I just came back from a week long vacation to my home town in Toronto, Canada. Like many of you I worry about my garden when I go away for more than 3 days. Are my vegetables going to survive in the hot and humid days of summer? What about the Calibrachoa and Lobelia that needs constant watering, are they going to make it? Will the Earthboxes do what they were advertised? I had my fingers crossed and here's my checklist.
Drip-it Pro Watering System - I don't have much luck with these but it's better than nothing. Last time I used them the water level was the same after several days and I couldn't figure out how to make it work.
Load up the two Earthboxes with water.
Watering crystals - first year I've used these and they seem to do a decent job. I mix them with the soil and use them mostly for the plants under shade. So far the plants only need occasional watering on hot days. I don't use them for edible plants because I'm not sure if they are scientifically proved to be safe.
And hope for the best! Stay tune for my next post to see what my garden looks like after I come back from vacation.
Compare to last year, this year's first harvest is two weeks late! I didn't expect to see any eggplants until much later because of the crappy weather we've had the whole season. My japanese eggplants have been doing exceptionally well, I have two eggplants in one Earthbox and each plant has at least 5 eggplants in different sizes. It's best to harvest eggplants when the skin is shiny otherwise the skin will be too tough.
I wanted to make an Asian spicy eggplant dish, so I got two chilies from the Thai dragon pepper plant. I knew it was too soon to harvest the chilies because it's best to let the peppers develop the spicy seeds a little longer to get the maximum scoville count! These peppers were not spicy enough. It's fun to pop fresh peppers in my mouth right from the plant! But only for now when the peppers are still young, I dare not to do that for the older peppers! If you're interested to grow peppers, take a look at the Organic Gardening article about techniques and tips of growing different kinds of peppers.
Back in May I bought two Earthboxes, in one of them I have two types of tomatoes (Sprite and Siberian), the other Earthbox I have two Japanese eggplants. Despite the amount of rain we've had in the past couple of months, I'm happy to report that all of them are doing really well and thriving. As you can see from the pictures below, the tomatoes are about six feet tall with lots of tomatoes (still green at the moment). Eggplants are also growing strong with about 10 eggplants in total.
Overall I'm very satisfy with the Earthbox. It has made the watering very easy and you don't have to worry about over-watering--when you see water coming out from the spout on the side that means enough. Also, no fertilizer is needed during the season except at initial planting time. We've had a couple of hot and humid days and I had to water them everyday but most of the time I've been watering it every other day. The only thing I'd like to change is the tomato cage. I was trying to save some money and bought the cheap steel tomato cage. One day we had a really severe thunderstorm with wind gust up to 60 mph, the tomato cage tipped over and almost broke the plant in half. Now I have a twist tie to secure the cage against the deck railings.
Compare to last year's Celebrity tomato planted in a normal container, these plants in a Earthbox definitely look more healthy and produces more fruits. The Sunset Magazine blogs about the Earthbox and compared it against a tomato plant grown in a normal pot. The writer talks about how she was a skeptic at first and became a convert. Take a look at Confessions of an Earthbox convert.
From this to this:
Sprite tomato on the left, Siberian tomato on the right:
Two Japanese eggplants in one Earthbox side by side: