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The 5×5 Garden Challenge

April 3rd, 2013

After putting in a long day of coding yesterday, Mr Chiots got the 5×5 Challenge website up & running (a big thanks to him). Over there you will find: a forum for questions (if you want to be a regional mentor let me know so I can add you as an admin), badges for your blog/website, and some general info. Of course we also started a facebook page.
5x5 challenge website
This challenge is all about encouraging new gardeners. If you’re new to gardening we hope this challenge encourages and teaches you. If you’re a seasoned gardener we hope you use this challenge to encourage new gardeners and pass along your knowledge or maybe to try something new. Each Wednesday, the 5×5 Challenge update will be posted here on Chiot’s Run. Next week we’ll start at the beginning, getting your plot ready to go. Your homework for this week is to find a spot you think will be perfect for your 5×5 plot. Try to find a nice sunny location away from large trees. If you have a shady garden, you can go with shade tolerant vegetables instead.
Renees garden container kitchen garden
If you have no garden area, get 5 large containers to grow in. For those of you who will be container gardening or gardening the ground (these plants will do OK in the ground as well), this week we have a giveaway of the Container Kitchen Garden Collection from Renee’s Garden. Comment below for your chance to win.

Have you ever grown vegetables in containers? Which vegetable were you most successful at growing?

44 Comments to “The 5×5 Garden Challenge”
  1. Adelina Anderson on April 3, 2013 at 6:19 am

    This year we will be doing both a container garden and a regular garden. Spent the day gathering buckets and old kitchen pots for planting. Still need one more and need to figure out what goes in what!

    Reply to Adelina Anderson's comment

    • kathi Cook on April 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Renee’s Garden sells wonderful seed variety (can’t remember name) for a container grown zuchinni. I grew them last year in my smallish veggie beds and they were fantastic!

      Reply to kathi Cook's comment

  2. Kim of Sakura Sundries on April 3, 2013 at 9:19 am

    I am so excited to get started! About half my garden is currently container based, and I’m expanding that more and more. It is hard to find sun in my back yard, and most of the sunny places are covered by a deck or don’t drain well (read: completely flood in summer storms). I’d certainly love some new container varieties to try, but I’m also just looking forward to seeing where the 5×5 challenge takes everyone; thank you for hosting it!

    Reply to Kim of Sakura Sundries's comment

  3. DebbieB on April 3, 2013 at 9:37 am

    I signed up! Let’s grow stuff! :)

    Reply to DebbieB's comment

  4. amy on April 3, 2013 at 9:56 am

    I have had a lot of luck growing eggplant in containers….In fact that is the way mine do best…This 5×5 challenge is so neat… looking forward to what everyone will be doing! Don’t put my name in the pot for the seed drawing:)

    Reply to amy's comment

  5. Maybelline on April 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

    An easy container to use is a sack of amended compost – making sure to poke holes at the bottom end for drainage.

    I’m looking for plans for a standing garden container because I cannot bend my back yet. If you have any suggestions, I would appreciate them. Thanks

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

  6. Elyse on April 3, 2013 at 11:20 am

    So excited! We’ve only done container gardening thus far (third floor apartment with balcony), and never had any success with veggies, but our basil did great!

    Reply to Elyse's comment

  7. vanessa on April 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I am a young new gardener that has a small space to work with and find that I am only able to container garden due to the lack of space, beings that I live in a urban area. Last year, I was successful with growing tomatoes, lettuce, and carrots in a container and would love to expand on what I have! When you live in an area as I do, and do not own property, container growing is perfect. I also would like to expand my herb growing as my experience has just been kitchen window based only, although it was surprisingly successful, ideally I would like more as I enjoying drying that herbs myself and translation them into salves and whatever else needed!

    Reply to vanessa's comment

  8. Jenny on April 3, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    This would be great for my collection of porch containers. And the package is so lovely!

    Reply to Jenny's comment

  9. Meghan on April 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Last year I tried container gardening. It wasn’t that successful except for my runner beans that took off. I’m re-trying everything again this year!

