Thursday, April 22, 2010

Having Fun, Experimenting

I have been known to push the envelope a little. Okay, Okay, A LOT! I want to show you that a small space for gardening is only limited to your imagination. Today's blog is going to fit into the inspiration category.
I guess I should start by letting you in on a couple of not so secret, secrets. When it comes to food, it is only the wife and myself. We don't need a huge amount of food grown, though I do enjoy canning and preserving, so I grow a little more than we really need fresh. Second, I only live on about 1/4 acre of land. I tell you this so that you understand more the actual number of plants that I grow. We like a wide variety of things, so I grow more varieties of any one particular plant. It also gives me a better idea of what works and what doesn't.
Take this first picture for instance:

There are actually 10, 15 gallon containers here. You can't see one of them in the back, more on them later. Just to give you some perspective, the brown, beige trailer on the right is my neighbor. The containers are right on the property line.
Starting on the lower right of the picture is:
Pole Beans
Green Okra
Red Okra
Bush Type Beans
I know I can grow the Cowpeas in a container, I did it last year. The green Okra as well. Everything else is a pure experiment. I purposely planted everything close together, I wanted to see if it effects yield. Plus, I was not sure of the germination rate that I was going to get, some of the seeds were rather old.
The pole beans have that weird looking contraption in the container with it. That is a homemade support.

It is made out of some bamboo poles and some round support wire mesh rings, for lack of a better description. I got all of the items at one of the big box stores, Altogether,I think it cost around $5-$6.
The last grouping of pots at the end is my corn.

Raise your hand if you think this is not going to work.
There is actually five different varieties there. In case you want to know what kinds, they are:
Chihuahua 7
Yellow Sweet
Peaches and Cream
Early June
Yellow Dent

Here is my thinking on planting corn like this.
1) The soil warmed up faster and germination was quicker
2) They are grouped close together so that they pollinate each other easily
3) I tend to remember growing up, the seed package always said "plant 2 inches apart and 8 inches wide", or something like that. It never made sense to me. I was told that it was from the days of animal drawn implements, they needed the room to get down the rows. SO, I figure they really don't need all that room if I am not using my OX. He was a little tired this year anyway.
4) Have you ever been to a corn maze? They plant them like 2 inches apart and still get corn, so why not try it in a container?
I really have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
That middle picture with the bean contraption also has my six different varieties of cucumber in the background.....please ignore the weeds, that is on the agenda to do this weekend.
The varieties of cucumber are:
Straight 8
Ukraine Cucumber
Hermaphrodite Cucumber from Israel
Chinese long or Mandarin Cucumber
Early Cucumber
Heishui or Black Fruit Cucumber from China

I have many contacts from around the world and get to try all kinds of neat and unusual things. I have an insatiable need for the unusual.
As time goes on, I will be showing you more of my yard and some of the unusual ways I grow things, or attempt to grow things. I really intend this to be an inspirational journey. To get you to try new things, think outside the garden box as it were. Just because things work in the past, doesn't mean you can't try new things. You never know when you are going to get put into an unusual situation that the norm isn't going to cut it. Something I learned in the Marine Corps might be relevant here, Improvise, Adapt and Overcome! I have used it in many aspects of my life, including gardening.
Happy Growing!

1 comment:

  1. One year I planted my corn 6-8 inches apart and it was falling over. I mentioned this to a neighbor and he told me that he plants his really close so they don't. It looks like I'm doing a lot of veggies in pots too - I just put extra squash and cukes that were in flats into 6-8 inch pots.