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Growing an Abundance in Super Small Spaces: Want to grow fresh veggies but don't think you have space? Paul and Natasha will guide you step-by-step through the methods they have been using to grow fresh veggies in containers on their backyard patio. You'll learn what works, what doesn't, and how to grow an abundance in a very small area. 

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  • January 18, 2018
    10:45 AM

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So my name is Paul de singer This is my life in the Taj And yes yeah I was right. We're excited to be talking with you about how do you know gardening this yet last year has been an adventure for us with patio gardening We'll tell you a little bit more about our story and how we ended up here and what we've been doing in this presentation but real quick just to give you a vision of what's possible Mother Earth News had this article not too long ago I don't know the actual date I guess it was back in two thousand and two thousand and ten a lady was sharing about how she grew seven hundred dollars worth of food in one hundred square feet in her backyard and says Americans would realize astonishing savings on their grocery bill if they set aside a small amount of land for edible landscaping instead of growing so much grass so our session here is is titled patio gardening and we're going to talk a lot about growing on a patio and in containers but we're also recognizing that this is more than just patio gardening it's growing in a small space so maybe you want to grow in a flower bed or you know to tear up just a raised bed or to help a little bit of your lawn we're talking about how you can grow in abundance in a very small space when we pray real quick before we get started. Heavenly father we invite your presence to come and be in this room as we talk about growing food even if we are in tight spaces and pray that your angels will be with us and guide us in Jesus name Amen Amen so a quick little overview of what we're going to be talking about today we're going to start out talking about planning your garden planting your garden maintaining your garden and then harvest all in the context of growing in a small space because it is different then growing in larger spaces as we have learned from mix. Serious. So kind of him with. His hold Yeah OK so after we got married in the beginning of two thousand and sixteen I moved to the farm in Tennessee with Paul and we were living in our tiny house on a lot of land and it was awesome and we had a portion of that that was in it in crops Paul's parents were also market gardening that year so they were growing down in front of our house and then we were growing down in front of our house and then there was just this large amount of you know grass beyond that and then beyond that the fields and the neighbor hay is the field so those just this tiny house and a lot of land and then last March we moved up to Virginia for a temporarily we still have our home in Tennessee but we temporarily moved up to Virginia to work in the Phyllis evangelism training school and up there we are living. There we are living in a basement apartment of a large house on a very very small amount of land so it's kind of from one extreme a tiny house a lot of land to a large house and a tiny amount of land just little postage stamp of land and so when we moved up there like OK readjust here we go from having all this land and a hoop house to having just basically lawn and we're not the homeowners we're just living in the basement apartment and so we can't tear up the grass because it's not our lawn to put in some grubs and there's some flower beds but they want to landscapes they don't want to planting in the flower beds that took at that option and so basically what we had they were very generous and they were OK with us growing on their back patio so that left us with the patio and some steps going down into our basement apartment and that's what we had as options for growing and then of course you have indoors too but we live in when you're growing indoors you have to do lighting and we're going to talk about the. But later but you know we live in a basement so anything that we grow down there you're going to be having to do artificial lighting right so we had to readjust the way we thought about growing and we did and the grew an amazing amount and we loved it we learned so much in the process and I'm going to tell you why if you have a very small space he have just a back patio or even if you live in an apartment and you're and have to only grow inside there are options don't give out go for it and you will not be sorry as we go through this we're going to be sharing with you our successes and our failure you know would cause we learned things over this last year like Natasha said growing in a patio is a lot different than growing on the farm or growing in a large garden and so there were things that we learned and we could've had a much larger harvest than we did if we knew some of the things at the beginning so we'll take you through the whole process and share with you those things but it was really neat because forcing us to grow on this path in our patio garden opened up a whole new world on the toss and I run. On mine garden training school where we teach people through step by step how to grow their own food and you know probably prior to this most of our experience was doing large gardens but we realized that a lot of people like many of you in here probably have small areas that you're trying to grow in and how can you maximize that potential and so getting the experience ourselves enables us to be able to share with you some of the tips and ideas from from our garden so starting out with planning your garden the first thing that you want to do when you're dealing with a small space or one of the first things that you want to do is start looking at what locations do you have available to you and this so you want to start looking around your house your growing area and one thing that you want to do is try look for places that get the most sunlight if you were just in our recent class you know some of the same principles apply for a large garden or a small one look for a place that gets the most sunlight Thankfully for us in this situation this back this is a picture of our back patio and our garden growing and we'll tell you a little bit more about it but thankfully in our situation this back patio this. Side of the house was the southern facing side of the house which gets the most sunlight and so it was really the perfect ideal location to put our garden which was a real blessing because I don't