The 2020 Vegetables

Our patio “Container Garden” consists of twelve EarthBoxes and three City Pickers. This year we’re going to leave a few idle, or fill them with a rotation of short-season veggies and greens. I don’t feel like this is the right summer to be committing to wrangling a jungle of big plants.

Here’s a picture of the almost-complete garden. you’re looking basically East. The first sun hits the grassy edge of the patio at around 10am and by 11am-1pm (summer day-length dependent) the rear trellises will be in full sunlight:

200516 overview

In the front there are (L-R) –   two empty boxes, a box of Taxi and Oregon Spring tomatoes, a box of two San Marzano Romas, and a box of two Oregon Spring. They’re all determinate and should play well together.

In the mid-left back there are two indeterminate Black Krim tomatoes sharing a box. Behind that under the trellis are Fortex (pole) beans in a City Picker box — 20 plants in a 4 x 5 layout.

To the right are two trellises for what we purchased as “Burpless” cucumbers. There are three plants per box — the recommended maximum quantity per box is four, but I’m interested to see if the yield per box remains around the same by allowing them more space. Our usual cucumber variety is Marketmore 76, but this wasn’t a “usual” year for acquiring plants, so we grabbed the first acceptable plants we could find and called it good.

There are also a box of Bunch Onions (Guardsman) and a box of French Breakfast Radishes hiding in the picture as well. To the far right are some 2nd year Bunch Onions that have been allowed to go to seed.

In the block quote below there are descriptions of the tomatoes, copied from this 2015 blog post, which was copied from the Seattle Tilth PDF for their annual plant sale:

Black Krim – 75 days. Open pollinated heirloom. Indeterminate. From the Black Sea region of Russia, these 10-12oz beefsteak type tomatoes have a strong, rich flavor that is common with black tomatoes. One seed catalog noted that the fruit is best when half green and still firm. Very productive. Reportedly is a consistent favorite at tastings, so why not give it a shot?

Oregon Spring – 60 days. Determinate. An extra-early variety that sets loads of meaty fruits weighing 3 to 5 oz. Compact plants set fruits even in cool weather and continue to yield all season long. Nearly seedless. A perfect choice for ketchup and sauces.

Roma (sauce) – 75 days. Determinant. Premium canning tomato, ideal for sauce and paste. Pear-shaped scarlet fruits are thick and meaty with few seeds.

Taxi – 65 days. Open pollinated. Determinate, early, prolific production. The best yellow tomato for short season gardeners. Expect heavy yields of mild, non-acid tomatoes for 3-4 weeks. Grows well in a container.

The Black Krims have won every side-by-side tasting we’ve had with an earthy, deep, rich flavor. But if I could grow only one tomato here in the Pacific Northwest it’d be Oregon Spring. The variety is early,  dependable, always provides a great yield, it tastes good, and it’s versatile in the kitchen.

A bonus picture of the salad table that lives by the front steps, looking North:

200516 salad table

The front of the box had been planted with Arugula. We had some warm weather last week and the Arugula decided it had seen enough. We harvested it for salads and flatbreads and seeded that area with sweet basil. In the background is loose leaf lettuce that needs to be harvested in the next few days. If you look closely you can see some Dill and Cilantro inter-planted among the lettuce.

In a related note, for years I’ve been trying to get cool-season greens to grow through the summer with the help of shade cloth. I’ve now come to the thought that trying to fight the warm weather is just kinda dumb, and the better idea is to just plant warm weather greens and harvest them when they’re small.

The “copy of a copy” of the tomato list reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons:


2 thoughts on “The 2020 Vegetables

  1. Hi, great posts and log of your harvest. I am curious as to how you built your wooden trellis. We have Earthbox too on concrete patio and have not been able to figure out good system to provide trellis support. Thanks!


  2. Thanks Daze –

    The post below has a close-up of the construction of the trellis:

    All of the wood pieces started as 8′ x 2″ x 2″ cedar, which is very water resistant. The corners are held together with stainless or zinc plated brackets and there are 3 stainless or zinc plated door hinges spaced across the top — I think they’re 1-1/2″ or 1-3/4″ inch door hinges so they don’t quite come to the edges of the wood on top. Each door hinge has 3 screws per side. (Just make sure to leave room for the hinges to open and close.)

    The netting was attached using a staple gun – it goes all the way over the top and wraps to the other side. I later added some scrap netting between the sides to contain short vining plants that were trying to escape. Again, make sure to leave a little slack so the hinges can open and close.

    The netting was purchased online. I purchased 5′ x 30′ with 7″ squares. Remarkably, it hasn’t changed 6 years later. I’m not compensated by anyone, buy it wherever you want:

    We now have four trellises total, three at 6′ tall and one at 8′ tall. The 6′ tall versions have 3′ cross pieces. The 8′ tall trellis has 4′ cross pieces. I’ve found that the 8′ trellis is… it requires a ladder or footstool for me to work on the top of it, which is why it stayed in storage this year, though it is good for the Trombonico.

    The nice thing about the hinged design is that the trellises fold flat for storage against the side of the house in the winter.

    I haven’t found that I need to weigh them down so long as they’re set up with a reasonably broad footprint. If it’s very windy where you live you may want to consider weighing them down with concrete blocks, or ropes to sandbags.

    I believe I got this idea from the EarthBox forums, back before the acquisition when the forums were a lot busier than they are now.

    Hope that helps. If any of that wasn’t clear comment again and I’ll clarify.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s