Gail of Green Living


Organic Container Gardening: Class Notes #2

Diane Norman discussed soil, soil amendments and organic fertilizers for container gardening.  I wish I had her class years ago when I started putting my vegetables and herbs in containers, because she could have saved me a lot of water and time, I think.  The BIG AH-HAH in my class last week was …

Expanded Shale

Expanded Shale.  It has porous pockets that allow it to trap moisture and release it when the soil becomes dry.  It also aerates the clay soil we have in Houston.  This year, I had used the correct brand of soil to put in my pots, just not the correct blend that included expanded shale.  You can be sure that from now on, I will use it!

She mentioned some organic fertilizers that were new to me.  Crab meal, shrimp meal, lava sand, and dry or liquid molasses.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I had issues with my compost pile not getting hot enough, and therefore, my plants have weeds sprouting.  Dry molasses added to my compost seems to be the solution.  As soon as I can, I will add that and let everyone know how well it works for me.

Fertilizers I have used with great success are fish emulsion, blood meal, bone meal and Epsom Salts.  Diane says that Epsom Salts minimize yellowing of leaves and the increase blooming and setting blooms on vegetables.  I never had pinpointed that as the reason for my plants having dark, green leaves and lots of blooms.

Sweet Million

It’s hard to see these tiny cherry tomatoes, but there are three of them.  This variety is Sweet Million, and I’ve grown them before with great success.  I would like to expect 999,997 more on this vine, but I think someone is exaggerating!  They are the first to bloom and have the blooms set.  I fed them Epsom Salts about two weeks ago, and then again a few days ago.  It works!!

What organic fertilizers work best for you?



Early Spring Garden–More Real Food

Straight 8 Cucumbers

Last year, my cucumbers were productive and tasted wonderful, but I would give the planting in the pot a D+.  When summer winds started blowing, the tomato cages blew over with the heavy cucumbers and after about four “recoveries”, I gave up.  This year, I planted organic seeds indoors, then transplanted them into two large pots, but the big difference is that I placed the pots on the south side of the house, and …

Cucumbers with bamboo trellis

I hung a bamboo trellis from the eave of the house.  We will see how well these cucumber vines fare this year.  They should get plenty of sun.

Pinto Beans

I promise the seed package said these were bush beans, but they are climbing up the tomato cage.  Unlike the cucumbers, the beans will not be heavy.  And they will not even be around very long, because Pinto Beans are not fond of hot weather.  But I hope to get enough to eat at least one meal.

California Wonder Bell Peppers

This is last year’s bell pepper plant.  I pruned it recently and it already has blooms.  These peppers are so delicious, with thin skin and few seeds.  I am adding epsom salts to make the leaves green again.

Don’t forget that your container plants require plant food more often, and only use organic.  There are so many now, and no one needs chemicals!