know if they would have wanted all of the plants on the front side of the house so. It was a good situation but what kinds of places would you build a king for so you would be looking for potentially flower beds be looking for any deck space porch space although you know the advantage for porches for humans is that they're shaded the disadvantage of porches for plants is that they're shaded so you begin be looking at lighting so porch space deck space any patios any even steps you can you'd be surprised how much you can ground steps we learned that this last year so even steps and maybe if you're in an apartment and you have absolutely zero outdoor space then you'd be looking at what location inside your apartment could you maybe have a little stand really growing something and have some grow lights. About any Absolutely so you just look at least super creative the you know the time your space the more creative you need to be even a little window sills or anything like that if you do have a little yard maybe you can think about you know the lady in the news clip from other news where she grew you know just ten by ten that's not very big but she was able to grow a lot of produce in that or maybe a little raised bed so just think about your space think creatively what little locations can I tuck some plants preferably the more sunshine the better or do I need to be thinking about alternative light for my plants and then the other thing is when you're dealing with a small location another thing to keep in mind speaking about creatively is can I start growing vertically versus on the ground and so in our city. We did that specifically with the tower that you see in the middle there it's called a tower garden and we'll tell you a little bit more about it but it really was a game changer in our patio garden with what we were growing it gave the opportunity to grow a lot more food in the square footage that was right there by growing vertically versus just in regular containers. Another thing is to take advantage of the microclimates like Natasha was just sharing when you're looking around the different locations and I'll give you one example of this here this well a couple This is the southern facing side of the house so we get the most sunlight here so we've got our tomato plants here and they really like a lot of side are right you know they want eight to ten hours of sun a day and that is great we've got our our pepper plants and a couple eggplants over here and then here we've got some bays all in a bunch of greens Now what we did was when we first this is actually our second planting on our tower garden our first planting on our tower garden we had some squash down below and what we did is we put the cold cold cooler weather crops on the back side of the tower where they would get more shade and we put the crops that like more sun like the basal and the squash on the front side of the tower they'll get more sun So you're starting to think about microclimates What are some small different. Small tweaks that you can do to maximize your space so that worked that works well now the nice thing about this our garden is it can spin so you can you can rotate it if you need to but another thing that we did similar with that is and we'll show you a picture later on but behind the tomatoes here we have a little herb container that's up next to the patio next to the deck I should say the stairs coming down and that was a spot that gets more shade. Right because they've got the stairs by in the sun goes over and it casts shade on it much earlier in the day so we put our herbs there because they don't need as much sunlight so you start thinking about microclimates when you've got a small space the places that get more shade you're going to be putting your herbs in some of your greens the places that get more sun you put the plants that mean more sunshine. And then you have raised beds and containers as options. Of what you're going to be growing in in those locations so maybe you're growing in a raised bed or containers like we have here or a tower garden like we have in the picture there and then the next step and these are kind of all together because they go together the next step is choosing what to grow and then true zing which crops go go where so what you want to do is sit down with a piece of paper and write down all the different things that you want to grow you may not be able to grow every single thing that you write down but it'll give you a starting place to get started for up so right now and everything that you want to grow and then you start choosing where you're going to plant those crops and that may depend on your micro-climate So you see how this whole process all fits together and you say after you've written down everything that you want to grow then you say oh I've got all of these herbs here and I'm going to be putting them over in this corner because it gets a little bit more shade and I need the sunlight space for the to me as everyone tracking does that make sense. Or alternatively if this if this was our home and we could have the option of planting in some of the flower beds there are more you know aesthetically pleasing plants that you can plant maybe amongst the other shrubbery and the flowers so maybe on the east or the west side of the house where they have some beds that have landscaping we would consider putting some of the leafy vegetables there that don't need as much sun and that could also potentially extend their season further into the summer from the spring into the summer. Because those size of the house are a little bit cooler so you want to think about those things too you'll see on the back here the back of the patio because it's sitting on you know on paved stone and alternatively in a little bit you'll see pictures of our steps going down and we could have put some things down at the bottom of the stairs entering into our apartment the problem with that is that it's all cement and stone and so that location gets much hotter right and then additionally even just sitting on the patio it gets hotter because the those rocks absorb the sun so they're getting hot from above and hot from below and so the the leaves in particular the levy vegetables the kale the chard the collards they don't like that heat so much so you can sort of be creative about OK is this a crop maybe the tomatoes that need more warmth or is this something that needs more cool and then look at your space and plant them creatively based on that. So when you're dealing with small spaces. Creativity comes in handy thinking about and taking the time to spend a little bit more time to think about your specific situation and what can what can grow where in