I visited my mother in Florida last week. She spends the winter in the sun and warmth (in the Naples area) and it only makes sense for me to share some of that with her. Years ago, we gave her a small Grow Box on wheels. She always fills this with herb plants she finds at the local Ace Hardware or the supermarket. And she likes to add a tomato plant or two. This year her box has parsley, cilantro, basil and a small patio tomato. She has a couple extra pots too – a beefsteak tomato and an extra pot of basil. I think they look pretty in the sun on her front step and she uses the fresh herbs in her salads.
When I was there, Mom asked me about the tomato in the box that wasn’t looking so good. It had darkened soggy looking leaves at the top of the plant. Since there were no fuzzy mold spores under the leaves I think the problem was over watering. I bought her an inexpensive soil water meter. It looks very important in the soil, but I’m not so sure its measuring anything. While I was there, and no matter where I stuck it in the soil, it read either “way-too-wet”or “way-too-dry”. This seemed odd to me. I’ve been looking up whether these moisture devices are really useful. I’m thinking not-so-much. I probably should have done something to increase drainage in her box. I’ve forgotten the brand of the box she has, but most of these are advertised as having over-watering protection. Hmmm.
Well, Mom is only there in FL for another month and then she’ll move back up north near me. When she gets here I’ll set up some containers for her that I can check on regularly. I have a bunch of seeds for compact, vigorous vegetables that I am really looking forward to trying.
I have found that the soils that are advertised to hold moisture hold too much and stay too wet…the plants sulk especially in areas that get lots of rain… florida gulf coast for one…
Good point. I should look for a better draining soil for the planter for next year.