Thursday, March 18, 2010

Earthbox: Spring Planting

It is with a hopeful heart and an attitude of sheer determination that I replanted my Earthbox. Back in the fall, I crammed in 6 plants (see my blog post, Earthbox: Idiot-Proof Gardening). I had very modest success - a few eggplants and a couple small heads of broccoli, but no tomatoes. Perhaps its not entirely idiot proof after all.

I was disappointed, but I will not give up. This time I called for reinforcements. I spoke with Patti, the owner of a lovely nursery near my house called Annie's Garden Shed. She was very generous with her time and expertise. Here are some tips she gave me that I hope will result in a more abundant spring season. If you have any additional advice, please bring it on!
  • Don't overcrowd. I only planted 3 (instead of 6) tomato plants. Also, putting plants too close together tends to give pests more opportunities to move from plant to plant.
  • Plant deep. Pick off any stray leaves toward the bottom of the stem and get it far down into the soil. This give the roots more places to grow.
  • Water every 2 to 3 days. Since it's impossible to over-water an Earthbox, don't hold back. If it's not an Earthbox, get the soil nice and most without over saturating.
  • Green pepper plants are easy. I planted my pepper plant alone in a very large pot to give the roots plenty of room to grow (per Patti's advice). I also learned that green peppers will eventually turn red if you leave them on the vine long enough. Before they turn red, they will look black for a while.
  • Use gardening resources that are specific to your geographic area. Apparently, even the state of Florida has regions that are varied enough to require different techniques. Patti recommended these books for central Florida:

    Herbs and Spices for Florida Gardens: How to Grow and Enjoy Florida Plants with Special Uses
    by Monica Moran Brandies

    The Edible Landscape
    by Tom MacCubbin

Patti also gave me these simple words of encouragement
that helped a lot...
You can do this!

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  1. Good Luck and keep me updated on your success! You will find every planting season is a little bit different!

  2. Hi there, I found your blog when I was searching for Veg Fest Tampa Bay. I'm really excited when I got an email about the event today. Anyways, I was checking out your blog. Too funny about your earthboxes... I started gardening this year. I had great success with tomatoes and bell peppers in my earth boxes. I followed the directions to a T. I also planted many thing in the ground. The earth boxes were much more successful. I just cleaned out the boxes and am about to replant some things. Round 2... we'll see how that goes! I might try to start from seed this time... but that might be too ambitious.

    Anyways, hello :)


  3. Hi Carolyn:

    So nice to hear from another healthy blogger - and you live in the Tampa Bay Area, as well. Even better! Good luck on you planting. My tomatoes have finally kicked the bucket, but they had an excellent run. I have never had such success. Very exciting. You have reminded me that I should start something new in my Earthbox. I need to call Patti to find out what to plant.

    Take care,