it so the first step is planning your garden making that list of things that you want to grow and figuring out where you're going to grow them if you're going to get a tower garden if you're going to grow in a raised bed which flower beds you're going to use and start mapping out where they're going to grow the next step is planting your garden and this is where right when we just started planting we just transplanted the Greens in the tower you can see our tomatoes are just transplanted in here and our herbs are behind that bush I think. So next up is planting your garden and the big question especially especially when it comes to containers and for both pots. Container pots and the tower garden if you're growing in the container is you know what soil mix are you going to use and what is the most ideal for growing in that situation it really starts with the soil whether you're growing in a container or whether you're growing in the main garden the soil makes a big difference and so if you're going to grow in a container. We highly suggest using a potting mix to grow in it's like a soil less makes it doesn't actually have soil from the ground outside but it's a mix that is mixed together and then you add nutrients to it and we'll talk about that in in a minute here what kinds of fertilizer you would use but some tips on the the mix itself. What happens with the regular soil like you can take soil out of the garden and put it in your container what happens often though is that it easily Compaq's and becomes very heavy for your plants and so the main benefit or one of the main benefits for using a soil this mix is that it keeps your soil that your plants are growing in light and fluffy Usually these mixes have a peat moss base that's kind of the base to them is peat moss and they'll have a mix of peat moss compost and then oftentimes they'll all maybe have like a nutrient mix mixed in with them already. And then also these little white dots so you guys to single potting mixes with out the little white dots those white dots are called vermiculite or another one is called perlite and they what they do is they help with arm holding water and they also help with drainage they just add a little space in the in the mix to help with drainage hot water drainage so that's helpful so the main thing that I would look at. With getting a soil Mannix is to make sure that it's a peach Moss base. What you here's what you don't want and what you can easily end up with if you just go to the store and get a mix for a potting mix you can easily end up with a mix that when you take it out of the bag it looks like kind of half decomposed bark chips. And that I would not suggest growing in that all right you can you can get those mixes at the store and this is why I'm telling you about it because oftentimes that's what will be sold as a potting mix. And I would personally go with a Peter Maass bass it's lighter and. It has usually some compost mixed in with it like I said and so you just look at the ingredients and you say and what you're looking for the main things you're looking for is peat moss compost and usually all have like the perlite or the been making and oftentimes they'll also have like a microbial. Inoculate in it as well like they add a bunch of microbial life to it as well with the compost and that can be huge really beneficial for your garden as well it will keep your plants. Healthier and the soil lighter the next question yes. You can use coconut court if you want to mix up you know if you go to the store it's really hard at least I have a fail and pre-mixed that uses coconut corn but some people do have like a concern about the sustainability of Pete moss and still like you want to go with coconut core and that's absolutely possible you can go with coconut core and mix one up yourself and then I would do like. What I can I can give you like this soil mix that we make ourselves on on that we've done ourselves so. What we what we. Done is now it's been like a year since I've been on the farm so I got to see if I can remember it. We would do three three parts of Pete Masa where you could replace it with the coconut core and three parts of. Of compost so it's like three parts of Pete last three parts of compost and one part of the perlite for making light and mix that all together trying to think if and then you would and then we would add a fertilizer mix to that to add the for the nutrients to it yet we like if you were to using worm castings you would replace the compost with worm castings and we do we've done it with castings too so that's an excellent excellent way so three parts and if you want to if you want like our official recipe because we haven't broken down into like you know one gallon this one gallon that etc I can give that to you play in I can try and see if I can upload it with the presentation if you guys are interested in the presentation. Yeah or you can count come by our booth but that's a great one. Alright so the next thing is your fertilizer and. We go I talk a little bit more about the fertilizer a little later but what it's incredibly important when growing in a patio a specifically when you're growing in a container or tower garden your fertilizer becomes much more important see out in the ground it's going to have some nutrients in there already but here you're adding whatever it's going to get right so it's in it's crucial to have a good fertilizer to be using So we'll share with you the best one that we have found so far that works the best. And then for raised beds and for flower beds you want to work on building up that soil that is already there and that can include adding some of the same fertiliser that you would put inside the containers or even on just more of a fundamental level adding some compost to that soil mixing it in building up the soil in your flower bed. All right. So anything Mr you on that all right so the next step here is choosing your containers What size do you need when it comes to growing on of how do you know for the plants that you have. Here it is an area where a lot of people make a mistake when growing plants in containers and it's a mistake that I've made. Before and that is it's easy to think that you can fit more plants into the container than actually will grow well in the size of the container under estimating the size that you need for the plants that you're growing plants I actually like to have a good amount of space so. In our online course we have a specific little course online for small space patio gardening and I share on there a resource that actually gives a recommend recommendation of container size for the different sizes of gardens and again I can give you the link if you're if