Old MacDonald had a…container garden?

In my old neighborhood, nary a year went by that I didn’t fill up my 5-gallon bucket with fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and sometimes strawberries and go around doling them out to my neighbors. Although I had a fairly small patch of land, two people don’t eat that much and I usually got a really good return. It was always funny watching neighbor’s expressions as they cracked the door open trying to ascertain who I was and what I wanted from them. Confusion changed to excitement (especially among the elderly) when they realized I wasn’t trying to get them to purchase overpriced wrapping paper or stale bars of chocolate for my high school prom.

But, we moved last fall and for many and various reasons, I didn’t do a garden this year. Primarily because (or at least this is the excuse I’m telling myself) I didn’t know how my sun pattern would fall in my yard and I needed to know this before planting. Also, the only flat area available to me currently is at the very back of my yard and I just wasn’t sure I wanted to trek down there daily for weeding and picking.

Since I haven’t not had fresh tomatoes in probably 6 years, I decided to put a couple of plants out in containers on my back porch, where I was reasonably sure they would receive sun. After all, I can’t keep houseplants back there because they get sunburned, so I figured it’d be just about right for my maters. I also used to grow my own plants from seeds, but it wasn’t worth the effort this year for two little old plants, so I purchased some “Better Boy” tomato plants from the local home store and put them in two large square plastic pots right on the back porch.

To say that my yield was less than expected, would be an understatement. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the National Gardening Association called me and kicked me out of their ranks. For one thing, I believe that I put too much natural compost in there right off the bat because within a week of planting them, they were showing signs of burning (too much fertilizer). Also, despite having a single hole in the bottom for drainage, both containers stayed very wet, despite a perpetual drought (until the last two weeks).

At any rate, I got one little ol’ tomato out of it, and it definitely looks more like a Roma tomato than a Better Boy, but whatever. Next year, I’m gonna suck it up and walk down the hill and plant an actual garden. Cuz…this is ridiculous.

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