Urban homesteading - container gardening

by Pam
(Nashville, Tennessee)

I have a container garden, tomatoes, carrots, salad greens, onions, cucumbers, green beans and kale.


I have tried for years to make a success of my container garden, understanding that I have bought potting soil and fertilizer and tried my best to grow vegetables in containers on a concrete patio.

After this year I think I give up. I have large green flourishing plants, but I have no fruits, few tomatoes, few peppers, few carrots, and few cucumbers from a lot of flowers. I need to re-think this, I spend too much money and effort for little results. I think I need to go to farmers markets and accept my inability to grow what I want.

Comments for Urban homesteading - container gardening

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Nov 19, 2009
Urban Bees
by: Wendy Young

Hi Susan

I saw your comment to this query about bees and just want to add that we desperately wanted a hive but live in a built up suburb.

We found that our municipal bylaws do not allow us to keep bees and the bee society also says that a hive should not be kept within 100 m of a dwelling.


Oct 13, 2009
Bees and pollination
by: Sue Merriam

I'm so sorry to hear of your frustration. It sounds like you have a shortage of bees and other insects in your area. Vegetables plants that produce fruits, such as tomatoes, peppers and squash need to be pollinated before they can produce anything. Flowers of each of these plants have a pistil, which contains the ovary of the plant, and stamens which hold pollen. The pollen has to be taken from the stamens and brushed against the tip of the stigma (the top of the pistil) before the flowers are fertilized and fruit can grow.

Since you have only a patio, keeping bees is probably not an option where you live (although I have heard of beekeepers keeping bee hives on rooftops in urban areas), so you might try pollinating your plants yourself.

For plants like tomatoes, peas and eggplants, get a soft paintbrush and brush the inside of each flower. Squash family members, including cucumbers and pumpkins, are a bit trickier because they have male and female flowers. Female flowers will be shorter and fatter and the male flowers will have a long stem and be thin. As one friend put it, they?re a bit like men and women once they get older. ;-) Open a male flower and pull away the petals to expose the stamens. Then rub the stamens against the stigma of the female flowers.

Hope this helps, and happy urban homesteading!


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