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Post  BonnieBon on 3/22/2015, 11:19 pm

Hello, I'm just getting started with SQFT gardening. I'm mainly interested in how I can use it with containers on my west facing balcony. However I do have a small 10x20 ft plot out at a friend's rural home. I'm not currently doing SQFT out there, but considering trying one small bed this year. A limiting factor is affordability of making Mel's Mix and the raised bed itself. Plus, this is my friend's property, so I have to see what they are willing to allow. 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to learning and "growing" more this season!  Laughing
Thanks for your fellowship!
Bonnie  I love you
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Post  mollyhespra on 3/23/2015, 8:30 am

Welcome to the forum, BonnieBon!  

You might look into 5-gallon (food grade) containers that you can repurpose into planters for your balcony, and being as it faces West, some shade-cloth in the afternoon (or else just grow heat-loving plants).

Welcome again!

P.S. It was -5F this morning up my way, so I imagine that over in Minnesota you're in a similar zone as I am. I should therefore add to my suggestions above: grow short-season plants, LOL!
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Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/23/2015, 9:53 am

You may also check your local bakeries for their frosting buckets.  We get a lot of them for free from our local Sam's Club & Kroger grocery store.
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Post  CitizenKate on 3/23/2015, 11:35 am

For the balcony, the containers might be more practical.  The "other half" of my backyard garden is an array of sub-irrigating planters with built-in trellises that I set up on my patio.  I've been growing my tomatoes and peppers in these for the last 4 years, and the yields have been good.  They're pretty easy to make from a pair of 5-gallon buckets.

Getting Started--It's snowing here today :) 20140611

I've heard the oft-repeated recommendation to use only food-grade plastic for planters, but after actively researching the question of why, I still have not found much evidence to support it.  I am open to being convinced, though, if anyone has information to share about it.


Also, I didn't have much luck finding enough free surplus buckets around here at the time I needed a bunch of them to get started, so for my first array, I just went and bought what I needed.  I've started checking around for the surplus ones, and have since been able to collect a few, so I'll have them to make replacements when I need to.


Kate


Last edited by CitizenKate on 3/23/2015, 11:36 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Fixed a typo.)
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Post  sanderson on 3/23/2015, 1:12 pm

Bonnie, Welcome to the Forum from California! glad you\'re here Starting small with containers on your balcony is great. One of our new members, Brroomm in Florida, has quite a little jungle on her patio. Tomatoes in buckets with supports may provide some relief from the west sun in the summer.

Kate thank you for that great photo of tomatoes and peppers in buckets.

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Post  AtlantaMarie on 3/23/2015, 2:14 pm

Wow, Kate.  That looks terrific! 

Can you tell us how you set them up?  What are the things at the bottom?  Are they for watering?  Are they all hooked up together to water at the same time?

The reason for food-grade, is that non-food grade may have chemicals that can migrate to the plant and then to us.  Not good for either...
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Post  Kelejan on 3/23/2015, 4:20 pm

glad you\'re here BonnieBon  happy hi   from the only place in Canada that has not been overwhelmed with snow this winter, British Columbia, so most of Canada can sympathize with you.

You have a nice display of container gardening. Very Happy From last year?
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Post  quiltbea on 3/23/2015, 8:49 pm

Bonnie......As a resident of another cold state, Maine, I can tell you that you need to grow warm-weather crops that don't take forever to reach full growth.  Tomatoes that take 60-65 days are better than those that take 85-90.  You'll be waiting forever to harvest those.
Peppers are difficult if you experience cooler nights so if that's the case, as it is here. its best to have some kind of cover in the evenings to keep them from getting too cool.  For me eggplant is a losing battle.  This crop won't grow if the nights drop into the low 60s so again, if you attempt them, be sure to have covers ready to keep them from getting too cool at night.
On the other hand, cool crops like radishes, lettuce, greens, and the brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, etc) grow wonderfully well.
Good luck and enjoy the experience.  Its great fun and the flavor of home-grown foods can't be beat.
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Post  CitizenKate on 3/23/2015, 9:24 pm

@Kelejan wrote:You have a nice display of container gardening. Very Happy From last year?

Oh yes... this year's tomato plants are still in the process of sprouting.
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Post  CitizenKate on 3/23/2015, 9:41 pm

@AtlantaMarie wrote:Wow, Kate.  That looks terrific! 

Can you tell us how you set them up?  What are the things at the bottom?  Are they for watering?  Are they all hooked up together to water at the same time?

The things at the bottom are short pieces of garden hose to connect the reservoirs of each bucket.  In these containers, the water is fed to the plants root from below it.  That hose you see on the left comes from a rain barrel, and I later added another bucket with a float valve to control the water flow automatically.  (Because I didn't do a very good job of keeping an eye on the levels when I operated the manual valve for watering.)

Yes, I'd be happy to share how I made them.  It so happens, I'm just finishing up an article on HubPages about how to do this.  When I get it published, I'll post the link.


Kate
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Post  CBMinSEA on 4/15/2017, 8:45 pm

Hi Kate! I'm just working on getting a container garden set up for my patio, too--I rent, so can't do a true SFG, but have constructed some 1x2 and 1x3 planters for use! Love the idea of tomatoes and peppers in buckets like you did--did you use any filler or did you fill the full bucket with soil? I wonder if gravel and 6-8" of Mel's mix would work...

Would also love instructions on the irrigation system you rigged up, if you have that article posted!
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Post  sanderson on 4/16/2017, 4:01 am

Hi CBM! glad you\'re here

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Post  newbeone on 4/16/2017, 10:11 am

Happy Easter Everyone! Hi Kate Nice bucket garden You have going there, You mentioned You couldn't find buckets when You needed them, there is another way to set up a self watering bucket garden and You only need half the buckets I used it when I lived in NY, Down here I'm afraid I would cook any thing in buckets with the temperatures we get down here. The guys name is Larry Hall He started the Gutter Garden and He's on You Tube. I can remember  getting up on Easter Morning and going out to shovel SNOW " Enjoy the Day"!


PS: How do You Protect Your garden from the wind?
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 4/28/2017, 10:24 pm

@CBMinSEA wrote:Hi Kate! I'm just working on getting a container garden set up for my patio, too--I rent, so can't do a true SFG, but have constructed some 1x2 and 1x3 planters for use! Love the idea of tomatoes and peppers in buckets like you did--did you use any filler or did you fill the full bucket with soil? I wonder if gravel and 6-8" of Mel's mix would work...

Would also love instructions on the irrigation system you rigged up, if you have that article posted!
Hi CBM! Just wanted to say welcome to the forum. I've grown a pepper in a bucket and in a sub-irrigated planter and felt it was successful. My tomato attempt in a grow bag I couldn't keep well watered enough. It needed water every day, sometimes more than once.

Kate posted photos of another creation here (but I'm still hoping she'll post that hypothetical hubpages link):
http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t18821-sub-irrigation-planter#264661


I'd advise against gravel in the bottom of the pot:
https://www.todayshomeowner.com/garden-myth-putting-gravel-in-pots-and-containers/
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