My Greenhouse is Full

mini greenhouse
This years greenhouse plants
With a small yard and a tiny deck, I never dreamed I would have a greenhouse. It’s not exactly what comes to mind when you say “greenhouse” but my mini-greenhouse does the job. It fits nicely in the corner of my deck, up against the house (so it won’t blow over in a strong wind), and it holds plenty of seedlings.

This year it is nearly full, with tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini (courgettes), parsley (already planted in my raised bed), and flowers. I didn’t start anything from seeds this year, but I’ve purchased a grow light so I can start seeds indoors next April. Then I’ll move them out to the greenhouse in May. That’s my plan anyway.

A few weeks ago I went to House by the Side of the Road in Milford, NH and bought my tomatoes and a few pepper plants. The other veggies and some flowers I bought at Tenney Farms in Antrim.

I don’t ever have luck growing peppers, even though I’ve read all kinds of helpful tips. I have fewer tomato plants this year too. The “Celebrity” type seems to give me a nice crop, so I am sticking with that kind. And of course the small, grape tomatoes too. I’m the only one in the household who will eat them, and last year I had too many!

green and red tomatoes
Last year’s tomato crop, end of season.

What I Learned From Fabric Pot Gardening

growing vegetables in fabric pots
Gardening in Fabric Pots
Last year I used these black fabric pots to plant vegetables in sunny locations in my small backyard. It was an experiment and I had no idea if anything would grow. But I needed a fairly easy alternative to digging up the grass.
These fabric pots are not very expensive and I would think that they can be reused. I’ll see when I dig them out to use this season. I like the fact that they can be set wherever there is sun, but then they can be taken down. The smaller ones (shown in my pictures) I used to grow potatoes and beans. I ended up with a bowlful of edible, but small, potatoes. The bag is really too small to get much of a potato crop. They would do better in the ground, but I don’t have the space.
I also grew green beans in two of the pots and I had loads of delicious beans! I will definitely try that again.
The larger holder is where I planted tomatoes along with basil, some herbs and radishes. (I have a photo of that one on this page.) The tomatoes got too large to stay upright and the “pot” wasn’t deep enough to hold a wire tomato cage. By the end of summer my tomatoes had fallen over from their own weight. I also had planted too many of them. I wouldn’t put tomatoes in the bags again.
I’m thinking a squash or zucchini plant may do well in a smaller pot and then it could drape over the sides and spread out. I always grow zucchini and even one plant takes up a lot of area in my little garden.
The larger bag might hold my cukes, carrots or beets. I guess it depends on what I decide to plant. When summer was over and the harvest was in, I emptied the pots and stuffed them under my deck. I am wondering if I could leave the dirt in the larger one next time. I don’t know how it would do over the winter.
If you want to try an easy way to grow something that can be moved from year to year, without digging up the ground, maybe a fabric pot would be right for you. For more ideas please read Discover the Benefits of Container Gardening by my friend Mike. It’s because of his page that I tried this! Thanks Mike!

Pictures of My Backyard Raised Bed Tomato Garden

large fabric raised garden
The Bigger Fabric Garden
raised bed with tomatoes
The tomato bed as of mid-July

Here are two (before and after) pictures of my backyard gardens. I planted 4 tomatoes in this fabric raised bed back in June. I added a few basil plants and radishes around the edge. As you can see, by mid July they are growing like crazy. I haven’t eaten any tomatoes yet, they are still green. I have one red grape tomato that I will probably eat tomorrow and that means there will soon be more that are ripe. All my fabric raised beds are doing well except for the potatoes, but I don’t know if they are just ready to be dug.

The potato stalks look like they are dying, so I hope when I dig down into the bag I will find potatoes worth eating. Those little turd bugs got ahold of the leaves while I was away for 10 days.  My carrots don’t look too good either.  I haven’t grown carrots for many years because I never had much luck with them getting large enough to use.

My concrete block raised bed is also doing well.  I have zucchini in that along with a couple of grape tomato plants.  I just ate boiled zucchini for breakfast!

A Raised Garden Bed Made of Fabric

large fabric raised garden
The Bigger Fabric Garden

This weekend I ordered more dirt and filled up my larger fabric “pot” to create a raised garden for some tomatoes and basil. The smaller one in my photo is planted with beans, and next to that I have used one for growing potatoes. What I love about a raised bed is the fact that there is plenty of good dirt for the roots of the plants. I guess that is one of the great things about a raised bed. Digging in the ground means creating layers of great dirt, over time – and it can take a while if the dirt under the garden is fill dirt, or something else that is not good for growing.
My house was built on the side of a big hill. Fill dirt was brought in to make the site level, as often happens. Fill dirt, is usually sandy stuff and that is what I find when I dig down a few inches in my back yard.   You can see that there is little growing in the spot of yard where I put this bag.  I used the loam mix that was delivered from Agway along with my own compost and added a little bonemeal, so I know that my plants are in good soil.
This garden has four tomato plants with some basil and one Italian oregano plant. I don’t know if four tomatoes are too many for this space, but I have other tomatoes planted in the ground too. In fact I made another raised bed using cinder-blocks and set that up out front where there is more sun.

That is the great thing about using these fabric pots and gardens – set them up anywhere!  Find a sunny spot and add a little vegetable garden.  They have allowed me the chance to plant more while I continue to expand my gardens in the ground.

If these black pots can be used year after year, the investment will be worth it.  I don’t know much about them at all.  Can they stay up all winter, or will I have to empty it and store it?  If they don’t last, I will stick to the smaller ones only.

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