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SIP Garden after one month’s growth

Our Sub-irrigated planter garden after one month, four day’s growth. Something dug up my original tomato plantings. I’ve planted some more I had started and they are doing “ok”, but it’s so late, I’ll be surprised if I get any tomatoes this year. I may build a hoop-house greenhouse to try and extend the season… maybe I can get a few green tomatoes that way. We’ll see. The broccoli looks healthy, but grows very slowly. The Zucchini, pumpkin and cucumbers are flowering and growing like crazy. I have some kind of leaf borer, but as it does not seem to be doing a tremendous amount of damage I’m leaving that alone for the moment. I’ll address it if it progresses… I think, considering how late and how rushed this container garden was, it shows great promise for the spring planting!

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Our Sub-irrigated Planter (SIP) Garden

We were in the middle of moving and house renovations during the time I should have been building raised beds and planting this past spring. Luckily North Texas has a second growing season. Realizing that I would not have time to put in a traditional garden this year, I did a little research and discovered sub-irrigated cultivation. These sub-irrigated planters (SIPs) are by no means my idea, but I decided they were the perfect answer for a gardener like myself who is under a severe time-crunch, and who lives in an area where summers tend to be very dry. Several of these have been growing for about three weeks and I have never had to water them yet. I check water levels by tipping the bucket slightly. If water comes out of the drain, they are full enough.

I need to build a trellis for the cucumbers and pumpkins (I’ve seen watermelons grown on a trellis and it worked very well. I think it would work treat for pumpkins as well… we’ll see!). I’m thinking some metal conduit and garden twine…

I’ll keep collecting buckets and building SIPs all winter I think. That way, I’ll be ready to hit the ground running come Spring next year. I’m also going to start composting kitchen waste to add nutrients to the planters, and also to use for seed starting.

This second season garden is really an experiment to see what works, what I can improve on for next Spring. If i end up with some fresh tomatoes, zucchini, etc. in the process… hurray!