Small Containers – Figuring Nutrients

Q.  I live on a very small city plot and have almost no spots that get
southern exposure enough that veggies will grow. I have a couple of

1. I would like to put a grow-box in a 20″x90″ site for tomatoes.
This spot is between the house and the sidewalk. Will this work? How
do I figure for nutrients, watering, etc.?

2. The only other place I have is also small; however, it is a cement
slab. Will a grow-box work over cement? Would I have to increase the
heighth of the box to help accommodate for the lack of ground soil?

A.  What you have is a 7 1/2′-long Grow-Bed or box – you can grow in the dirt, or in a container.  It will certainly work, if you have full sunshine for 8+ hours.   You can grow 11 tomato plants in that space – enough to produce about 200# of fresh vine-ripened tomatoes!  Who said you can’t grow a garden in a small space!

If you’re going to grow in the dirt, just dig it thoroughly, eliminating all weeds.  While digging add 8 ounces of Pre-Plant Mix and 4 ounces of Weekly Feed Mix, and mix thoroughly with the soil.

Make 4″-high ridges around the edges by pulling soil from the center of the bed. You should end up with an actual planting area about 12″-wide and 7′ long.

Each time you feed, you should use 4 ounces of Weekly Feed Mix.  Watering should be every day, because the location will be very hot, with the house on one side and a sidewalk on the other.  In the heat of summer you may need to water a second time.  Apply enough water to leave 1″ of water standing in the bed.  If that doesn’t soak in within a couple of hours, then put less in until it does soak in within 2 hours maximum.

You can also build a Grow-Box on your cement slab.  Thousands of MM gardeners have grown this way, with no more height than 8″.  Watering daily is critical, because the sawdust/sand mixture won’t hold water the same way clay soil does.

Fertilize an 18″-wide bed or box with 1 ounce per foot of Pre-Plant Mix – one
time.  Weekly Feed should be applied at the rate of 1/2 ounce per foot of bed or box.

Most things you plant will be on both sides of the bed or box, so you are
actually feeding two rows of plants with that feeding regimen, unless it’s
tomatoes, cucumbers, or other climbing plants, which are only planted one row per 18″-wide bed or box.