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 Post subject: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 6:37 am 
Making Threats to Punks Again
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Boyfriend and I decided to take the plunge and try to grow ourselves some vegetables. We live in a flat though, so we can only do this in balcony containers.
Last weekend we bought seeds which are now starting to sprout in an indoor sprouting contraption. We have some basil (if I can grow flowers, I should be able to grow basil right?), mild Hungarian peppers (the bag said they were suitable for container growing) and yellow zucchinis (boyfriend really wanted to have those).

I think the basil will be fine, but I'm a bit worried about the peppers and zucchini.
- Our containers are 2 feet wide and 2 feet high. How many plants can I grow in them (the packages say to plant them 3 feet apart)? Just one, or maybe two?
- Our outdoor balcony only gets sun in the morning, is that enough or should I keep the plants in our warm indoor balcony that gets sun in the afternoon?
- How much fertilizer should I give them, what kind en when?

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:11 am 
Saggy Butt
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I'm in a similar situation (balcony with morning sun, first time trying to grow vegetables) so I'll be keeping an eye on this thread!

This website has been pretty helpful for me: http://lifeonthebalcony.com/new-start-here/ (she also has tips on growing plants in the shade). I started some seedlings in a sunnier windowsill and they seem to be doing OK, so I'm hoping they'll still do well once I plant them outside.

Good luck! I'd love to see pictures of your plants once they start growing.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:19 am 
Saggy Butt
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I've started some container plants too! So far I have seedlings going indoors for rainbow chard, red lettuce, wasabi arugula, spicy basil, dill, mixed mini sweet peppers, and jalapenos. The cat mint hasn't sprouted, for some reason. I'm hoping to do carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, and a few more herbs too.

I really like Gayla Trail's books and website, You Grow Girl. Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:21 pm 
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How many hours of sun does your outside balcony get? Ideally you need 8 hours of sun for most fruiting veggies, but I'm sure you'll get some harvest with even 4. Both the zucchini and pepper will probably need pollen from separate plants to produce (and bees or other pollinators to do the work), so you'll want at least two of each. I think 2 zucchini in one of your pots and 3 peppers in the other would work fine. You could even interplant some basil in with the peppers. You will need to fertilize more regularly in pots than in soil, probably every few weeks, but it depends on what you're using.

Most basil varieties need warmth to thrive, so until hot weather arrives it might do better in your enclosed balcony, and that sounds like a good place to grow it for much of the year too, if it stays warm.

In general, leafy veggies like lettuce, kale, and most salad greens are good choices for semi-shady spots, and quite productive.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:20 am 
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Thanks Jill!

I think we do get at least four of five hours of sun out back, but early in the morning, so it's not very warm and the sun is not very stong at that time of day. I think we will keep our fruiting plants on the indoor balcony, at least until the start of the summer. The basil can stay indoors the whole time.

We're in the middle of the city, so I think we will have to pollinate the flowers by hand whether they are indoors or out. I hardly ever see any insects around here, certainly very few bees.

Would it be okay if I fertilized with compost? I'd prefer not to use chemical fertilizer or animal manure.

I really like the idea of growing some kale and lettuce in the half shade!

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Your peppers should be fine in pots - I grow peppers every year in pots and they grow great! We do get a lot of afternoon sun so I'm not sure how they will do with morning sun. I hope that it is successful for you :)

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:22 am 
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My little seedlings are starting to grow nicely.
I've ordered some coconut based potting soil and organic fertilizer for when they are ready to be transferred to the containers. I read up on eco-friendly container farming, and it turns out that most potting soil is made from unsustainable dug peat and turf. This coconut potting soil is awesome, since it is made from a renewable material and it comes in small packages that you can hydrate at home. A 10 liter block makes 70 liters of soil! That saves a lot of transport and packaging waste.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:21 am 
Making Threats to Punks Again
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The zucchini plants on my indoor balcony have grown big and I hand pollinated the first female flowers yesterday. I hope they're alright and will grow nice fruits. The tomatoes are also doing really well, they're just as high as the zucchini, even though I sowed them almost a month later. They are already flowering and making very cute tiny green tomato balls. I'm so exited!

The peppers are doing okay, but they're not very big yet and don't flower either. Maybe they just need a little more time.

The lettuce outside suffered from the rain we had for the last few weeks. Also, I may have planted them to close to each other, so they don't have enough space.

I have a few good basil plants, but most of them have dried up and withered. Does anyone know what could have caused that?

I'll try and post some pictures soon!

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 8:10 am 
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I'm a complete gardening beginner so I'm starting by growing some spinach and red leaf lettuce on my balcony in two Lush Dream Cream containers, and they're starting to sprout! I found this article quite useful http://www.goveganic.net/article137.html .

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: growing veg in containers
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2012 2:50 am 
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Yes, you can fertilize with compost.

RE: basil, did you transplant it? Basil can be pretty delicate if you disturb the roots when transplanting something larger. Otherwise, sounds like it might be getting too hot...

Ditto on trying to grow more greens. You can harvest a lot more kale, mustard, Asian greens, and lettuce in the space and time that peppers and zucchini take. And they do well on less sun, too.

Look for smaller varieties of peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, etc, which do better in containers, than the normal varieties. You'll also usually get an earlier harvest.

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