you're interested in it just stop by our booth or come talk to us. But here's here's a general rule of thumb to go by all right the smaller plants can handle smaller containers and larger plants can hardly a larger container. Yeah wow. So I'll give you some examples so that you can visualize it for yourself when it comes to your garden if you're growing a tomato tomatoes what a large plant exactly a tomato you want to grow in a in a container that is around a five gallon bucket size a five gallon bucket size. So the containers that we grew our tomatoes and work five gallon buckets you can grow them in a five gallon bucket if you do that you want to make sure and put a drainage hole in the bottom so that you don't end up water logging your plant so when you. Looking at containers you do want to make sure they have a hole in the bottom for it to be able to drain but for a large plant like a tomato you want a five gallon bucket size for a little bit of a smaller plant like a pepper or an eggplant you can come down to like a twelve inch part twelve to eighteen inch pot these pots here were about this tall by about a foot around and they grew our eggplant some peppers very well in them so you can see how you can as the plant gets a little smaller you can go to a little bit smaller of a pot now let us plants are a little bit smaller you know you can use an eight to twelve inch pot for a lettuce plant same for like a kale plant or a colored plant I would say I would go closer to the twelve inch pot for killing colors though even. Yeah. I'll just add to that when we are working with our garden and by the way if you have a small space we cannot say enough good things about our gardens they really are awesome so if you have a really small space really seriously consider investing in that and even you know if we move back to a place where we have a lot of space like if we go back to a tiny house on the farm I would say that we keep that our garden and I would probably plant something like strawberries in it because that's how our garden has basis for fifty plants and fifty strawberry plants can produce a really nice cup of strawberries for you or you can add two more layers and have up to seventy plants plus the surface so you can know quite a bit in that tower garden but you want to be growing things that can tolerate smaller amounts of fruit space because by the end Well actually by probably a month in that that tower garden is just like solid roots all those plants in there and the tar garden actually. Advertised that you could grow squash in it so we were like OK let's give it a try let's let's grow try to grow some squash in the lower level of the tower garden I would not do it again because it really just is not and not base for that plant it's a lot larger So if I when we grow squash again this next summer it will just give it its own pot as large of a pot as we can possibly give it and just leave the tower garden to roots herbs you know probably not roots the herbs the leaves. Maybe even small roots like radishes or something on top but just those are the sort of things that Forte in the in the tower and they do much better. Exploit. All right so that's some quick tips on when it comes to choosing your to containers and what sizes you need. There is kind of a neat thing and that is self watering containers how many of you've heard of self watering containers All right yes yeah some of you some you have experience using them awesome basically what it is is it creates a reservoir. Underneath and then your plant your container. So you have a reservoir of water at the bottom and then you have a working system that comes up to the soil and it wicks the water up at a natural rate kind of like when you put in water in the water starts rising up the T. shirt so it works it up in a natural weight rate and you don't have to water your plants or I should say you only have to water it much less frequently like every couple of weeks you know it might use up the water in that reservoir and then you just refill them you refill the reservoir so you can actually make your own self watering planters and we have a little video online in our online course where we show you how to make a self watering planter for yourself that you can use or you can buy them self watering plants from the store and they can be really helpful when it comes to watering it helps. Two things One it helps with a lot of people struggle with how much should I be watering my plants Am I over watering them am I under watering them what's happening and I get that question that comes big comes back to me from gardeners and so the self wandering you don't have to worry about it because it waters at a natural weight and you never have to worry about overwatering or underwater and the other the second thing that it helps with is just the fact that you don't have to worry about forgetting to water your plants and you can go for a much longer time without watering them a little bit later on briefly about growing micro greens and it was a real game changer with our Mike or greens I set them up on a self watering system I invented like a little tray system that would water themselves and Natasha and I could literally plant the micro greens and we could go on the trip we did this we went on a trip I think it was to the AG conference last year or says some other weekend trip we came back fourteen days later we didn't come back fourteen days later but fourteen days after we planted them we came back and harvested them and we never had to touch them in between and they just grew beautifully so it's kind of like you grows on autopilot by itself. So those can be very helpful in your garden to set them up with a self watering system you don't have to worry about forgetting to water them and they'll thrive on their own. So we talked about the tower garden and Natasha was sharing it with you like literally we would encourage anyone to get a tower garden the tower garden we use is from a website called. Garden tower project I think. I can give you a link to it as well so. Come and talk to us afterwards if you're interested in one all right then what about planting your garden when it comes to the actual varieties. With this one I think you largely are going to have to do trial and error for your circumstances and your microclimates around the house you know are you looking maybe you need a type that's more heat resistant because of where it's placed or maybe you need something that is more. Maybe it doesn't drain very well maybe you're growing in a flower bed it doesn't have that great of drainage so look for varieties that have the strengths that you need depend in your microclimates and then just by experimentation