Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lazy Man's Garden Part II

“You get what you pay for.”

“There is no such thing as a free lunch.”

Both of these sayings apply to my garden this year. In a previous post I chronicled my gardening life, and my wonderful idea this year for maximum gardening enjoyment with minimal maintenance efforts (container gardening). It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Things started out perfectly. I filled my containers with potting soil. Later, I noticed the bag said, “Not For Use In Containers!” I was sure this was talking about other containers and not the kind I was using (old softener salt barrels and 5 gallon buckets). My plants grew beautifully. I fertilized, watered (sometimes), and pruned. One of my tomato plants was especially impressive. Ha ha, “Not For Use In Containers!” Ha ha! Even the carrots grew, despite the way they were treated by the invading cats. The weeding was easy and minimal. Low maintenance, high yield, perfect!

Except for the high yield part. As the plants began to produce, I noticed something; the size and quantity of the vegetables was quite a bit smaller than usual. The four tomato plants gave us enough to keep a fresh supply on hand, the peppers…well, we got about three peppers per plant. We had enough pole beans for one meal (about 4 servings), and the carrots were eaten before they made the refrigerator.

Container gardening is convenient and low maintenance, and best suited for the person who only wants a few fresh items throughout the summer. If you are expecting to do any preserving, container gardening is not for you.

I don’t know if the wrong soil made the difference or the size of the containers. My theory is that the size of the containers limited the size of the plants. For example, if you put a goldfish in a bowl, it stays small; however, put that goldfish in pond and you will soon have a sizeable fish. Thus, what is true for a goldfish must be true of a tomato plant. I am quite certain that the wrong dirt had nothing to do with it.

“Not For Use In Containers!” Ha ha!

Maybe I will try raised beds next year.

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