Frequently Asked Questions
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1. What type of soil do I use?
Any potting soil can be used. If you want organic produce you will need to purchase organic potting soil. Garden soil is generally too dense and too heavy for the root system to flourish. For this reason potting soil or potting mix is a better choice.
2. How much soil do I add?
2 1/2 to 3 cubic feet of potting soil will fit into each container.
3. What are the dimensions of the Refuge Garden?
27" x 18" and 12.5" tall. The 7ft stakes collapse into three parts that fit inside the Refuge Garden when empty.
4. Do I place my plant in the black pot?
No, potting soil will fill the container before you add your plants. Potting soil goes on top of the blue insert (NOT UNDERNEATH the blue insert - that is where the water goes), filling the black wicking pots and the rest of the container. The wicking pot allows some of the soil to sit in the water, which sits below the blue raised bed. This design allowsallows water to "wick up" into the rest of the soil, as well as enable the roots to have direct access to the water reservoir.
5. What can I grow in the Refuge Garden?
You can grow any two full size vegetable plants (i.e. two tomato plants, cucumber, zucchini, bell pepper, hot peppers etc.) You can also put two different plants in the same Refuge Garden. Keep in mind however that some plants do not like to grow next to others! Hot peppers planted near cucumbers, for instance, might create spicy cucumbers!
You can also grow multiple leafy greens, root vegetables and herbs in each container. If you are growing or transplanting any of these edibles you would follow the spacing instructions that come with the seed packet or plant.
I have personally grown tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, bell pepper, jalapeño, radish, cilantro, spinach, and scallion onions in my Refuge Garden. I am excited to continue to grow even more types of plants. You really can grow anything!
6. What about fertilizer?
Yes, your plants will need nutrients. Even the highest quality organic potting soils or composts will not be enough nutrients for the plants for a whole growing season. I highly recommend purchasing the micronutrient fertilizer packs that I also sell. They will provide even the trace element nutrients each plant needs for optimal growth. Fertilizer from a garden center or hardware store does NOT contain the added micronutrients I recommend.
7. How long can I go without watering or adding water to the reservoir?
Great question, this will depend on how much water your plants are drinking per day as well as how hot it is outside. With a filled 7 gallon reservoir, it should be enough water for 2 full size tomato plants for 2-3 days. You will need to use your judgement here and pay attention to how long it takes for the reservoir to fill before it spills water out of the overflow holes. If it takes a while to fill the reservoir you know that the plants have used the same amount of water you are adding since the time you last watered. (If you watered 3 days ago and you notice you are adding 6 gallons to the reservoir then you know the plants have used 6 gallons in 3 days.) This should give you an idea of how much your plants are drinking per day.
8. Do I need to prune my plant in any way?
Yes, most plants can use some pruning. There are tons of resources available through youtube and google that can tell you exactly how to prune whatever plants you are growing in The Refuge Garden.
9. Can I re-use the soil next year?
Absolutely! The plants need nutrients, so as long as you are amending the soil with fresh fertilizer regularly you can continue to use the basic potting soil year after year.
10. Can I grow indoors?
I have been asked if the Refuge Garden can be used indoors. The answer is yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind.
1. You will need grow lights.
Unless you will be placing this in a sunroom with tons of windows and lots of sun you will need grow lights. Grow lights allow the plant to receive not just the right amount of light, but the right type of light to grow.
2. You will need adequate heat.
Every seed has a temperature at which it sprouts and every plant has a temperature that it needs in order to grow. What you are trying to grow will determine how warm that given room/basement will need to be to grow indoors.
If you have other questions please email me at sales@urbanrefugegardening so that I can post both the question and the answer. Thanks!