find out what works for you for instance and our little our little herb pot there this is just yeah that gets the it gets more shade and this is not too long after we planted it but I'll tell you out all the way on the right hand side is some salon trips hard to see kind of in that picture and I I transplanted that salon show in there and it was the most unhappy thing like it immediately tried to bolt and it really shouldn't have been bolting quite that that that cool because really wasn't quite hot enough for it to be doing and I started I was trying to sniff it back and finally I was like you know if you if you don't want to do this I'm not going to fight you so the salon sure was just upset and immediately I don't know if it was because of the way they handled it previously at the nursery then you can see there's there's the curly parsley all the way on the left hand side and I put that thing in there and it sat all season hardly grew was not very happy either and in the mill I put I talian parsley and I tell you what that thing took over the rest of the herb ox it was beautiful all season all the way through the heat of the summer all the way into the fall after summer I mean that was the most resilient stuff and furthermore like because of her pot was was located it was behind the other taller plants and so I forgot about it continually chronically did not water it it went through every kind of abuse and is still that Chalion Parsley was still raging and you know what this year I'm just planting a telling parsley because I. I don't know why should I buy it with you know this other stuff that feels like it's being stressed I may try some of the others again in their own thing but I'm going to dedicate something to Italian parsley because it grows well in that area in that little microclimate in that situation and plus it's really resilient to a free if we leave on trips or something and it doesn't get watered it handles it very well so just by you know by experimentation find out what works well depend on your microclimates around your house on your patio on your deck wherever it is and then just stick with those so that may take some some you know experimentation some trial and error some seeing some happy plants and seeing some very unhappy plants but you'll learn and you know go with what works well. All right so you figure out and it may take some trial and error like Natasha said to find the best variety that works for you and your situation. Then there's the question about direct seeding versus transplanting Now the difference if anyone is just kind of wondering what the difference between that is direct seeding as planting the seed directly into the area it's going to grow up to its mature state transplanting would be starting a seed like inside and then transplanting it out. In a in a container gardening world it's a little bit more forgiving to planting your plant directly into the container like you can seat it directly into the container if you did that I would encourage you to seed more than you want and then thin back because you can easily like if you just plant like say you have a container you want to plant kale if you just put one seed in and it doesn't germinate then you've got to plant another seed and then your legs you know and you're just wasting time so plant a few seeds as they sprout then them back down to the one that you want to keep. At the same time I I like to transplant maybe that's. Partly because you know living on the farm for so many years that's what we did all the time but the nice thing about it too is that you can start all of your plants in environment that you can control a little bit more you can give your plants the best possible start in life and you can start them in a small space so you can take care of all of them at once in a small area and then you can transplant them out to the pots that you're going to grow them in so I personally would encourage transplanting most of that now the ones that you might want to direct seed would be like if you're growing radishes or something where you have a lot more seeds in a location or even spinach like we direct seeded some spin and on the top of our tower garden you'll see a picture of it on top and that worked well and here's a little tip to maximize your your harvest from that area so with our spinach we planted our spend is really thick and then as they grew up we let them grow to Pearl little bit and then we thinned them and we and we could eat the thinnings right so you get more harvest from your area so you eat the things you let it grow a little bit bigger and you can thin it again and you can eat those things that are a little bigger and then your plants are thinned to the right space for them to really grow and thrive and then you can start harvesting your spin edge as an adult plant and eat those so you're harvesting along the whole way right and you're getting more from your space. And then there is growing indoors when it comes to growing indoors if you are going to grow indoors. Micro Greens are the easiest and the well frankly they're the easiest thing to grow indoors. Like Natasha was saying earlier on if you're growing indoors you're probably going to have to deal with lighting to a certain extent unless you have an area. If your house that has good windows that get lots of sunshine then you can possibly like we have a friend up in Montana that has a tomato plant that they've been growing indoors all winter long and it was producing tomatoes and it was happy and it was growing inside but they had it by a window that got that got sunlight so that is an option if you've got some windows if you're growing indoors think of where does it get the most sunlight in my house and then you could possibly put some plants there herbs are a great one to grow indoors if you want to grow them inside because they don't need quite as much sunlight so you can put them in a window and grow some herbs like that. Then you can use artificial lights as well and you can get specific grow lights. They're a little more expensive to get grow lights that are specifically designed for growing plants but another option like if you're growing use the example of my careens again if you're growing micro greens you can use regular fluorescent bulbs let you can just get at Lowe's you can get a fluorescent bulb stand you know one that is you know I don't know about that big and it's got the bulbs in it and you can just put it like in your shop type situation and you put the fluorescent bulbs in it the thing with regular fluorescent bulbs is that they need to be close to the plants so a grow light can be a little bit farther away from your plants but the regular fluorescent