Chris_CXC
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:33 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

My first container garden

Hello,

I thought I would introduce myself here: My name is Chris and I live in a rented house in Los Angeles, CA.

Because we rent and we have a small yard dominated by a large avocado tree, I'm forced to garden with containers.

I decided to go the 5 Gallon food-grade bucket route. My entire budget is less than $200.

I got myself an EasyBloom sensor and hunted for the best spot in the garden. Attached are my best results. I plane to continue using the sensor to monitor the garden for light, watering and fertilizing. I have to say, this thing seems amazing! Does anyone else use anything like it? It almost seems like cheating :)

I built myself a raised "rack" for the buckets to keep them off the lawn and limit the grass from growing up through the buckets. I used coated deck screws and I will seal this wood and paint it a dark brown to protect it as much as possible and keep it somewhat good looking.

I got some food-grade buckets from Home Depot and started some seeds for a fall/winter garden.

I'll keep you guys posted with progress along the way. Any comments and suggestions are welcomed!
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Chris_CXC
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: My first container garden

Seed Starter
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imafan26
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Re: My first container garden

You have quite a start. It is October and I know L.A. can grow some nice plants. It is unusual to start a garden so late in the year but it can work if you are growing kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and greens. It may be a little late to get much from the heat lovers like tomatoes, eggplant, and squash.

I have a lot of plants in containers. Most of them are orchids, but I do have some vegetables and most of my citrus trees in pots. I use a lot bigger pots 18 gallon or 20 inch pots. I find that bigger is better in terms of ensuring the plants get enough root space and dry out slower than 1 gallon pots (which I have a lot of). In my 18 gallon pots I plant tomatoes, eggplant, ginger, and citrus. Smaller pots 6 inch-7 gallons I have herbs, peppers, kale, araimo, and pineapple.

What are you planning to plant in your bucket garden?
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Chris_CXC
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 2:33 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: My first container garden

Thanks!

Yeah, it's totally a winter garden.

Based on what the EasyBloom recommended for the spot, I'm growing:

Carrots
Radishes
Parsnips
Beets
Kale
Spinach
Brussels Sprouts
Cauliflower
Turnips
Lettuce
Green Beans

Based on what I have seen other people do, I'm going to group things together to maximize the space.



Update:

I applied 2 coats of Water Sealer. I think I will paint it dark green tomorrow before work.


Checked my seed starter and found lots of little sprouts. They were planted about 6 days ago, so I think they are doing pretty good.

imafan26
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Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: My first container garden

Sounds like a great start. I hope you post pictures later of your progress.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

mhannum
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Re: My first container garden

Looks nice - I hope to see the photos!

Chris_CXC
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: My first container garden

I thought I would write a little update.

Shortly after posting previously, we decided to up and move to another house.... Needless to say, this paused the entire garden. The good news is, the new house's back yard is much better for growing and the landlady was ok with me adding beds.

I got to work and put my raised bucket system in action first:
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In there I have Tomatoes, Bell Peppers, Sorano Peppers, and new carrot starts I grew from seed. Behind the buckets I have a few pots with Tomatoes and a Dwarf Lemon Tree that is really loving the new place (it looked near death before we moved)!


I also made 2 raised beds:
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In there I have Tomatoes, Kale, Cucumber, Eggplant, more Bell Peppers (these are not doing so well) and a couple of left over carrot starts sprinkled in. In here I put a timed drip system - currently set to every other day for 35 minutes. Before it started getting pretty hot it was every 3 days.


In addition, I created some space on the side of the garden:
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Here I have some more Kale, Water Melon, Mixed Lettuces and Basil.


I just recently started some more Lettuce from seed as well:
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My son (5) brought home a cup with some Sun Flower seeds he had planted from school. We added them to the other starts and they flourished so far:
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Living in a city, it's good for him to know where food comes from (rather than a supermarket). He eats everything we grow, which is amazing!


I'm learning a ton and my son is really enjoying it as well. I'd love to hear any advice!
Last edited by Chris_CXC on Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: My first container garden

Beautiful! You have a gift for making everything neat, organized, attractive and you have clearly taken a thoughtful approach.

Just a couple comments. Can you really grow lettuce in July? It's generally considered a cold weather crop.

And a suggestion: Consider making room to tuck in some herbs and flowers around the edges of things. Not only is it pretty and wonderful to have the fresh herbs to cook with, but they are very attractive to beneficial insects, pollinators and predators of the bad-guy insects.

