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asleep at mal 9/09
Gardening advice 
7/19/10 14:30
asleep at mal 9/09
So, we've been doing a bit of container gardening on our back patio. Right now we have red and purple bell peppers, roma, betterboy, and cherry tomatoes, yellow string beans, and garlic in 2' x 2'x 2' deep planters on the deck with trellis on one or two sides. Plus basil, oregano, mint, and chives in hanging baskets above those.

But neither of us have a clue what we're doing other than to water the plants well (right now we're watering almost every day - it's dry and warm here, and all the planters have drainage holes so I don't think we are overwatering) and pick things when they're ripe. They're all against one of the walls, where they get 1-2 hours of direct sunlight each afternoon, but are shaded or getting reflected sun only the rest of the time.

The beans and peppers and herbs all seem to be doing well, but the tomatoes aren't growing very fast - do those need more sun? Last summer when we tried this the tomatoes all died, and we thought it was because of too much sun hence less sun now.

Also, the basil is flowering - do we nip the flowering sections off? And the garlic - some of it has little grassy shoots (2nd round) while others grew shoots which then withered and fell off and haven't grown any more shoots. Is that right? Should we have pulled them when the shoots withered the first time?

Lastly, I really want to add cucumber to the garden. But I'm not sure if I can add them to the empty space in front of the beans (will work if they're ground plants, but not vines), or about how much light/water they need.
7/19/10 21:58 (UTC)
some miracle grow every once in a while should help everything. definitely snip the basil flowers... continual flowering seems to actually change the taste (and shape) of the leaves. our tomatoes seem to like semi-sunny. they take a little while to get going, but when they do...
7/20/10 0:26 (UTC)
Tomatoes like heat and moist soil. If you can, move them to where they'll get more sun during the day, but make sure to check them (probably daily) to make sure the soil isn't drying out too much. They also require a lot of nutrients in the soil, so you may want to give the plants some extra fertilizer or add some tomato food the next time you water them.

Since the most flavorful basil leaves are the young ones, you want to pinch off the basil flowers in order to encourage the plant(s) to continue to grow.

Sadly, I haven't tried growing garlic myself (yet), but I found a few nuggets of information in the responses to this post - such as you should plant it in November out in California.
7/20/10 0:57 (UTC)
Definitely nip the basil flowers
7/20/10 15:53 (UTC)
Oh yes, the basil flowers must come off, and it's even best to make sure you get the two little ones that like to grow under the first set of leaves below the main "flower pod".