bulbs need to be within a few inches of your plants as they're growing so you might want to get a trace that you put your plants on that you're growing and then you have the flash some bulbs on top of them and you can hang the. With like a chain that you can lift like raise or lower the whole lighting system as the plants grow does that make sense. So that's the main thing to keep in mind when you're getting lights is that if you're using fluorescent bulbs you may need to lift them up and lower them down as. Plants grow because they need to be close otherwise grow light can just stay up at a higher level. And that is about lighting All right so what about maintaining your garden as it's growing Let's talk real quick about watering it's very easy in a container gardening situation with growing in containers for your plants to get water stress because the container like I mentioned before you want to make sure that he has good drainage that you have holes in the bottom the container for the water to go out if you don't then your water is king your containers can get water logged and your plants can drown and die that way but when it's got a good drainage they can dry out very quickly too especially if they are out in the sunny area because the sun just beats down on them and they've got plenty of area for the water to evaporate and to drain out so your plants can end up with water stress so let me tell you a little story of ours we kind of face to this head on in our gardening situation with you know we've got these tomatoes eggplant pepper our garden with all of these greens and Natasha and I. We do a significant amount of travel and that can be a real difficulty when it comes to maintaining a garden nevertheless maintaining a container garden because literally the container containers like we would have to be watering them every other day keep them otherwise they're drying out because of all of the sunshine so we ended up coming up to a situation where we were going to be travelling for I don't know a week or there was one time they were gone for like two weeks and literally for days ahead I was thinking what am I going to do with my garden how in the world am I going to keep my garden watered through that whole time because I really I realized that it. With the whole situation we were going to be gone and the people that could have possibly come and watered our garden they were either going to be gone or busy and so there wasn't any good solution to watering it and finally the day before we left this thought came into my mind and I was like Hey I wonder if I mulch my containers if it will hold the water in the moisture in and I just never thought of that before. Nobody had ever you know mentioned it before to me and so I was like I wonder if I'm most of them if it would hold them in so I went out there and you know in the flat on the flower beds the flower beds are mulched right so I went and I took the mulch from the flower beds and stuck it on to my containers and then I'll show you a picture later on with our tomato plants underneath the deck that was there they had like a gravel base and so I took the rocks and I mulch to the container with the rocks the key thing is just to create a layer a covering so that it keeps the water from evaporating so we mulch start containers watered them just soak to them real good and left and it was amazing when we came back our containers they did and for the rest of the season we would water we don't have to water every week every couple weeks to keep our containers doing well so it really cut down on the watering it was almost like going back to itself watering system but without the self watering system it just held the moisture in there so that's that is a really key tips that will save you a lot of time with your container garden yeah. I guess I have self watering planters in there again what about fertilizing your containers here's another thing that member told you at the beginning we'll share with you are our mistakes and our failures as well as our successes and when it came to fertilizing this started out as a little bit of a failure for us we started out and I was we were growing in our Tower Guard. And in our in our little pots in our plants we're doing good at first and I started out using this bio thrive in plant food it's a liquid fertiliser that has all natural ingredients in it and I would you know mix that with water and give it to the plants and the plants just for not doing that good not doing that good and I was trying to figure out why it worked why are they not doing that yet we use it for micro greens it works great for the micro greens but for some reason for my plants they just weren't doing good and I was trying to think like is it because it's just washing through really quickly because that can be a problem with containers as the nutrients can wash out of the container easily so I was thinking Is it just washing through really quickly because I would like fertilize and then it would rain really hard and then I was thinking maybe I was washing through but after a while I realized that. With the liquid nutrient and it actually says that on the container I should have paid more attention to it earlier on but this has most of your main nutrients but it doesn't have calcium and magnesium which is really important for your plants as well and so they say you should supplement with calcium magnesium product well I could not find any natural organic liquid calcium magnesium source usually people use like a synthetic fertilizer will I don't want to use a synthetic fertilizer with my crops and I I like I like using natural sources of her nutrients that. In fact I didn't even like using the liquid fertiliser as much because. I know that natural fertilizers like rock powders and stuff like that are better for your plants anyways than the liquid fertilizers So even though this is a natural liquid fertiliser. So after doing quite a bit of research I finally. And this all natural the going fertilizer mix that has a really good source of all of your main nutrients plus the calcium and then magnesium and you know micronutrients as well there's a couple reasons why I like this but first of all I'll tell you so I got it and my plants were all grown up like my tomatoes are big my peppers are big and I've got to figure out how am I going to use this fertilizer so I've got a it's a it's a powder fertilizer because it's got rock powders in it it's got like powdered kelp meal you know just natural fertilizers and you can add to your garden all mixed up together and so I open the box and took it out and I had to go in take off all of the mulching that I had put on to my containers and I scratched it into