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Urban & Small Space Gardens 2010 - Container, Balcony or Patio

post #1 of 92
Thread Starter 
I have to admit, I used to get a little jealous of some of the other threads, reading about folks with big gardens. So I started a thread for others like me - little space to plant.

2008 thread here

2009 thread here

I consider my little experiments a great success. My Garden - 2008 & My Garden - 2009 (without a camera most of the season) and will be expanding this year.


Do you have to urge your upstairs neighbor to move that un-registered vehicle so you can have the one sunny place in your shared yard?

Do you have to come up with wind screens so you can plant on your balcony?

Do you see empty paint cans and think, "oh planter"?

Do you grow you strawberries in a bag, upside down?

Do your culinary needs get met by a hodge podge of tire planters, windowboxes and earth boxes - commercial and homemade?

Then, this is the place for you and I've included some of my favorite links and small space blogs:





post #2 of 92
I could give you a big hug!!! Last year I tried a container garden without consulting the dear ol' internet first...and I got exactly 5 green beans and one green pepper...

Subbing. Thanks a whole lot for this thread!!! Can't wait to check out your information!
post #3 of 92
Great links! Thanks so much. I'm looking forward to hearing when people are starting seeds and what they're starting.
post #4 of 92
Subbing!! After several years of container garden failure, last year I invested in two Earth Boxes. They would have been a success if it weren't for the late blight that killed my tomatoes. I had good success with the peppers, though, despite the terrible weather. We are hoping to move this spring so I am unsure about what to do. I would like to grow my own seedlings this year, but having trouble finding non-Monsanto seeds locally. Looking forward to seeing what others are doing!
post #5 of 92
Cool thread!

I think I can swing a 6 x 10 bed. If you're wanting to do veggies...what would you do? I'm thinking definitely bell peppers and tomatoes. Lettuce? I'm so hesitant. I grew up with big gardens in our backyard and never felt a need to squish lol.
post #6 of 92
OMG. Love this thread. Thank you for putting all of those resources in one place.

Hello tomatoes. You WILL grow this year.
post #7 of 92
Hi there!

This year, I am planting on and along my driveway. There's a little 1 ft wide strip of dirt between the fence and driveway. I want to get some climbing/vining winter squash in there, and train them up the fence. I bought butternut squash and pie pumpkin seeds. I also can use the area between the fence and the alley, but my landlady sprayed this with weed killer last year (it was old weed killer, the weeds just laughed and grew anyway), so I think I'm going to just do sunflowers back there. The rest will go on the driveway in containers, and in hanging baskets.

I will have tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and raspberries in containers on the ground. Hanging baskets will have strawberries, lettuce, and cilantro. Might find a spot for some beans, but I'm undecided on those.

I also have a tiny peach tree in a pot that I bought last year.
post #8 of 92
WOOOT! Nice start to a new thread for the new year Aimee I shall have to waste some time poking around those sites...errr... I mean, spend some serious time investigating new gardening techniques. Yeah, that' s it .

We just headed into Autumn here, which is *actually* prime gardening season in the subtropics I've been reading on a local gardening blog that many things, even tomatos and such, will grow happily here over our autumn & winter, as they don't have to struggle with the extreme heat & overpowering sun and bugs!!

Everything in my pots has been just hammered by the heat.. all my herbs finally bolted, tomatos gave it up, capsicum/peppers are still soldiering on. I still have some life in my cucumber vines as well, and a few fruit that I'll check for size tomorrow... before the damnable grasshoppers munch them.

We've just extended our lease here for 6more months..and I may put up my timber raised garden bed kit because we may end up going another 6 after that (we're hoping to be ready to BUY a place...oh the dreams of a big backyard garden and chickens!) But I'll still be doing a fair bit in pots so I'm gonna hang out here anyway

Started pricing different compost at the garden centre and it's not bad at all, so I may go pick some up this weekend. Must pull all the sad looking plants and dump the soil... My tomatos had some disease issues and I don't want to spread it by reusing this soil I may keep the soil in the non tomato containers and get some more to mix with it and dump in lots of nice compost to beef it up a bit.

I'm going to do some spinach, silverbeet (chard), peas, maye beans, zucchini (i hope, never had success with it), tomatoberrys, and start new herbs. Not sure what else I want to do, will see when I figure out how much room I'll have.

Off to read links!
post #9 of 92
Newbie here! We are renting a basement appt. from a very awesome couple. The back is mostly concrete but they are planning to jackhammer it this spring! There is a strip of earth, it needs to be cleaned up and prepared for planting. I might plans a couple things in their earth, but mostly I am going to try to get some containers going. I made one self-watering container so far, from five gallon buckets. I want to get at least a few more, as well as somethiing wider and shallower... my budget is a big fat zero! Seriously, I can't even afford soil so we'll just see what I can pull together. I can buy seeds, if I can find them at a store that accepts link. I got a few packets at Whole Foods but didn't find the peppers or tomatoes I wanted.
I have a ton of questions and specific scenarios...
post #10 of 92
Me too! I have a really big yard, but it's a forest! I only have a tiny patch of the front yard that gets enough sun to grow veggies. I have tried container gardening in various places around the yard over the past few years, but this year I ripped out some bushes in a sunny spot in the front, and I'm going to use it!

