Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Cabinet Garden

Garden cabinet image from Luxury Housing Trends, which has managed to put ideas into my head though not (yet) any new holes in my wallet

Some friends offered me a bit of space in which to garden, with very clear guidelines: their space, but my project; do not ask them to do anything with it; tomatoes. I started small, using a repurposed old wooden kitchen cabinet with the doors off to frame a side-by-side-by-side test where failure would be nothing worse than dead plants--no off-odors, no insects, nothing weird. Used mostly scrounged materials, plus bokashi and composts made in Bucketville (not enough of those, as I was trying for equal volumes and ran short of one). And because their place isn't exactly next door, I set it up to require no more than weekly attention.

Which to me means raised bed with slow-release nutrients mixed in + olla pots + covers. One quart olla per tomato plant seems to be the practical minimum, and when the days are routinely 100+, twice a week watering is a really good idea, but until the triple-digits hit I'd been averaging ten days between waterings and the plants were still producing fruits. Not, mind, as many as I'd have liked, but I've never yet had enough tomatoes, and considering the cheap soil base and inadequate organics volumes, I'd call it promising enough to be worth extending the test.

As, apparently, do my friends, who have given me permission to put in a few other plants. Including some fall tomatoes, naturally, with which I shall be planting bokashi bags made for the purpose, with ratios of 4:1 and 8:1. The 8:1 test produced earlier and more tomatoes than the compost or vermicompost with or without worms, you see; I'd like to know how much wiggle-room there is in that recipe, and whether different ratios produce results different enough to be worth noting, but mostly, I just want more tomatoes, so this time, every plant gets an olla and a bag. if only I had a few more cabinets...

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