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Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84860 March 13th, 2007 at 12:19 PM
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I have an area around my porch that is nothing but compacted gravel. I have work for two years now trying to grow something there but nothing can survive the area. I just put a thick layer of mulch down yesterday hoping to beat the wicked weed that haunts my lawn. I thought about putting lattice up around my porch and just planting some type of climbing - vining flower in containers and letting them take over the area. It would be nice to have a little privacy from the neighbors also.

If I do this what type of containers would be best. It is completely in full sun. We have no trees on out property. I have problems with things drying up so much around here. It could just be the fact that I forget to water them tho - (ssshhh! Duh ) I am going to do better this year tho!

Thanks for any help anyone can give. If anyone has any ideas on the best climbing flowers I am open to that also. I've had pretty good luck with morning glories so I may be leaning towards them.

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84861 March 13th, 2007 at 12:28 PM
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Hi Crystal, you could look into a Bower Vine as well (jasmine pandorea). It is hardy to USDA zone 9a and I (fool that I am) am actually trying one in zone 8b in a south facing sheltered spot. It is native to Queensland, Aus. and likes full sun. The flower (profuse apparently) is white and if you Google it you will find lots of pictures and descriptions so I am not putting in a link to one particular site. Do let us know what you decide on, and how you fare.


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Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84862 March 13th, 2007 at 12:36 PM
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I am in zone 4 or 5. I will look it up - worst case it would be an annual I guess. Will it do okay in a container? I sort of thought about having my husband build me flower boxes close to the ground all the way around the porch. I don't know if it would work or not...

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84863 March 13th, 2007 at 02:05 PM
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Yep, containers work..
And what type of container works, depends on
what you want to grow, and what kind of container you want really..

I grow veggies, and here's one in a big round
pop container bucket I get at the Dollar General or Family Dollar or Walmart's for about $6~8 bucks.. put a couple of holes in the bottom and filled with potting soil, garden soil, compost, vermiculite, etc. and grow peas..

but you can have wooden boxes, or grow boxes, or
Pots/containers..

And if you have a problem with the containers dryin' out, if the container is plastic, you can always put a diaper in the bottom..
*but make allowance for the diaper to expand really big when water fills up the polymere crystals.., or it will push everything out of the pot when it fills up, if you didn't wet them and let them expand first**

But you can also buy a package of polymere crystals and mix them into the lower 3/4 of the dirt of the container.. ***you don't want the polymere crystals in the top 1/4 part, because they fill with water and you don't want the plants roots to go to the top where they can be too hot and dry out toooo fast....you want them to go to the bottom where they can remain moist and cooler..***


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Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84864 March 13th, 2007 at 02:32 PM
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Wow - I never thought about putting a diaper in a container. That is hilarious! The plastic and material won't hurt anything? I guess now I have a use for all the diapers my baby has outgrown wink

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84865 March 13th, 2007 at 02:35 PM
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Eventually the roots just intertwine into everything..

Depends on how you use your pots/containers
and if you re~use your dirt/soil in them..

They fill up HUGE!!!!
*I accidently left one out a number of years ago,
and was actually amazed at how BIG it got!!

You could always open it up and shake out
the polymere crystals out into the bottom of the container..


Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84866 March 13th, 2007 at 02:39 PM
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I guess now I can understand the commerial for the little swimmers when the baby with a normal diaper dries up the ocean. Thanks for the advice. Maybe my pots stand a chance smile

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84867 March 13th, 2007 at 02:39 PM
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This is a raised bed, made out of cinder blocks..
[Linked Image]

Here's what it looks like in the early stages..
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Closer shot with Willy in front view of the same bed..
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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84868 March 13th, 2007 at 02:41 PM
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Here's another type container..
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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84869 March 13th, 2007 at 02:44 PM
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The only one draw back that I can tell you
with the polymere crystals is..
If it's a rainy overcast summer and doesn't get much of a chance to dry out..
Then you have very moist soil, alot...

They do work very good though in hanging baskets,
cause either way, it's usually windy and dries out no matter what....


Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84870 March 13th, 2007 at 04:00 PM
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That blue container would be good for vegetables around here. I can't get anything good to come out of this ground. I have some other plastic containers that survived the winter so I will probably use those. The cider blocks would be nice - my husband has a concrete business so we always have those laying around. Maybe all this crappy yard isn't hopeless after all smile

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84871 March 13th, 2007 at 04:14 PM
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Here's some really BIG containers..
*my raised beds*
so, If you can even get your hubby to make
something along those lines, that will give you
loads of space..
(We made ours out of roughcut lumber..
And do NOT use treated wood for a vegetable bed or anything that would be eaten out of)
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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

[Linked Image]
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[Linked Image]

http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84872 March 13th, 2007 at 04:42 PM
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thumbup great idea weezie, i think i'll use that for some of the areas that burned off. so they don't grow back up.

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84873 March 13th, 2007 at 04:53 PM
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Great idea Weezie!

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#84874 March 13th, 2007 at 05:01 PM
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if you have access to cinder blocks for cheap, then i'd go with that.

you can always grow something at the edges that will cascade down and kind of hide the cinderblocks.

if you're having trouble growing things in your soil, then it probably needs to be amended.

what type of soil do you have?? also, what zone are you in?

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84875 March 13th, 2007 at 05:34 PM
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I have hard clay ground. I am in zone 4 or 5 - it depends what map I look at. I am in southern Ohio - about an hour or hour and a half north of West Virginia. I think this place used to be a corn field about 12 years ago. I have been adding fertilizers and soil trying to get the clay better. I think I have mixed in sand and I also mixed in stuff from the garden center - he said it was like dry wall packed into fine pellets and it would condition the soil and make it easier to work with. I think it helped - I only used it last year. I wish I could remember what it was so I could get some more. I've been slowly getting it to look a lot better. I was just out digging and it looks like soil now - not just clay.

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84876 March 13th, 2007 at 09:48 PM
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i have clayish soil too. not all clay tho.

at some point in the past, there was a flowerbed in the backyard...i've brought it back and have been steadily extending it each year. i'm finding that they actually had more than one bed...as evidenced by the condition of the 'soil' as i elongated and widened the bed.

all i've been doing is using the mulch (licorice root mulch) each year and then turning it over into the base soil each year in the spring (after it's had a year to break down) and then topping things off with a new batch of the stuff.

after 7 years, i've got really good soil now. others add in manure and sand to provide nutrients and drainage to the clay. if you're really a solid clay, that's what you probably need to do.

also, you can tailor your planting to things that work well with that kind of soil base.

okay. now to the compacted gravel. unless you want to just build raised beds, you'll need to remove that compacted stuff!! even if you do raised beds, it's still going to interfere with drainage...and you don't need water running off into your foundation!! you'd have to make sure that you set the raised beds properly (as in not right against the house) and that they're graded to drain away from the foundation.

grinnnn

seriously, if you want the compacted gravel taken out - it'll have to be done either by hand with a pick axe, or maybe you could rent a small back hoe from home depot or the like to dig up the stuff.

oh, ask at the garden center again about the stuff you got last year...i'm sure someone there will know what product it was! if you like the way it conditioned the soil, then you should stay with it!

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84877 March 13th, 2007 at 10:53 PM
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To add to what others said...containers are a great way to garden if your yard is not good space-wise or soil-wise.

My first year in this house, I didn't have a garden per se. I had containers!
[Linked Image]

I have a driveway in the way of where I needed to have my garden. (the only place in the yard that got decent sunshine) Last year, I had my then-future husband cut down the maple tree that blocked the sun, so we could make a "proper" garden. But that first year, my containers were awesome for the amount of food I was growing.

And yes, those ARE tomatoes growing upside down! I don't think I will ever go back to in-ground tomatoes. p

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84878 March 14th, 2007 at 02:18 AM
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looks good to me!

Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84879 March 14th, 2007 at 02:41 PM
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Myndful,
I love the bins..
They're perfect...

They're great growing containers..
Big enough for roots of even bigger plants,
ie: tomatoes or for bigger rooted plants,
ie: pepper plants...

And they're still little enough to move..
*and if you make a wooden dolly on 4 wheels under them, they're very easy to move around..*

And the hanging pots are great...
I don't have anything to hang some or I'd have them...


Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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Re: Ungrowable Areas - Will Containers Help?
#84880 March 15th, 2007 at 05:15 PM
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What a great idea Myndful!!!


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