In My Cottage Garden: ABG Conference–Growing In Containers (& My Herb Seeds are In!)
When I saw Verna Pratt at the front of the room, I had no idea she was the author of several of the Alaska wildflower books I have on my shelf as well as wonderful pressed-wildflower pictures I’ve always wanted to hang on the walls of the little English Cottage I’m going to have some day!
But I digress…
Verna was there to talk about the joys of growing vegetables in containers. I was actually rather surprised that she chose to do it that way because I knew she had beautiful gardens and lots of space. However, there are things that will drive a gardener to do almost anything and the reasons became quite clear as she explained:
She has slugs the size of rodents!
And she also has issue with the bane of Alaska gardeners…
The hungry moose!
So as a result, Verna started growing her vegetables in containers on her deck. Some examples of the sizes:
I actually have some of the blue ones for storage so I’ll be giving them a shot.
The session turned into quite the anti-slug discussion, with some folks talking about how they try to humanely rid themselves of the pests and others talking about how they liked to pour salt on them and watch them bubble.
I don’t like watching them die, I just like making sure that they do.
Verna said, after years of trying, she has given up trying to get slugs out of already slug-tainted soil. However, she’s found the fool-proof solution on how to keep slugs out of an already slug-free bed — copper.
Putting copper around the top of your containers will keep slugs out because it gives them an electric shock if they come in contact with it. However, the copper must not be tarnished or it won’t work and the soil inside the bed/container must be slug and slug egg free or it will just keep the slugs inside.
Verna has been growing every kind of vegetable in containers: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage etc…She hasn’t found the need to use a container any bigger than the two she displayed. And yes, she does punch holes in the bottom for drainage.
Verna’s session and all of the talk about hoop houses and high tunnels made me realize what I wanted to do here.
I found the instructions online for this hoophouse greenhouse. The dimensions are 10′ x 21′, but I’ll make mine 10′x 12′. (And when I say “I’ll make mine,” you know that Josh is doing the heavy lifting. ;-P ) The plan is to plant the vegetables (and herbs like watercress) that I want covered all summer in containers inside the hoophouse. Then, I can use the hoop house to cover my vegetable bed around September so I can extend the time that I can harvest.
Now that my herb seeds came in, I can get started…well…starting them!
How are your gardening preparations going so far?