In the past, whenever I’ve tried to grow vegetables, it’s been a miserable failure. Our soil is lousy, my attempts to manually till it are pathetic, and when I get home from a long day at work I have about 2.5 minutes of patience left for standing around spraying the garden with a hose. Not surprisingly, vegetables do not thrive under these conditions.
But then E got a flier advertising the GrowBox planters from The Garden Patch. It looked pretty simple: fill the top of the planters with good soil, fill the bottom reservoir with water, stick in some seeds, and watch the plants grow. So we ordered 3 of them. They came with nifty weed-control covers that contained fertilizer and had printed numbers plus instructions on which numbered spots to use depending on which veggies you were growing. For example, if you’re planting cucumbers, you can put 6 in one box, at spots 1 – 9 – 17 – 2- 10 – 18. As E said, the instructions are perfect for someone like me (i.e. mildly neurotic and compulsive.)
So I planted green beans in one, cucumbers in another, and green peppers in a third. After several weeks, the beans and cukes were doing well, but the peppers weren’t doing much of anything. I think it’s because we bought good name-brand seeds for the beans and cukes, but the peppers were some no-name brand of seed from the discount rack at the hardware store. So I replanted the third box with leeks and chives, and they haven’t had much time to do much yet, but you can see how amazingly well the beans and cukes are doing. This is 51 days after those were planted. (See, mildly compulsive and neurotic enough that I keep this sort of record.) The white lawn chair is to give you a sense of scale, at how much plant growth is overflowing from these plastic planters.
Here’s a side view. See the hole on the side of the planter at far right? That’s where you pour in the water. I can grab the hose and top these things up well within my 2.5 minute after-work patience span.
A few days ago E asked when we were going to get cucumbers out of these things. I consulted seed packets and my calendar and estimated it would be a few more weeks. Then yesterday, when I was refilling the water, I moved some leaves aside and realized we have a ton of little cukes in there! And when I checked today, those little ones were noticeably larger. I poked around under the leaves, and our current contender for largest cuke is nearly as long as my foot, although given how abundant these leaves are, an even larger one could be lurking in there somewhere.
Looks like we’re really going to be able to eat garden veggies this year! And soon!