Friday, March 9, 2012


Welcome to Captive Roots: a blog chronicling my adventures in container gardening! For years I've tried my hand at growing vegetables, flowers, herbs, house plants, and even aquatic plants, so I figured I would share my experiences with others who are interested in this rewarding (and addicting!) hobby. 

I don't claim to be an expert. In fact, much of what I do is experimental in nature. My dream garden would be in the enormous side yard of an old farmhouse, where space wouldn't be an issue. However, living in an apartment poses a challenge in that regard.

Container gardening for me is a battle between my desire to grow just about everything that I see in the store, and the practical reality that the porch only has so much space. To that end, my goal is to grow as many different varieties as possible, in the smallest containers that will still allow a good harvest and a healthy plant. In the past, this involved buying whatever I wanted to grow, then searching around the apartment for whatever containers I had that seemed appropriate for the plants. Often this meant planting things in containers that were way too small. Still, I was amazed at some of the results I was able to get.

All that said, this year I really wanted to do things "right." Getting a few Abe Lincoln tomatoes from an extra plant stuck into a little 2-3 gallon pot was nice and all (see the title of the blog for a pic of them when they were green), but I wanted real harvests! As I was spending countless winter hours researching container sizes and different vegetable varieties, I soon realized that concrete information on container gardening was sometimes difficult to find. I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to create it here.

The tabs to the right will chronicle each plant variety from seed to harvest. I am going to include as much detail as possible, from all the seeding specs, to the container size and growing medium, to the plant size and growth habit, and finally the harvest and yield. Each page will also contain the results of the experimental planting, which will be my attempt to push the limits of what you are "supposed" to do for that plant. As anyone who starts plants from seeds knows, you always have a few extra small plants, so why not see what surprises the balcony holds this summer?

Many updates are coming soon. In the meantime, check out the seedling setup page, which details the seeding table I put together for this year's garden.

Happy gardening! 

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