Eating Greens to Save Green
Create a "Pot" Garden and Save Money
Apartment Grown Container Tomatoes
I am a disabled single woman in a second floor apartment with no yard space that would like to grow a container garden of tomatoes and possibly strawberries. The prices are so high I can no longer afford these favorite foods.
I would love advice on indoor container gardening. I know it is possible because as a child I knew people who grew vegetables in their house. I am sure there must be someone in the Dollar Stretcher community who can help me with this. I do have good sun in the windows from the North and South for about four hours each way every day.
Ila in Southern Coastal Maine
Check out your local Master Gardener organization. They are connected with land grant universities. I attend free workshops and shop at their low price plant sales. They have demonstration gardens often at apartment complexes for the elderly and disabled. They are a great resource on indoor container gardening and can provide individual advice specific to your area and needs.
I'd suggest the Topsy Turvy Tomato and Herb Planter . There's not much heavy soil and no drainage problems. Also, they're easy to maintain, and they do a good job on both strawberries and tomatoes. They wouldn't take up much space, and you wouldn't be left with a container full of soil in the winter.
I had a bad experience with using soil inside. Mine had house gnats and didn't drain properly. Without consistent full sun for many hours a day, the soil in containers tends to dry out on top and remain wet underneath.
I have a few thoughts regarding tomatoes. Buy plants at a nursery or even Home Depot that have a VNF classification. Re-pot in a two- to three-gallon container with a saucer underneath. Good drainage is a must. You will have to use a potting soil. Over-watering is the #1 killer of plants. Wait until the soil gets almost dry to touch and then water. Wait again for it to get almost dry. Consistency is the key. Feed with a non-acid solution like Miracle-Gro and follow label directions. Put some egg shells on top of soil. The calcium will help prevent end rot.
I think your biggest problem will be how to stake the plants. They will grow to three feet high and 18-20" wide. It takes a big window for that. Some good varieties are 100 cherry tomatoes and supersonic. There are plenty of other suggestions on the web but there may be too much information and warnings, which tends to become discouraging.
There is an excellent website by Kerry Michaels at containergardening.about.com. She also sends out weekly e-mails. She responds almost immediately if you e-mail her about your particular concerns.
Lisa in Princeton, NJ
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