the top of the container and then watered it in to the plants and I I can tell you I should have put up a couple pictures of like a before and after but literally our plants just took off after fertilizing with this for Lies are like the are greens are swiss chard got leaves that were like huge way bigger than my hands are tomatoes took off and started producing tomatoes. Are eggplant. The flavor was amazing like literally and I'm not even joking because. We sat down one time we got a pepper from our pepper plant and we sat down and had a lunch with the couple that were staying with. And we added it to the salad and I tasted this pepper and it literally tasted better than the peppers that we had grown on the farm which is saying a lot. To this day I don't even know why I like it did and a dacha going to test to it so they. It's really good it's called it's from the company called down to earth all natural fertilisers you can get them on Amazon or we have a store online where that you can go to and get this from it's called Store dot borne to grow dot net is our own little store that you can get it and it will link you over to Amazon. To to purchase it. So. Yes. Yes So if you use this I just wouldn't worry about the bio thrive in fact I'm thinking of transferring my migraines over to this event but right now we're using the bio thrive for the micro greens but yeah this is what I would encourage using and with it being a vegan makes it just is kind of encouraging that you don't have to worry about questionable sources from animal products I'm not totally against using any animal products I just like to do my research to find out where they're coming from but with this you can just you know you don't have to worry about it right yes. I'm know it's a little bit more a little bit more than a teaspoon So it has recommendations on the box per like gallon of mix and when I did it like with my tomato plants and by pepper plants I put probably about close to a cup of it on my the pepper and tomato plants like between half a cup to a cup. So it's yeah. Yes so you can do it at the surface like we did it specifically like when our plants were already grown and with the tomato plant you'll probably want to do that part way through the season anyways just to give it an extra boost of nutrients they suggest doing it like. On the Box I think they suggest adding a little bit more like every month just because you're in a container and the nutrients can be watered out as well so they and tomatoes are heavy feeders so they're going to be using a lot of nutrients so you can scratch in and out the top but when you're playing ting Originally I would mix some of this into your whole mix potting mix Yes because you'll find. Because you'll find out like when you start growing your tomatoes and you take them out later on they'll be roots that go all the way down to the bottom of your container and that's why you want to a big container. With that with a raised bed you can you can just do it into the surface like six to twelve inches would be fine. With root. The name of toads we haven't personally had trouble with with the name of toads if you're growing in that container you're probably not going to have so much problem with the name of toads if you're in Florida and growing in the sandy soil that has a ton of then you know you might need to deal with. Those situations Yeah. All right anything you want to add. Nose is just a segue over into this next portion about passing Disease Control the two struggles that we had with our garden was water deprivation so we were either gone or if we fail to water them they would get stressed with with not having enough water and then if we weren't on top of our fertilizer and those two things it's very very easy for patio garden or a small space garden to you for the plants to become stressed for one of those two reasons and then immediately on the heels of stress plants comes past because they look for a stress plant and so then it would transition into OK now we're having to deal with past but again when pests appear we still want to go back to the root cause hey we stress that our plants by not giving them enough water or we've stressed our plants by not giving them enough food and so we would go back to those two things and address the issue at that level before we transitioned into then dealing with you know the crisis at hand yeah so for example with these ones this is some kale and some Japanese beetles that we had on our kill and I really believe that the root cause of this was that our plants got stressed they got water stressed and they also this was before we were using the better fertilizer that we were using later. And I'll show you a couple pictures. So like what do you do well I'll jump back to that but we also ended up with a problem with these little worms coming on our plants and there is you can write this down there is a product called Die pal it's an organic. It's a natural bacteria D I P L. It's a natural bacterial powder you mix it with water you can spray on your plants and when the when the worm eats it it breaks down their digestive system and so they can't eat anymore and they die and so we've used that on our plants and it worked very effectively but you can see this is what they do to the plants you know they just totally destroy So that was in our tower garden we did that we sprayed it with the well that took care of the worms we fertilize the plants and we never had a single problem with those worms for the rest of the season after that because you give the plant the extra nutrient boost to boost their system what would you do with larger press So here's kind of a pathetic story from our from our garden this past year our very first tomatoes of the season were coming on and we were super excited about it here they were they were beautiful we went out and we looked at them are like OK you know kind of counting down the days watching them ripen because you can pick tomatoes early and let them ripen you know indoors on your counter or whatever but they do not taste anywhere near as good as when you let them ripen on the vine right so we're waiting for them to ripen and I remember one time we came out of the out of the basement we were heading to work but we stopped and looked at our plants and we really like a tomorrow is the day to harvest these tomatoes we were really excited about it we left next morning I think we probably got home after dark that night next morning we came out of there there was not a sign of red anywhere on any of our. Tomato plants and we're like hello I mean we are I was like did a neighbor come and steal my tomatoes there is laid out. Right because the house the live in the basement