Harvest Monday, October 12, 2015 – Do Container’s Size & Shape Make a Difference?

This is a very short post.

Not sure where the week went, it came to an end and I accomplished very little.

As many of my readers know I have been experimenting with growing different crops in containers of different sizes and shapes.

Do container’s size and shape make a difference? Yes and no, depending on the crop. For leafy crops (lettuce, baby bok choy, napa, kohlrabi) a long rectangular container is better, for shrub-like crops and root crops (eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, carrots) a tub-like container is better, for some crops (beets, broccoli,) either will do.

Today I am posting photos of lettuce and spinach and will do a photo post on other crops at a later date.

The photo below shows 5 Bronze Mignonette Lettuces in each of the container. All were transplanted on the same date.

container grown lettuce (08469)

Bronze Mignonette Lettuces. Top: in Foam Ice Chest. Bottom: In Window Box.

All 5 Bronze Mignonette Lettuces in the window box (bottom of photo above) grew well even though they were close to each other they each still had room on the side of the box to spread.

The 4 Bronze Mignonette Lettuces at the corners of the foam ice chest (top of photo above) grew well, the one in the center did not grow as well as because it was getting boxed in by the other 4 and had no room to grow.

Not sure why the differences in the colors of the lettuce in the foam ice chest versus the ones in the window box, they should be the same.

Removed the lower leaves from each of the lettuce plant (photo below).

container grown lettuce (08472)

Bronze Mignonette Lettuces. Top: in Foam Ice Chest. Bottom: In Window Box.

Got a nice basket of tender leaves (photo below), should last until I harvest again.

bronze mignonette lettuce (08478)

Bronze Mignonette Lettuces

Fertilized the lettuce after harvesting the lower leaves. The plants will continue to grow and in a few days I will be able to harvest more lower leaves. How long will I be able to do this? Not sure but hope for a while even though the weather is getting cold.

∗ ∗ ∗

I find spinach do better in a long rectangular container also.

I wanted baby spinach so planted 2 rows of spinach, closely spaced, in the window box, a single row and proper spacing would yield larger plants and larger spinach leaves.

container grown bloomsdale spinach (08480)

Bloomsdale Spinach in Window Box

Removed the lower leaves from each of the spinach plant (photo below).

container grown bloomsdale spinach (08497)

Bloomsdale Spinach in Window Box

Also got a basket of baby spinach leaves (photo below), basket was not as full as the lettuce but still a good amount.

bloomsdale spinach (08491)

Bloomsdale Spinach

Fertilized the spinach after harvesting the lower leaves. The plants will continue to grow and in a few days I will be able to harvest more lower leaves. Again, like the lettuce I have no idea how long I will be able to do this but am hoping for a long, long while as spinach are quite hardy.

∗ ∗ ∗

Made a Smoked Salmon Salad with the lettuce and spinach.

Smoked Salmon Salad (08504)

Smoked Salmon Salad

There is no recipe as no recipe is required for this salad. This is what I did:

Lined salad plates with lettuce and spinach (oops the spinach got buried)
Arranged sliced granny smith apple (or apple of your choice), smoked salmon chunks and sliced avocado on top (yep, overdid it with the apple and avocado)
Garnished with walnuts and dried cranberries
Drizzled with a simple vinaigrette dressing.

I made a simple vinaigrette dressing with fresh lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.

…   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …   …  …   …  … … … … …

Copyright © by Norma Chang. All Rights Reserved. Do not use/repost any photos and/or articles without permission.

Do visit Dave at Our Happy Acres for more Harvest Mondays.

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
This entry was posted in Container gardening, Cooking, dairy free, Gardening, gluten free, Harvest Monday, meatless, soy free and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Harvest Monday, October 12, 2015 – Do Container’s Size & Shape Make a Difference?

