Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spring Planting and Garden Experiments 2: Squished Squash

Everyone knows that plants need space. Some need more than others but all in all space is a good thing. Space in a balcony garden means using larger pots and not planting too many things in the one pot. Space means investing in a suitable amount of potting mix and the like to help your plants mature to the appropriate size. I did that last year with the yellow zucchini and it produced exceedingly well. The pot was a grand size and it looked in balance. It also produced a tonne of lovely sized fruits.

This year that pot had already been taken for a higher purpose (to be mentioned in the next few days) and the blackjack zucchini was ready to go in now. I managed to fit one into one of the large rectangular pots which was pretty small given it also houses some other companion plants but it seemed large enough for the zuke to thrive.

But what to do with the other two seedlings? I could do what I did last year and palm them off onto unsuspecting friends. Or I could buy a bigger pot a squeeze it in somewhere. Or I could go crazy and experiment with pot size. Being the ever so rational being that I am I went with the last option, manic overcrowding. How small a pot can I grow a zucchini in and still get produce?

Witness exhibit A - a smaller round pot filled with one seedling. Note it barely has two leaves yet, this is already a tight sqeeze.

Exhibit B is only slightly bigger. Square and mulched to the brim but still not really anywhere near an adequate size. Indeed to give you an idea of size the round pot used to live inside the square pot. I thought it looked ornamental, the snails thought it looked like home so the two had to be separated.

I will be intrigued to see how big these grow or if they get stunted or if they just up and die. If they do or do not bear zucchinis. If they do bear can it still get to marrow size? Much more fun I think than simply giving them away or making concessions. Probably not a revolution in gardening, more an experiment in stupidity but I am happy with it. Watering will be more constant as will fertilisation but maybe just maybe these little pots can work.

I do have a couple of slightly larger pots currently housing carrots. They should be ready for eating before I plant the other two zukes I have planned for this garden (these will be yellow ones, currently only green ones are planted, hence the general disregard for pot sizes. Yellow zucchinis are my favourite, green ones are too generic for my tastes.)

Have you ever experimented with size or crowding? I know for some plants (actually most plants) it stunts their growth. It'll be an interesting Spring on the balcony...


Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Good luck with the zucchini. This spring will be our first attempt growing zucchini. We are experimenting groung them in polystyrene box.

thyme2garden said...

Are these bush variety, or a vining kind? I grew a bush variety of summer squash (zucchini) this year, and the plants got really big, too big for the garden space in my raised bed. I transplanted one into its own pot (about 5 gallon bucket size), but it seemed too small. At the end, they all ended up dying due to powdery mildew, and I wonder if being too close together contributed to it. So my first experience growing zucchini was not a good one, but I'm hoping for better next year.

I'll be looking forward to your updates to see how yours do. I hope they grow well for you!