they and their pot gets full sunshine. The tomato's in the nursery pots are completely shading the top of their containers. I moved their containers today and I may trim their lower leave's off so some sunshine can hit the containers.

Another thought is that the stack tomato's may be feeling a little root bound which could cause them to start flowering.

The stack tomato's have began to send roots down through the drain holes of their pot into the pot below. I found out last year that tomato roots will keep growing down through the stack. Each pot holds two and a half gallons of grow mix. There are 4 pots in that stack with a total of 10 gallons of grow mix in them. The tomato's will just keep reaching downward until they have taken control of as much grow mix as they think they need. Last year, I had 3 tomato plants on a 5 pot stack and the tomato's roots just locked all the pots together. I had to slice between the pots with a butcher knife to seperate the pots.

Karen...I am worried about Jerry. He is about 60 miles down slope from me. All this water may have wiped him out by now. :-) I have one little osteospermum (african daisy) blooming. It knows it is too small to be blooming but it is giving it a try anyway. It is purty anyhow.

Thumbnail by Jaywhacker
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joy112854
Crestview, FL

May 1, 2009
4:41 AM

Post #6487270

Jay: You have the most colorful garden I think I've ever seen, bet the women adore coming over to your garden. LOL All those beautiful colors in the flowers. Nice job.
joy
Jaywhacker
Kerrville, TX

May 1, 2009
5:15 AM

Post #6487364

Very few people know what is behind my "privacy" fence Joy. One neighbor did look in there last winter and inform me that there was no way them big tomato plants could be growing in them rinky dinky little pots, even though he was looking straight at them. One lady (I am assuming here) from town did come out to see if she wonted a fence built by the same contractor as built mine. She introduced herself as the "litter lady" and gave me a card proclaiming herself as such. She goes around picking up trash in the city parks and trying to be noticed by the local newspaper. She couldn't resist trying to pick up stuff from my yard, twigs and sticks that my dog likes to chew on plus the remains of some of her toys that she also likes to chew on. I kept telling her, "Dont touch that." She got mad and left in a huff. Since then its been real peaceful back there.
joy112854
Crestview, FL

May 2, 2009
1:18 AM

Post #6491100

Jaywhacker: You do sound like me, "hey leave that alone, it's not out of place, its exactly where I can find it, and no I need that, you can't have it ." I put cages up on all my tomatoes this evening and sprayed all tomatoes, cukes and peppers with that rot stop stuff. Putting those huge tomato plants through the cages was a real pain; I broke a few limbs off too, should I be worried? Next time, I'm using those clips and cord, it's much easier looking and looks less stressful for me and the plants. LOL. Some of those tomato plants are about 2-3 ft tall already and now I'm wondering if I placed the containers that hold them too close together.

That burying the stem thing worked really well too, those stems are thick man, about twice the size of my thumb. My daffs are all dying out front; but, my cannas are really taking off, that should bring some color to the yard.

joy

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