of backs up to a golf course so there's people going past the patio all day long so like somebody nabbed our tomatoes because we went and the plants were completely undamaged unharmed No You know no appearance of them being wrenched or pulled by some creature so first year like someone stole our tomatoes every single one that was ripening all the green ones were left Well no indeed it was like probably two days later we found little pieces of skin it was the deer which was amazing to us because on the farm the deer had never bothered the tomatoes other crops maybe but not tomatoes but the deer had found those that night we were going to pick them the next day and they came and played and plucked without damaging the plant every single ripe tomatoes so be aware that even you know stuff growing on your very steps is not necessarily say see you may have to take other precautions now in the case of our tomatoes what we ended up doing is the deer would come in target them basically the day before we wanted to pick them and this happened a couple times they were terrible creatures so we. We ended up taking the patio furniture and if it was just like the day before or maybe even two days before we were ready to pick those tomatoes we would just put the table and the chairs and just kind of hedge hedge up a little barrier and you know the deer weren't brazen enough to climb over it maybe in a more country location they would try to jump but it's so close to the house and everything it's kind of a natural barrier for them and so just with the patio furniture we would be able to harvest our own tomatoes so get creative you know there are some times you may have to use patio furniture maybe moving in. Up onto the deck they probably wouldn't have climbed the stairs and gotten up on to the deck. Or netting You can also use netting if that's if that's fine probably in our particular location the homeowners associations really strict about the external appearance of the house so they probably wouldn't tolerate netting in our specific location we did think about it but be creative about what you can use also for you know larger pests like deer raccoons something like that yes. That's a brilliant idea brilliant idea so for those in the back they couldn't quite hear she has a they have a fig tree and they have just heard that if you hang feeder and the hummingbirds are coming in now from that big tree hanging in the fig tree the other birds will stay away because the hummingbirds dominate that area and the other birds don't like that competition and so will protect the figs from the other birds as opposed to just because of the hummingbirds that won't damage that's a that's a really brilliant idea. So you do want to be careful with us but once again. There are there are some things that you can deal with an insect pests immediately soapy water is another thing that you can spray on your insects that will take care of the insect immediately or like with the worms you can use dipole but then fertilizer plant give it immune boost and water it well keep it watered. Weed Control good news is that it's not usually a problem. With containers you don't usually have much weed problems but once again mulching can be helpful here you can see our little rock mulch on their tomato plants. Yeah I know this this was just with the rocks now. Yeah I know and I wouldn't I wouldn't worry about yeah there's no mulch underneath the rocks just rocks directly on and it's a thick layer of rocks so that it creates a good mulch. You know I didn't notice a significant difference between the rocks and the bark chip type mulch that we used on the other one and I wouldn't worry about the temperature Yeah. So but you know with the mulching you definitely don't have to worry about weeds and weeding in a container garden is not a. Much of a problem anyways what about composting I'll just rush through this because our time is up you can compost in a small area hey look you can see our spin edge that we grew on the top of the tower garden. There are composting tumblers that you can get for that work well for small spaces that you can use in that's this tower garden this tower garden center console is a composting tube that has holes in it where you can add worms to it and it creates a whole little ecosystem of its own so you put your compost scraps in there you want to have a good mix of browns and greens dry material and wet material and you put your worms in there and you creates its own little own little composting system with the worms come in and out and compost for you in the center there and they carry the nutrients back out to the plants so that is an excellent thing. Yeah and then it produces worm castings that you can harvest later. We are running out of time so I will just jump through here. Yeah we're going to do a classic on growing micro greens tomorrow so if you're interested in growing micro greens they are one of our favorites for growing in a small area these are the steps going down to our patio apart. To our apartment downstairs and we would just put them on the steps and means out there the my Koreans have up to forty times more nutrients than adult plants you can harvest them in fourteen days so it's a real Crick crop they grow anywhere you can set them up and we'll teach you how to do our autopilot system tray system so you can just set it forget it come back and harvest it later and. The other thing is that weight for weight they are still less expensive to grow than to buy an adult the adult plant in the store like you are going to buy kale in the store it's still less. Expensive to grow kale micro greens than to buy the kill in the store so they are just positive all the way around and we'll talk more about them in a class tomorrow. And then of course harvest harvest is the fun part of growing enjoy the work of your high Allan's if you're harvesting greens you can harvest the outer greens and let the center of the Greens grow more just to increase your harvest. With tomatoes going into winter when it comes to your frost go out there and harvest all the tomatoes off your plants and bring him inside because they'll ripen inside they might not taste as nice as a vine ripened one but you still get tomatoes that you can eat so that's an extra little tip these are eggplants and pepper and greens that we grew in our patio and of course enjoy your harvest enjoy the food that you grow. So that is a quick rendition of patio gardening this media was brought to you by audio for years a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about the universe or if you would like to listen to more sermons lead to visit W W W. Dot org.

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