Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Gardening for Dummies

Okay, this is just a post to brag about my gardening skills. I told readers about my Earthbox Garden in a post here where I said that I was going to try growing tomatoes and strawberries. I am proud to say that my black thumb curse may have lifted; the box has worked out great and my plants are growing like weeds. I decided to step my "gardening" up a notch and got this book, Gardening All-in-One for Dummies. The book is quite helpful if you find yourself puzzled about how to take care of various plants, flowers and vegetables. We recently planted some flowers and in the past, I have generally killed them (or maybe they just died from neglect--don't tell the Swiss government on me.) However, with this book, I think I will be able to tackle any issues that come up.

The one volume contains seven books and includes information on Gardening Basics, Garden Design, Roses, Perennials, Annuals, Bulbs, Vegetables, and Herbs. My only disappointment was that it didn't include information on how to grow fruits since I am attempting to grow strawberries but they could only include so much in one book.

You can see in the picture below that my strawberries (on your left) and tomatoes (on your right) are really coming along and I hope very much to make a strawberry/tomato salad at some point. I may get the hang of this gardening thing yet.



Blogger David Damore said...

Dear Dr. Helen,
This is a great testimonial. You may want to send a note to the folks who brought you the Earthbox Garden and Gardening All-in-One for Dummies [post a review on Amazon?]...

It will make their day to receive a message [+ some pictures] from a consumer that had great results with their product.

Thanks for covering such a broad range of interesting topics on your site.


9:05 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

David Damore,

That's a good idea. Earthbox has a forum and website with testimonials here:


I don't meant to brag, I am just happy that I have finally gotten something to grow--and if I do get actually fruit or veggies out of this thing, I will be ecstatic. As you can see, I am easily amused.

9:24 AM, May 06, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Helen, tomatoes tend to get pretty tall (or spread out). What do you do when they outgrow the Earth Box? Do you then transplant them to open ground?

10:36 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Danny said...

Helen- you might want to transplant your tomato plant into a larger pot. Otherwise, it will grow and overwhelm the strawberry plant. Put the tomato plant into a large pot that is deep,and you will be very happy with the amount of tomatoes that your plant will gift you with.

10:48 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Webutante said...

Hi Helen, nice post. I tell my friends and family that one day I will chuck it all and become a full time gardnerer. Love it! So grounding and healing playing around with dirty fingernails.

11:08 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger JorgXMcKie said...

Helen, my late mother (who did have a really green thumb) helped a friend set up a round, pyramidal (Hanging gardens of Babylon style?) strawberry planter that worked great. It had a circle of about 3 feet diameter on the bottom, then another on top of that with about 2.5 feet, then another on that of about 2 feet, then a final one of about 1.5 feet.

It held many strawberry plants, was easy to care for, and produced pretty good. I don't know where they bought it (this was more than 10 years ago), but it did great in a small space. You might want to look for one.

11:10 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Chip Ahoy said...

Hurray! I'm glad for you. *dances*

I got two of those because I have only a balcony to work with. *sads* Last year I went with the program and used the thing properly. The cover was a problem for me so I took it off. That's not a good idea because it doesn't hold moisture as it's designed to do. In Denver that means watering a lot. Now they're just ordinary water-from-the-bottom containers. The balcony gets insufficient direct sun so my harvest was meager. This year I got a jump-start by using 3 cfc lights with clamps (30 watt each, which is a lot).

The garden box markets supports for tomatoes but I didn't buy them. I regret that. This time I made supports. My friends thought I was crazy. Surely I was being overly optimistic. They outgrew their supports so could no longer use the lights, I moved them to the window and two days ago moved them outside. Tender little darlings suffered so. I took these pictures 10 minutes ago just to show you. You might not be able to see it but I have tomatoes already and buds all over the place.

Another brilliant device good for a black thumb is an Aerogarden. I have two of these too. They're fun as hell and supplied me with fresh herbs all through the winter. One is on top of the refrigerator and so cannot fully extend. I have to clip it continuously. 10 minutes ago.

I'm thrilled you posted about your garden box because it gave me a chance to crow about something I'm excited about. I use them all the time to make stuff like this.

11:30 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Eilish said...

Oh, I'm so glad you posted an update! I have been wondering. Your plants look great. I am an avid gardener, so I always love when people have the pleasure of growing their own garden of whatever size.

You will need to support your tomatoes somehow, but I'm sure your will figure something out. Your strawberries look great! The only thing I have noticed with mine is that they need LOTS of sun to put out a lot of fruit, so if they're being very green and lush, but not flowering, that may be why.

11:41 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger BlogDog said...

The EarthBox layout for tomatoes is two plants per box. As long as you get some stakes in to support the growing plant, there's no need to transplant it at all. This year I'm growing three EBs full of tomatoes - three plants each of Burpee's Supersteak and "Health Kick." I can hardly wait for the fruits of my labors.

11:46 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Chip Ahoy said...

Gardners.com has a full range of supports including some really cool ones like these scrollwork (I'm getting those for the other Garden Box) and these coils. They have more in their catalog not pictured on their on-line catalog that are cool too, like some fun looking spirals.

11:57 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger TMink said...

Ain't it great to get something right that was previously difficult! That mastery pleasure is a very happening place to be! Pushing ourselves, not giving up, being willing to try again, it leads to that buzz when we make something good happen.



11:59 AM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Helen said...

Chips Ahoy,

Good grief, here I am bragging about my little plants and you have that monstrosity! I only hope I can do half as well. Thanks for all the suggestions--looks like I definitely need tomato supports for this thing.

12:18 PM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Chip Ahoy said...

Those were from seeds taken from Sam's club tomatoes started about 3 months ago. They've only had direct sun for 2 days.

The other box is growing heirloom tomatoes started in the AeroGarden, they didn't appreciate being ripped out. They're struggling but show every sign of pulling through.

12:54 PM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger vanderleun said...

One concept and one book: Square Foot Gardening.

6:57 PM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Brian Macker said...

One title. Ruth Stout No Work Garden Book.

9:00 PM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Patm said...

Thanks for writing about this. I was thinking of doing the earthbox thing and now, with your recommendation, I believe I will. MMMMmmmm fresh tomatoes!

11:20 PM, May 06, 2008  
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