Friday, July 11, 2014

How to Grow your Own Local Produce


How to grow your own local produce?

A recipe to grow your own vegetables

The day after I wrote my previous blog, the one about the food trends, I received a message from a Facebook friend, living in California. She sent me a couple of stunning pictures,  showcasing her, I must say, very impressive vegetable garden, the place was beautifully kept and what impressed me most was that everything they had planted was growing in pots.

The idea

Jalapeno Peppers
I thought that when all these incredible looking vegetables can grow in pots than all of us should be able to have our own home grown produce.  Maybe we do not all have or live in a Californian climate but there are definitely vegetables that can grow in different climates and when they can grow in pots you should be able to grow them anywhere, on your balcony or indoors, in case you do not have a garden.

Upon asking, she told me that the pots, they are all black, become very hot and they need to water them daily because the climate she lives in is pretty hot at times. She gets her husband to do the watering, I found that an idea on itself. 

I live in a hot climate as well, but have not been able to grow even one vegetable in a pot, the proof is on the left, so I decided to try and figure out how and what is the best way to grow your own vegetables.

I Googled it –up.  Unfortunately for me, I do not know a lot about gardening let alone vegetable gardening, I rely on what I read (and think that I can believe what I read), in that respect I always get a little up-set when I come across statements that are not helping me. The first statement I found was ‘You can grow vegetables in a pot, even when you do not have much sunny ground’. Next line ‘all you need is a big pot, soil and six hours of sun per day. Poof, I am out.  To be fair I decided to read a bit further and found that six hours of sunlight actually meant six hours of daylight, benefit of the doubt for that one.

How to start and what you need

Important part is the type of soil to use, sounds like getting the right ingredients to cook a dish, I understand that a lot better. Temperature of the soil seems to be important as well, also something I can comprehend. Gardening is like cooking and can therefore be fun.

Potting medium

You need to use a high quality mix containing peat moss and perlite, blend in a complete fertilizer, preferably an organic one containing alfalfa meal, bone meal or kelp meal. It is starting to sound like a recipe by now and I am getting more exited. Soil polymers help to regulate the dry wet cycle especially when you water by hand, these small crystals absorb their weight more than one hundred times in water and keep the roots of your precious baby plants moist when you forget to water them for a day or so.

Some soil temperatures at planting time:

Beans              at least 60 degrees
Carrots            at least 55 degrees
Cucumbers      at least 70 degrees
Eggplant          at least 70 degrees
Peppers           at least 60 degrees
Potatoes          at least 45 degrees

When you get your soil temperature within this range, you’re off to a pretty good start. 

Any vegetable that grows in the ground can be grown in a container, as long as you use drainable pots. Big sized crops like pumpkins may not be worth the effort but you don’t have to stick with so called patio varieties. Most standard size vegetables are suitable for container or pot culture. For beans and carrots, plan to sow the seeds directly in the soil filled container. Grow other types of vegetables from seed or purchase ready to go plants. Eggplants, peppers and tomatoes take about eight weeks to develop into seedlings ready to be replanted into a bigger pot.  

Loads of Tomatoes
I truly believe that growing your own vegetables is worth a try and can be very rewarding and cost saving. I wish to thank my Facebook friend for this great idea and allowing me to use the pictures from her vegetable garden.

When you become a successful gardener and have a respectable harvest. 
Pre-prepare the excessive crops, vacuum and freeze. 

That remains a splendid idea. 

By: The gardener under study. Marinus Hoogendoorn     


Andrea Robinson said...

Sounds like a great idea and probably easier than gardening in the ground when you have hard pan like I do. I think it would be decorative, too.

I'm good with houseplants, but I've never tried a vegetable garden before. I've had friends who did, and the yield they got was amazing! With the pots, you wouldn't have to worry about gophers!

Would you still have to spray plants with some kind of insect control? I have heard of organic gardeners picking off the bugs or wiping down the leaves with a detergent solution. Do you have any advice about that?

Thanks for another great article.

Marinus said...


I use dish washing detergent mixed with water to get rid of bugs, read somewhere that cucumber slices work, I have tried but am not too sure if it worked.

Andrea Ryan-Nugent said...

I completely agree that growing your own fruits and vegetables are a great idea. I usually have not had a lot of luck starting them from seeds so I usually buy them as seedlings which I also like because they will grow a bit quicker which is ideal for me.