Monday, April 11, 2011

Better Boys and Bush Goliaths.

We're talking tomatoes, folks. 

Knowing that I don't have the most time in the world this year with wedding planning and such, I knew it would be ridiculous to try and create a proper vegetable garden this year.  Instead, I found the City Picker Patio Garden Kit online last week, and much to my surprise at our local Home Depot yesterday, they sold them.

The kit must be pretty popular as there were only two left out of a dozen or more.  The staff had opened one kit so that people could use the instructions manual in order to figure out what they needed to buy for it.  I grabbed the manual, and away I went:

Potting Mix (not soil!)
Dolomite Lime
Fertilizer granules: not time-released, and the three numbers between 5 and 15. 

After heaving those bags into my cart, I returned the manual and went to pick out my plants:

2 Better Boy tomato plants
1 Bush Goliath tomato plant
6 Marigolds
2 Snapdragons

I purchased the Marigolds as they are easy to grow, and they also help keep pests away from my tomato plants.

Because we keep our privacy fence gates locked from the inside and out, I had to carry all of the bags up stairs, through the kitchen, and onto the patio.  It was HOT yesterday, too. 

Within a few hours, I had this...

Now the Marigolds and Snapdragon on the left will be transplanted to a larger pot. 

The City Picker is in the center: it's a UV-safe Resin base with casters (wheels) so you can move it easily.  The black plastic on top is a "mulch cover" or weed blocker.  The little pipe in the foreground (if you can see it) is for filling the water reservoir.  The City Picker allows the tomato plants to draw water from the base, through the fertilizer and dolomite, and voila! You just pour water into the pipe daily, and when you see water dribbling out of the overflow hole on the side, you stop. 

Of course, I plant all of this, and now we have severe weather coming in tonight so I brought my plants inside, and I wheeled my City Picker inside, too (another great benefit!) 

I'll let you guys know how it turns out!


Greenscaper said...

Hi, did you have a problem inserting the casters? I had to use a hammer and rod to pound them in. That risks breaking the caster and of course it's not very user friendly. Good luck with your veggies. This is a convenient and productive way to grow them.

CM said...

Here in Roswell, GA we just placed 3 City Pickers to each side of our north facing deck steps, on every other row. (The steps are 15 1/2" deep by 8'.)

The bottom two are backed by a fan trellis set in dirt and attached to shepard's hooks at each side as anchors.

We did have to use duck tape to attach the black plastic covers since the clips provided didn't work for us and the covers were not uniform sizes - minor issues.

Best wishes for a bountiful harvest!

Jack said...

@Greenscaper: No, I didn't have any issues with the casters. Perhaps the hole in which they are inserted wasn't fully cleared when formed? The casters slid right in without any effort.

@CM: We have started off with just one City Picker (we wanted to start off small, and we're also saving money for our wedding in August.) Thus far, my tomato plants have grown exponentially, and based on their growth, I expect a plentiful bounty! :)

Greenscaper said...

Thanks Jack. I'm glad to hear that your casters were easy to install. Hopefully the problem I experienced was confined to a small number of planters.

CM said...

@Greenscaper: I only had trouble with inserting one caster. It gradually went in with a strong steady push.

@ Jack: Read that the potting mix can be reused for 3-5 growing seasons. That would be a real savings even with adding more dolomite & plant food. (I'm thinking that crop rotation would be needed, though nothing was mentioned about it.)

Figure the units are much cheaper than building raised beds and have more cost effective use of water. Read a lot about Earthboxes and other DIY SIPs at and before getting these. The size, fair price, availabilty and convenience of these won us over.

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

Jack said...

@Greenscaper: I would venture to guess with any garden kit that uses this type of UV poly resin there are some design flaws here and there (since they're mass-produced.) Here's hoping my confidence in the kits isn't thwarted with buying our next one, or I'll have a post that says, "remember me gushing about the patio kit....wellllll..."

@CM: We also did some research on building the planter boxes and raised gardens; however, we chose the patio garden kit as a "test run." With the limited time we have this year with the wedding plans and the fact that we don't plan on staying in this house for several years, we chose the Patio Garden Kits. I also read about reusing the potting mix though I'm skeptical about that as well.

Thanks for the Congrats!