    Reply to Meghan's comment

  10. Rick on April 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Sounds like fun! Can’t wait!

    Reply to Rick's comment

  11. mary on April 3, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    With the water situation here I am going to plant in pots this year-

    Reply to mary's comment

  12. Kiskin on April 3, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    I´ve raised many things in containers, most successful ones would be peas, beans (both pole and bush), zucchini and all kinds of greens.
    Oh yes, and carrots! I grow carrots (interplanted with some scallions to deter the carrot fly) in large flowerpots on a patio.

    Reply to Kiskin's comment

  13. Patricia M on April 3, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    This year, I’m trying three potato varieties in large containers. I’m reluctant to grow potatoes in my garden plots because those are reserved for my beloved tomatoes.

    Reply to Patricia M's comment

  14. Janice on April 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I haven’t had great success with container gardening so far but I’m going to give it another try this year. My biggest success has been cherry tomatoes but everything else the harvest has been very sparse. I tried potatoes in a container last year and ended up with about 10 golf ball size potatoes!!!

    Reply to Janice's comment

  15. Samantha G on April 3, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    i plan on trying my hand at container gardening this year. i also would love to learn how to grow herbs in my window sill. i have not had success in that yet.

    Reply to Samantha G's comment

  16. Kat on April 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I’m in an apartment, so everything I grow right now is in containers. My best crops the last few years have been tomatoes, jalapenos and basil. I can’t wait to add some more variety into the mix this year!

    Reply to Kat's comment

  17. Rachel on April 3, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    Sounds like a great challenge!

    Reply to Rachel's comment

  18. Lea on April 3, 2013 at 11:01 pm

    Count me and my son Talon in. He’s the one that really is interested and we’re both excited about getting started. So much so that we’ve already got seeds in the ground and Mother Nature has been good with a little light rain these past few days here in Texas.

    Reply to Lea's comment

  19. Deairdre Miller on April 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    I have always grown my tomatoes in containers. I rent and never knew when I would be moving, so the tomatoes and basil got pots.

    Reply to Deairdre Miller's comment

  20. Connie S on April 4, 2013 at 1:10 am

    The 5×5 challenge caught my eye and sounds like it will be fun and educational!

    Reply to Connie S's comment

  21. Susan M. on April 4, 2013 at 8:48 am

    I tried the topsy turvy for a cherry tomato plant which was a complete fail. Year 2 yielded the same result and I threw the darn thing away!

    But now I have a bit of space and two grandchildren (2.5 and 4.5 yrs.) and this year we are going to try our hand at square foot gardening in a 4×4 container plot.

    I’d love to win and get us started — thanks for the opportunity!

    Reply to Susan M.'s comment

    • Susy on April 4, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      I hate those topsy turvy, I think they’ve discouraged many people from gardening.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • KimH on April 5, 2013 at 3:16 am

        Mine actually did relatively good and I had them for 2 seasons before I tossed them.

        The biggest trick to them is that you need to water them heavily, daily!! And that was a test for me since watering the garden/plants is my least favorite thing to do in the garden.. sigh.. but they prospered anyways. ;)

        to KimH's comment

  22. Maria on April 4, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Signed up last night! This is the first year I won’t have to do containers. In the past I’ve grown things on my fire escape, only to have the squirrels dig them up. We are not on good terms, the squirrels and me…

    Very excited about connected with other gardeners during the challenge, and about having my own raised beds this year!

    I’ve already started most the seeds I need for the year, but if get lucky enough to win some more I’ll start them under my grow lamp and donate the ones I don’t need to the elementary schools nearby. They grow a lot of vegetables in container gardens as a way to raise awareness about urban gardening.

    Reply to Maria's comment

  23. Amy hissa on April 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Would love some seeds!!

    Reply to Amy hissa's comment

  24. michelle galindo on April 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Can’t wait to do the 5×5 garden…this will be my first time. I do have containers though, I do really well with the mini sweet orange peppers. Soooo many of them, I put them in everything! And all my herbs do well also, especially the parsley.

    Reply to michelle galindo's comment

  25. Susan on April 4, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    I think that container gardening will be it for me this year…..and maybe once I’ve got the yard and flower beds under control I’ll think of in-ground gardening. I’d love a chance for the giveaway though.

    Reply to Susan's comment

  26. Elene on April 4, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    This is the first year I’ll be container gardening. I hope to get decent results.

