Veggie Crate Garden and Zucchini Trivia

It’s been a roller coaster of weather this past month! It seemed like all of June was in the 90’s or 100’s, and we even had the hottest temp EVER here (only 101), and it was June! Needless to say, the  roof-garden had a hard time with the blazing heat, no rain, and lack of relief. Thankfully I made some updates and improvements to save many of the plants, and “the garden” continues to be a great little escape.

One improvement was freeing up the tomato plants.
One day as I was bringing out the trash I happened to find 2 wooden fruit/vegetable crates in the dumpster. I am far to big a Pinterester to let those go…

Fixed them up a bit:

Had to get creative with the bottom of this one…

This next part was tricky to do, photograph, and explain.
Cut out a good chunk of the landscaping fabric. I found that if you start by stapling in the bottom/inside, it helps things get settled. I started thinking of it like wrapping a present in reverse… Regardless, just get the holes covered.

Then simply fill ’em up and get some things planted! (You can definitely fill them fuller than I did here.)

Those tomatos you see planted back there, along with others, got spread out between these new boxes. Most of the lettuce in the pallet did not survive the desert storm that was June. I replanted one in an ice cream pale that and it is flourishing, not sure why it’s doing so much better than the ones in the pallet. Other things in ice cream pails are peppers, some spinach, and later, some zucchini.

Fast forward:
Spread out the zucchini so they had room to grow. A couple of them in a wine box from our wedding.

The broccoli have been harvested once and more are coming. I drilled holes for dowels and strung some string up it for beans to grow. And this lettuce looks terribly sad…

The tomatoes have exploded with the warmth and space! The once sickly and spindly plants and quite thick now.

OK, I am starting to treat these things like pets. Better to talk to plants than cats, right?

Now it’s time for the science lesson. My zucchini were exploding, and had new flower growth practically every other day… but they kept just dying. What was I doing wrong? Was it the heat?

Then I noticed some of the stems of the flowers started looking different. If you’ve ever picked zucc’s yourself, you’d recognize, it looked like a tiny baby zucchini!

So, using my middle school ability of deducing a theory, I wondered if there were male and female flowers on zucc’s. Sure enough, Google confirms, it is quite common for the first round of flowers to be entirely male. Next time you need bar trivia, you are all set. The more you know! (insert jingle)

Bring on the zucchini!

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Frost-Proofing the Roof Garden

Pallet Garden Frost Proof

So the timing of this post is off. Talking about frost in July? It is Colorado, but I’m not too worried about it.

It was, however, a crazy spring, and it seems better to get this seed planted (pun intended) in your brain so when you have your own pallet garden and you get that surprise snow storm you’ll be prepared.

What You Need:

  • We inherited a roll of what I believe is painters plastic, which just so happened to be the perfect size for our pallet. Any large piece of plastic or old bed sheet would work.
  • Sticks or dowels taller than your plants.
  • Staple gun (or another way to hold the plastic down and make sure it doesn’t fly away in the wind)
I took some dead branches from a tree hanging over our porch, broke them into pieces that would hold the plastic above the plants. This is important, you want to keep the plastic off the plants as much as possible to help keep them from freezing. If they touch, they are more likely to freeze. If you want to look a little more clean and less haphazard, get a dowel or two, or even some paint stirrers, and cut them up. Place the sticks around the outside edges as well as throughout the middle trying not to upset your plants too much.

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Lay the plastic over your pallet and get it arranged and straightened. It was a good windy storm, so we went all out and stapled the corners down instead of just laying something heavy on the corners. Start at one end, get all the excess gathered, and make sure you pull it fairly tight. You don’t want to wind catching too much of the plastic and ripping it off.

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The plants, all cozy! They kind of look tucked in for bed. All the rest of the plants were still in small pots  we just brought them inside for the night.

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And safe and sound the next morning!

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The snow was already melting in the sun, and next to nothing was damaged. When I unrolled the plastic I only detached it from one end and left the top stapled in case we had another round of frost.

What method have you had luck with?