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If you are using manure tea to amend the soil in your there are a couple of different ways that you can use it. Directly in the reservoir container. If you made your self-watering containers with the pipe, you can pour the manure tea into the pipe as you would normally water. If you aren’t using the pipe, then you can remove the planting container and pour...

The one question that I most often get from people is where I get the containers for my garden from. When I posted a question on Facebook asking what posts people would like me to write, it was mentioned again by some friends. The first thing is that I never buy the containers brand new. I don’t for a few reasons. The most important is that I don’t want to use any unnecessary resources...

A common excuse that people often give to not grow their own food is that they don’t know when or how much to water their plant. I was away from my balcony garden for nearly two weeks during the holidays. While on vacation, I did not once travel back home to water my garden. This wasn’t the first time that I was away for an extended period of time without having someone water the containers. That doubt and thought started to creep into my mind as well. Some of the plants I started from seed and weren’t doing too well....

I have about 10 self-watering containers on my balcony garden. In taking care of them, I’ve started to notice that the reservoir containers have been starting to stank and form algae. The reason for this might be because there is no room for the air to circulate. The air can get in through the overflow hole, but no other way to get out. What I’d recommend is to add 2-3 additional drainage holes around the reservoir container to allow the air to freely circulate. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3Bkaytx2zE ...

We know that you need to feed your plants and amend the soil in your container garden. Here is a quick how to on amending the soil. You’ll need the following: Container that is free of plants Cultivator Compost Water How to amend the soil: Use your cultivator to break up the soil Add some compost to the container Work the compost into the soil Water the container and let it drain through Your container is now ready for the next round of planting. httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIv2lkvxX2A ...

Nearly all of my urban gardens have self-watering containers in them. They work great on a balcony, fire escape or any other space that doesn’t have soil. If you’re still trying to figure out what you can grow in small/medium sized container, check out this site for a list of plants and seeds that grow well in containers. Self-watering containers are different...

One of the questions that people frequently ask me is revolved around the health concerns of growing in the plastic containers. Is it safe to grow in plastic containers? Is it leaching harmful toxins into the soil, water, plants and eventually my body. I honestly have no clue, nor do I claim to. I think there is a valid concern in those beliefs and generally avoid...

Now that I’ve remembered to amend the soil in my container garden, I’m going to be running a side-by-side test of soil amendments. Here is the test that I’m going to run. I have two cucumber containers on my balcony garden. In one of them, I have amended the soil with straight compost. The other container I have watered with the cow manure tea that I brewed up. The plant that I used the cow manure tea already started out slightly smaller than the other, but I want to test and see if the manure tea help to promote better...

Here’s another creative gardening idea for those of you with limited space. It’s a self-watering container made out of a 2 liter soda bottle. This self-watering container is made out of a soda bottle, an old t-shirt (or cotton string) and some newspaper. That’s it. Hard to get much cheaper than that. I had seen the idea on Instructables a while back and have been wanting to do it since. These are just another option for you to start growing your own food besides the coconut shells, hanging soda bottle planters, cinder...

One of the best parts about making self-watering containers for your garden is that it’s cheap. Most of the supplies needed are either already laying around the house or you can easily get in your neighborhood. The best part is that you can grow a ton of different herbs and vegetables in containers just like this. Here is a list of seeds that grow well using...

The leaves around the base of my kale and lettuce plants are yellowing around the base. I’ve used coffee grinds as a fertilizer to help with this issue. I think two of the main culprits causing the yellowing leaves could be lack of drainage for the soil or nutrients. I don’t think it’s drainage because there are plenty of drainage holes drilled at the bottom of the self-watering containers. That leaves me with lack of nutrients as the reason. Coffee grinds are a simple and cheap way to provide the plant with the nutrition...

When I started my balcony garden this year, I changed up how I was making the self-watering containers. Last year I used vinyl tile to separate the reservoir from the plant and soil. It worked well and served it’s purpose, but I learned my lesson when breaking them down. The containers froze up, and I had to wait three months until I was able to break them down. As I was breaking them down, I noticed that the weight of some of the soil and plants was causing the tile to break. This caused the plants to become to wet and not allow...

My winter container gardening ended in December, so I started to break down the self watering containers at my Grandmother’s. Once the sun went down the cold became freezing and I had to stop. When I woke up the next morning to finish breaking down the containers, they were frozen solid. All of the soil that I had been storing in the wheelbarrow was frozen as well. Unfortunately, I can’t do much until the soil defrosts, which I don’t see happening in the next few weeks. So I’ll have to wait to break down the rest. There...

With this being my last post of the year, I wanted to share with you my favorite moments from UrbanOrganicGardener. This might seem a bit self-serving, but when I first set out and started this project my goal was to get just one salad. It’s turned into a bit more than that. I’ve been able to get that salad (and many more), but I’ve also been able to connect personally with many of you and that’s really been the best part. So I’ll close out this year with some of my faves: Like I said my goal was to get one...

I set up the small plastic greenhouses last week on my fire escape and backyard vegetable gardens. When I had set them up on my fire escape, I tied some strings up at the top to support the weight of the plastic and debris that fell on it. I didn’t do the same with the ones in the backyard. So after a few days of rain and me not being there to drain off the water, the weight of the water fell onto the plants causing them to flatten out a bit. There is no excuse for that happening except my laziness. I drained the water off the plastic,...

Last month, I planted kale and lettuce in the container that I harvested my celery from. At the time, I wasn’t sure if the the kale and lettuces would grow because of the celery root. Little did I realize that after being harvested, the celery would continue to grow. So now the containers have celery growing along with lettuce and kale. I don’t think it’s the optimal growing situation because I already know that celery plants like to grow in their own containers. Much like “Ebony and Ivory” they are living...

Now that I’m over six months deep into this gardening game ‘m starting to notice a pattern in some of my plants. There is something wrong with their growth. The cauliflower has yet to head and the cucumber leaves are yellowing. Now my spinach plants are starting to show some ill effects as well. They are getting some brownish dots on their leaves. The one commonality between all of these plants is that I did not feed any of them. After I finished my initial planting with soil and compost, I never added more compost and nutrients....

Up until this point I’ve been pretty lucky with the pest problems in either of my gardens. The fire escape garden has a built in defense from pests being on the fourth floor. My backyard vegetable garden doesn’t have that luxury. Back in June there were some small signs of pest problems, but nothing horrible. The containers seemed to be a pest deterrent. I’ve since expanded to more than containers though to cinder block gardening and during my final fall planting used traditional pots. The pests seem to be much more...

I finally found a way not only to use phone books, but to use them in your container garden. Since fall has quickly arrived, the weather’s dropped. I’ve been planning to build a hothouse, but don’t think that the weather has dropped to that point yet. As a first step to building one on my fire escape garden, I knew that I wanted to raise the containers off of the cold metal. The initial plan was to fold up cardboard boxes and place them under the containers. That plan changed when I went running the other day. As I...

I’m still figuring out what to do with my cucumber plants because the leaves are yellowing. It’s just over a month since I moved my cucumber plant across the yard. The plant was moved for a few reasons. First being that it was outgrowing the trellis that I built for it and needed more support, so I moved it close to the fence to train it up. The second being that the leaves were yellowing, which I thought was due to sun exposure. The plant is growing along the fence, still bearing fruit and blooming. That’s nice, but...