Sunday, February 19, 2012

Containers and More Repotting


First thing we had to do is to choose the material type of our final containers.  Believe it or not, the composition of the container matters.  Here are a couple of links that discuss this subject in some detail:

We chose plastic containers because of the price.  The container gardening websites I read suggested that the containers at least 5 gallons in volume, to ensure room for adequate root growth and to retain moisture. 

Here are pot sizes from an Iowa State Extension office publication:

I think these sizes are a tad small, but the extension agents definitely know better than I do.

We selected two container sizes:

The containers we used.  The square shape maximizes soil volume per floor space used.

The bottoms of these containers did not have drainage holes.  Drainage is essential for plant growth; without proper drainage, the roots will rot.

We drilled several 1/4" drainage holes in the bottom of our containers.   Some websites recommend even larger (~1 inch) holes than this, but I didn't have a drill bit that large.  Here are some drainage rules (we broke some of them).
I added coarse-gravel-sized,  crumbly-vesicular, volcanic rock to the bottom 3 inches of my container to keep soil from seeping out of the drain holes.  Older sources indicate that rocks at the bottom of a container are good practice, but some websites say that coarse material at the bottom will inhibit proper drainage.  I guess we will see.

A pan (intended for muddy boots) to catch drainage water.

The soil and base rock that we used for the container.  We broke some more rules by using this soil, because the bag says "not intended for containers."  My guess is that the soil does not have the optimal fertilizer ratio and drainage/moisture retainment properties.

So far, we have only transplanted the cucumbers into our containers.  We decided to put two plants in the container; I am unsure if we are overcrowding them.

Hopefully, the small plant and aquarium florescent bulb provides enough supplemental light.


We depleted our previous seedling mix, so we decided to try something new.  Its not as fluffy as the other stuff, but it seems to do the job (though this garden forum might disagree).

We transplanted the hillbilly and roma tomatoes into peat pots filled with our new  starting mix.

We also made a second attempt at germinating California Wonder sweet bell peppers.  Our first attempt failed.

We tossed the red home-made germinator, but kept the other one (pictured), because it seems to do a good job.  We'll see how it does for these pepper seeds.

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