One example is that I never have trouble with tomato hornworms because I have lots of the plants that have nectar in tiny florets, that attract the tiny braconid wasps. These wasps don't sting and they are so teeny you never really see them. But they parasitize and kill the hornworms. Plants that attract them include yarrow, tansy, alyssum, anything in the carrot family (carrots, dill, parsley, fennel, etc) if left to flower, coriander, lemon balm and others.

Other good flowers and herbs for your garden include caraway, coriander, cosmos, butterfly weed, penstemon, marigold, lavender, mint, bee balm, thyme, sage, oregano, basil, anise hyssop. Let some of the herbs like oregano and sage flower a bit, honeybees love them.

You don't have to have all of the above, though diversity is good, but having at least a few will make a big difference. Also onions and garlic are easy to grow, don't take up much room, are nice to have from your garden and popped in here and there in the empty spaces around other things, help repel insects from your crops.

But note, what I am suggesting is part of a philosophy of gardening. You can't be working on attracting beneficial insects, honeybees, butterflies, etc to your garden and be spraying insecticides. One or the other.
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Chris_CXC
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: My first container garden

rainbowgardener wrote:Beautiful! You have a gift for making everything neat, organized, attractive and you have clearly taken a thoughtful approach.
Thank you! Yeah, my wife jokes that I'm borderline OCD :) I work long hour days, so the garden is my much needed hour of zen with my kid every day.
rainbowgardener wrote:Can you really grow lettuce in July? It's generally considered a cold weather crop.
I have no idea! I guess I will find out. I always assumed that Los Angeles weather let's me do many things others cannot. For example, I was able grow Tomatoes all year long last year. Generally it stays between 60-85 degrees where I live the entire year. I'm really just experimenting to see for now as I really have no clue what works and doesn't.
rainbowgardener wrote:And a suggestion: Consider making room to tuck in some herbs and flowers around the edges of things. Not only is it pretty and wonderful to have the fresh herbs to cook with, but they are very attractive to beneficial insects, pollinators and predators of the bad-guy insects.
Great info. Thanks for that. I was wondering about specific beneficials. I will see about sprinkling a few in this weekend. I might even try to grow some from seed as I've had some recent success with that.

So far I haven't needed to spray any insecticides yet. In case it get's bad, I have both Neem Oil and Insecticidal Soap. I think that's about as strong as I want to go. I'm trying to keep my garden as organic as possible.

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lakngulf
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Re: My first container garden

Good looking growing areas. Hope you have the best of luck with production. Those little ones seem to get excited about gardening activities. My avatar is a picture of my third grand child, when he was helping daddy with the garden.
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sunflower13
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Location: Eastern Washington Z 6 HZ 3-4

Re: My first container garden

Your garden looks great! I hope to move to a house with a yard very soon. For now, I am in a community garden.

Chris_CXC
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: My first container garden

Thanks for all the kind words guys!

I convinced the gardener to start collecting mulch for me from around the neighborhood. My yard doesn't really make much. I'm going to start mulching everything for ground cover next week.

In the mean time, I've been having so much luck seed starting that I added a table to my raised container frame for just that. I've started planning rotations and have radishes, beets (maybe too late, but we will see), arugula, more carrots, and cantaloupe.
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applestar
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Re: My first container garden

Looks like a great project. Though I think the seed starting area would be better in dappled shade?

I kind of like this idea that the buckets could be interchangeable and could be replaced as crops finish, although in terms of soil volume, framing and filling up the entire area as raised bed would hold more.

Have you seen the rain gutter self watering design for 5 gallon bucket garden? If I had a level surface to set these up on, I might try this with the floating switch valve automatic waterhose intake. Your bucket garden support might allow for this kind of modification.
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Chris_CXC
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: My first container garden

applestar wrote:Looks like a great project. Though I think the seed starting area would be better in dappled shade?


Interesting. Why is that? Is too much sun bad for seedlings?
applestar wrote:I kind of like this idea that the buckets could be interchangeable and could be replaced as crops finish, although in terms of soil volume, framing and filling up the entire area as raised bed would hold more.
True, I would gain some soil volume, but like you said, the interchangeability is fantastic. I'm constantly cycling things around as the season goes on and I change crops out.
applestar wrote:Have you seen the rain gutter self watering design for 5 gallon bucket garden? If I had a level surface to set these up on, I might try this with the floating switch valve automatic waterhose intake. Your bucket garden support might allow for this kind of modification.
That is brilliant! I love it. It may be the perfect solution for expansion of my garden actually. I really love to build things and make the garden bigger, but as I rent our house, I am really hesitant to spend time and money improving someone else's garden. This system I could go as big as I want with minimal investment and take it all with me when I move.

I'm going to look into it right away :)

Chris_CXC
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: My first container garden

Update:
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Now with mulch!

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