    Reply to Elene's comment

  27. KimH on April 5, 2013 at 3:19 am

    I always grow a couple things in containers around my house & on my deck but they never do as good as those in the ground..

    The most prosperous ones though are mostly lettuces and herbs. I always have a couple tomato plants & pepper plants but as I said, they dont do great.. Im sure that has something to do with the fact that I dont love to water my plants and container plants need more water than those in the ground.. makes perfect sense to me.

    Reply to KimH's comment

  28. cynthialeigh on April 5, 2013 at 11:53 am

    I am looking a forward to the growing season here in southern Ontario. I have a lot of shade but I think I have a patch of sun that will work. Thanks for the encouragement to get growing.

    Reply to cynthialeigh's comment

  29. Michelle on April 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    So I have a space specifically for a vegetable garden. And I love it. But it is small, odd shaped and half shade. A challenge to say the least. In the shady area I plant lettuce, parsley and a berry bush. The rest isn’t utilized…yet. :) The sunny area is the odd-shaped part…and I’ve been trying to figure out how to fit the most plants possible for the highest yield possible in this small space. And I am thinking that I can apply this 5×5 challenge to my existing space! I’m pretty excited about it!

    Reply to Michelle's comment

  30. Renee on April 5, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I have a suggestion for the 5×5 challenge website. There is a lot of non-clickable area front & center when you first see the homepage. Maybe consider linking the 3 images: “meet” to the forums, “learn” to this blog, and “grow” to progress photos or seed-starting info or something?

    Or maybe link the whole masthead photo to the “Get Started” page? Just think it could be easier to get into the “meat” of the website instead of most of what’s visible when the page loads being just images, and I’m sure you want to drive people to the forums to interact also.

    Overall, great start, and I’m excited to already be getting info from the forum discussions!

    Reply to Renee's comment

  31. Renee on April 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Or maybe what I was expecting to see first is a “What is the 5×5 challenge?” type of page before feeling like I’m diving in by clicking “get started” . . . when I refer people to the challenge, I have been sending them to this blog post because it gives a better intro to what it’s about than the site homepage does.

    This phrase “Have you always wanted to grow some of your own food but feel overwhelmed by the idea of having a garden? Join us.” should be very prominent so visitors arriving to the site understand the purpose and feel welcomed immediately.

    Hope these suggestions are helpful!

    Reply to Renee's comment

    • Susy on April 5, 2013 at 8:20 pm

      Thanks for the recommendations.

      Reply to Susy's comment

    • Mr. Chiots on April 5, 2013 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Renee. I implemented all your suggestions. Keep them coming!

      Reply to Mr. Chiots's comment

      • Renee on April 5, 2013 at 11:38 pm

        Thanks! Glad to help, Mr. Chiots!

        P.S. Suzy – I think the 5×5 challenge helped me convince my fiancee to participate in the garden this year. The first year he thought gardening was silly, last year he got mildly interested, and this year I got him to plant a couple pots when I started seeds.

        I explained the 5×5 challenge to him, and I think he’s going to use a 5×5 section of my community garden plot this year! Yay! Thanks!

        to Renee's comment

      • Susy on April 6, 2013 at 6:36 am

        Nice, can’t wait to hear how it goes for him. Glad to hear that my idea of the 5×5 Challenge is getting people interested in gardening!

        to Susy's comment

  32. Maria on April 9, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Hi Susy! Could you remove me from the seed giveaway? I just won a big seed raffle in my neighborhood over the weekend. Entering a second one just seems greedy!

    Reply to Maria's comment

    • Susy on April 9, 2013 at 8:18 am

      Sure thing.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  33. Caroline on April 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    I’d love to win the seeds!

    I have a black thumb, but this year I’ve got my neighbor (who has a beautiful garden!) willing to help me out! (He also directed me here!)

    I want to grow my own food and feel the satisfaction of knowing that I GREW it myself!

    Thanks for the challenge!

    Reply to Caroline's comment

  34. Peggy on April 16, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I’ve had gardens before but some how ended up doing very little after we moved to our current location. I really need some motivation so this challenge is perfect! I’ve grown most veggies but would like to concentrate on things we can preserve this year as well as some salad items. pickling cucumbers, corn, potatoes, lettuces, and green beans

    Reply to Peggy's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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