  1. Love your smoked salmon salad Norma.
    My lettuce seems to be struggling a little – think it might have something to do with the cats walking through the box like its their playground.
    Have a beautiful week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  2. What a fun post, Norma! I haven’t planted any greens in containers in a while now, but you’ve inspired me! You salad looks delicious, also 🙂 Any salad with avocado is a “win” in my book!

  3. That salad looks and sounds lovely! I like using window boxes too for greens. I hope to plant some like that in a week or two when my seedlings are ready.

  4. Margaret says:

    How interesting – I love experiments like this & those window box lettuces have done so incredibly well. They are probably a lot cleaner and easier to deal with than those I have in the beds as well. Oh and that salad looks delicious – it has ALL of my favourite ingredients!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Margaret,
      Yes, the crops in the containers are a lot cleaner and easier to deal with than those in the garden and because they are portable I move them to a shady spot when I harvest.

  5. You make it look so easy, Norma when I see how beautiful your garden has flourished! You sure made one tasty looking salad. Doesn’t get any fresher when you use lettuce from your garden!

  6. That’s a fantastic salad, Norma. It must have tasted particularly great using those salad leaves from your own garden.

  7. This post taught me so much Ms. Norma. I found out I can possibly grow my own peppers and broccoli in a smaller tub which takes up less space. I was so excited to read that, that I didn’t know what to do. Thanks for this amazing advice.

  8. Hello Norma, did you find the darker brown tip lettuce bitter? Cheryl

  9. Phuong says:

    Your lettuce and spinach look fantastic. I wonder about the color difference of the lettuces, maybe the styrofoam is insulating and moderating the temperature of the soil. Doesn’t lettuce get darker and redder the more it’s been exposed to cold?

    I’m thinking about trying potatoes in pots since they have to be planted in early spring and our spring tends to be too muddy.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Phuong,
      I don’t know but will pay attention and see if I can come up with a theory.
      Potatoes grow well in containers, I successfully grew them in foam ice chest. Go to my Harvest Monday, August 24, 2015 post, and scroll down.

  10. chef mimi says:

    I am so envious of your lettuce! Are you retired? Because since I’ve retired I’ve become more busy, and I don’t know where the time goes!

  11. Eva Taylor says:

    Hi Norma, your notes about the type of containers are very helpful; do you generally empty them for the winter and store inside? I moved Oscar into the living room, I was absolutely devastated to find that someone ate the three largest lemons (larger than my thumbnail), but there are a lot more so today I pulled off some of the smaller ones. I’m really hoping to get some lovely lemons this year.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Eva,
      No I do not empty them instead I line them up on the side of my shed. My thinking is that if there are any bugs in the soil the cold will kill off some if not all and the snow will add some nutrients to the soil which I reuse. After spring thawing, I enrich the soil with granular fertilizer and well rotted cow manure.
      I hope Oscar produce for you.

  12. hotlyspiced says:

    What a beautiful salad; everything looks so very green and fresh. You had a lovely harvest of fresh salad leaves xx

  13. Kristy says:

    Your salad looks delicious Norma. I’m wishing I had it for lunch today. Good luck with your containers this season. Would you believe Miss A’s strawberries made a comeback the past few weeks. The plant was absolutely dead, then the next thing we know there’s a new strawberry – in October! Very interesting.

  14. Amira says:

    This is so beautiful , what a harvest!!. Do you keep them inside your house or you put the boxes out?

  15. That’s a great salad and from containers. There’s hope for me yet! It’s hard to grow in containers here without watering twice a day.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Maureen,
      Watering is a problem with container gardening especially during the hot summer months I need to water twice a day also and if it is a large plant 3 times. I looked into self-watering containers but cannot justify spending the money, guess I am too cheap 🙂

  16. Your lettuce and spinach are gorgeous. Maybe that is the reason why my herbs are doing poorly, maybe it is the canister shape, it has absolutely nothing to do with my black thumb… LOL Tasty looking salad. Have a super weekend!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Bam,
      I totally agree, it is the shape of your container you do not have a black thumb. The salad was tasty can’t go wrong with smoked salmon. A super weekend to you too.

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