I'm going to put in tomatoes, peppers, basil, rosemary, cilantro, eggplant, okra and maybe beans! Thanks for the thread, it inspired me this morning.
post #11 of 92
I'm sooo happy I found this thread! I'm literally jumping up and down and my DD is looking at me like I have three heads.

I'm trying so hard to be self sustaining..

Our situation is this. We are living in the in laws house, in the basement apartment. MIL and FIL live upstairs, and MILs mother and father live upstairs from them, and DHs cousins live upstairs from them... we have a backyard, but it is very.very.very shared. Very . Summertime means parties, parties mean children, and children, in our backyard, mean destruction! My DH is going to talk to his father about letting us have a small patch of the yard and maybe fence it off with chicken wire or something. I'm going to start seeds anyhow, most likely, and put them in buckets or something if I can't use the little patch of space (I do mean little!). DHs grandma has a balcony up there and she grows tomatoes and jalapenos.. she also hangs buckets on our sunny fence and grows tomatoes there. She also plants a ton of beautiful flowers in the front yard.

If I end up not using my seedlings I'll probably freecycle them.. but it can't hurt to try, right?

Oh, and lucifugous, perhaps we could help eachother out since we're both in Chicago and might have simiar scenarios. If I end up getting too many seeds I'd be happy to send you my extras, or if I end up starting too many seeds than I have room for I could give you my unneeded seedlings since I'm planning on starting seeds before I figure out where I'm putting them. When are you planning on planting everything outside by? I'm thinking May 1st since our last frost is ~Apr 22nd.
post #12 of 92
Ordered my tomato plants to arrive in mid April. Also bought some storage bins so that I can make some self-watering earthbox-like containers. Woohoo! Getting excited now I just need to figure out the proper potting mix to use (while I wait for the weather to warm up).
post #13 of 92
post #14 of 92
Oooh! Thanks for this thread! Can someone please explain this "growing strawberries in a bag, upside down" to me? I'm fascinated!
post #15 of 92
Ditto the upside down strawberry thing What's that all about?
post #16 of 92
We are going back to container gardening after having a big garden the past two years that didn't yield much. But my containers used to rock! And there are only 3 of us--so a few pots of tomatoes, peppers, and greens work great for us. I also did cucumbers in pots and they worked out fine.
post #17 of 92
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by madskye View Post
We are going back to container gardening after having a big garden the past two years that didn't yield much. But my containers used to rock! And there are only 3 of us--so a few pots of tomatoes, peppers, and greens work great for us. I also did cucumbers in pots and they worked out fine.
That is why I am sticking to containers even though I have room for "a real garden" as my neighbor says. I am planting flowers this year though on the side of the house facing her kitchen.

There is only 3 of us and I am not too interested in canning or the like yet. I like being able to look things over in the morning and picking a snack of cherry tomatoes or enough green beans for a meal.

This weekend I'll be sterilizing last years buckets and figuring out how many more I need for my plans for this year. I am strongly hinting for a new camera for my birthday so I can do a better job of chronicling this years garden. Also going to see about starting my tomotoes and melons (which I probably should have done a couple weeks ago) this weekend as well.
post #18 of 92
Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
Ditto the upside down strawberry thing What's that all about?
This? It looks a lot like the idea of the strawberry pots really... only it's off the ground

We're recovering from a 24hr bout of food poisoning here So the few plants left in my garden did not get watered for about 48hrs and they were seriously thirsty. Thankfully it hasn't been hot or they'd have been dead! I have a cucumber that ought to be ready to pick tomorrow however I discovered aphids on the new growth on the plant Off to make up a batch of white oil to go nuke em!

And I had a 'garden bag' delivered yesterday, so I'm all set to yank out dead stuff and get ready to start working on my soil (garden bag is a green waste bag that gets collected every other month. THEY do the composting on their site after collection I think. Had to go that route as we only have 6mos here so not really enough time to get compost going and USE it before we move!)
post #19 of 92
What kind of potting mix does everyone use? I bough the miracle grow organic last year and it just wasn't working for me. I think I may just buy some mix at WholeFoods or the farmers market this year.
post #20 of 92
Thread Starter 
I use the bulk potting mix from one of the local nurseries. I buy it by the 30 gallon tote full. Which gets 6-7 buckets planted. I top it off with a small amount of compost and mulch.

I've used Miracle Grow organic in the past and it worked fine, but it's pricier than I want to send.
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