Top gardening posts of 2010

2010 has been a pretty exciting year for CheapVegetableGardener.com.  Bringing on a significant number of more readers and many great mentions by some large publications, I thought I would mention the top 5 posts of 2010 which helped this happen in case you missed them.

image Being kicked off by an awesome mention in a New York Times article and subsequent interview on Science Friday on NPR, this article on making your own tomato planter held the #1 spot.  By taking a two liter bottle, a little spray paint, and a chopstick (or small stick) you can make your own upside down tomato planter.
image This article has received some decent traffic from numerous sites but the mention on lifehacker.com is what put this one on the #2 spot.  Now if you are trying to make a little profit from your extra harvest or just trying to save a little extra money at the grocery store this post lists the top vegetables for your gardening square foot.
IMG_1516 Want to start some seedlings indoors without spending a fortune on lighting?  Check out this Christmas light LED grow box post which has held the #3 spot.  All it takes is a couple of strings of LEDs (purchased during after Christmas sales of course), a Rubbermaid container, a drill, and a little patience you can have your own indoor growing apparatus.
IMG_4590 Sometimes I got busy in the early spring and forgot to water my neglected seedlings in the grow box in my garage.  To solve this problem I made these great little soil sensors using galvanized nails and Plaster of Paris.  Check out this post which help the #4 spot for the full build instructions.
Raised Vegetable Garden Finally after some personal trial and error the #5 post of this year goes into detail on how to create a new garden bed.  This covers the basics of picking the proper location and also some cost benefit analysis for using various materials (cinder blocks, wood, chiseled wall blocks, bricks) to build a new bed.

How to make your own upside Down Planter In your Garden

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Over the past year I have created a few different versions of garden planters for growing tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers inspired from my daughter watching a Topsy Turvy tomato planter commercial.  Here is a quick summary of the different options which you can click the link for full instructions how to build on yourself.

IMG_1883 2 Liter – The Original — This is the one that started it all.  Very simple design using a 2 liter bottle covered with duct tape with a hole cut in the side to add soil and water as needed.Pros: Simple to create, dark color helped keep soil warm during the early part of the year, unlike the sibling seedling which I planted in the ground as a control which did not make it.Cons:  Really had to keep up on watering, given it had a 2 inch hole in the side water was able to easily evaporate and it did not get the advantage of being watered automatically on raining days/weeks and given I wasn’t watering any other plants forgot about this poor one which led to reduced yields.
046 2 liter — Version 2.0 — This year I wanted something that did not appear as hideous hanging and also took care of the watering issue from the previous version.  With this I created a slow drip watering reservoir and used spray paint and skipped the duct tape.Pros: Easy to water through manual or automatic (rain), evaporation is minimized due to small drainage holesCons: At the moment, there are none known.  I am happy with this design.
043 1 gallon milk jug (with auto-watering) — I was curious about if the extra 1.799 liters with a larger contain would significantly help yields so I went with this version.  Also decided to add an experimental external watering source.Pros: Larger volume of soil, extra watering capacityCons: Keeping the whole thing balanced was a pain, currently have it under control with a couple rubber band but will probably have to be replaced with something more permanent later.

 

So there you have the short evolution of my homemade upside down tomato planters all created from materials from my recycling bin.  Though if you do not want to make one yourself here are a just a few of the commercial upside down planter versions on the market right now.

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