City Pickers Update: Week Three

Things are looking good in the City Pickers. I planted three starter tomatoes along the front of one box and seeds along the back. The tomato plants sprouted last week. I thinned them to one or two per planting. The second City Picker holds a different variety of seeds. They don’t seem to be performing as well, though I’m not sure why.

In addition to the tomatoes, I added one pumpkin seedling. So far, so good. Temperatures remain on the cooler side by Bay Area standards. We had healthy plants and poor production last summer for the same reason: very little heat. Here’s hoping the new planting system coupled with the reflective heat from the house and gravel add up to a warmer environment.

City Picker Tomato Boxes: May 1, 2012

City Picker Tomato Boxes: May 23, 2012

7 thoughts on “City Pickers Update: Week Three

  1. Pingback: Staking Tomatoes | gardeningnirvana

  2. Pingback: City Picker Update: Tiny Green Tomatoes | gardeningnirvana

  3. I just planted seedlings in my City Picker (very late May)-2 cherry tomato and 3 sweet peppers. I have it on my back patio. I’m keeping it properly filled with water and yet my tomato leaves (the bottom ones) and pepper leaves are wilting and practically dead. Before purchasing it, I only read great things about it and after a somewhat successful container garden last year. I wanted to try this thing that everyone said was so easy and fruitful. I followed the directions to a t and know I bought all of the correct soil, fertilizer, etc because I asked a knowledgeable guy at home depot. I’m wondering if I’m just worrying for nothing.


    • Please don’t give up hope. It’s not uncommon for plants to lose a few leaves after transplanting. It’s also possible that the lower leaves got too hot next to the mulch cover. Try this: Take a sharp pair of garden shears or scissors and simply cut off the bottom few leaves. Check the surface soil and if it’s dry, add a bit of water to the surface till the plants are a bit more established.

      Also, without a photo I can’t be positive, but I wonder if you are simply losing the early leaves, and not the ‘true leaves’ that set later. If so, nothing to worry about. Good luck.


      • I really appreciate your response!!! Thank you sooo much for your reassurance. I would love to send a photo but am not sure how to on this site. I will try everything that you suggested. Last year I just grew my cherry tomato plant in a big container and it thrived. Like I said, I read about City Pickers and had to try it. My neighbors have one and they got peppers last year. Mine never grew. If these veggies do as well as I’m reading, I’ll get another for my herbs. Can I transplant them if they’re already growing or can I only plant seeds/seedlings?


        • You can send a photo as an attachment using my contact form on the blog, or you should be able to post a link to a photo site in the comments.

          You can plant seeds, seedlings or small plants into the City Picker. One year I planted seeds on one side, and bedding plants on the other and they both did fine. In fact, the seeds caught up to the bedding plants and within a month you couldn’t tell the difference.

          Just be sure your tomatoes stay warm and moist (which they should under the dark mulch) and if you reach a finger under the hole and find it is bone dry, you may want to add some water. The idea is to get the roots to go down so too much surface watering is counterproductive. When I grew pumpkins in mine, I ended up adding a bit more water on very hot days. The plants thrived and took over the deck. It was amazing to see them grow.


Please join the conversation by leaving a comment, below.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.