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Monday, April 14, 2014

Container Pickles - Growing Cucumbers in the "City Pickers"

I'm a big fan of self-watering containers, like the Earthbox, but I'm not a big fan of the Earthbox price at around $50 on Amazon and considerably more in local retail stores.

I blogged about a method of making cheap self-watering containers using buckets, but I've also found that I like the City Pickers self-watering garden kit that Home Depot sells for $30.

They show it being used for tomatoes, but I wouldn't recommend that.  Even if you choose a smaller variety bush tomato, like a Patio Tomato, you'll find that tomatoes have vigorous root systems and you'll probably have nutrient problems.  The "trellis" that comes with it isn't particulary suitable for much either.

This year, I'm going to try growing pickling cucumbers in this planter.  and with that, I've found yet another use for an inexpensive product I found at The Home Depot called "mason ladder".  Don't bother googling this term, it won't do you any good.  Mason Ladder is a 10' section of heavy gauge galvanized wire, about 4" wide with cross connectors every 12".

Anyway, I stuck a couple of these mason ladder pieces in my City Pickers planter, and I think it will make an excellent cucumber trellis.  Here's a pic!

Stringing your Tomatoes - How to avoid the falling tomato plant

I've been using the string trellis method to grow my tomatoes vertically for 3 years now.  And with much success.  One problem I've faced every year is the twine breaking, and my tomato plants falling down when they get laden down with heavy tomatoes.  Usually string breakage hasn't been a problem for my cherry tomatoes, but it's definately been a problem for every other variety.

The first year, I only used a single strand of twine.  The second and third years, I doubled the twine, with no better success.  Twine just doesn't last very long when exposed to the elements.

So, this year, I'm using some small yellow nylon rope that I picked up at Home Depot.  I suspect it will NOT snap like the twine does!

I planted my tomatoes on Saturday.  I see a low of 36 in the forecast for Wednesday night, so I'll have to keep an eye on that!

Here's the tomato garden!