Questions about first planters!

Questions about first planters!

Hi, everyone! I'm new to gardening. My mother was a spectacular and avid gardener but I never really got into it. Lo and behold at 26 after a brutally busy few years I all of the sudden got SUPER excited about starting my own garden while knowing practically nothing, haha. Thus far it's been very successful I am happy to say! I live in Portland, Oregon (no idea what zone that is, sorry!) and all my seeds (woohoo for those jiffy greenhouse things!) are up and thriving after starting them mid-late April. Most of all, my beans have gone CRAZY and they are WAY overdue to be re-planted. I transfered them to larger yogurt containers a while back but they are all still 1'-3' tall by now and my ridiculous jury-rigging of multiple bamboo skewers ain't cutting it as support systems. I've already moved everything outside to harden them off (and of course we got record rainfall in the past week that's set records for here > ( so I'm hoping they haven't drowned to death) and I found some awesome cheap crates and containers at Goodwill that I've re-purposed into planters (oh yeah, forgot to mention I'm in an apartment with a north-facing balcony). So far I've drilled holes in the bottom, lined them with think mil plastic and filled the bottoms with about 2-3" of gravel (for drainage, yeah?) So, a bajillion questions: 1) Is this enough gravel at the bottom for drainage? I can still add more as I haven't added my potting soil yet. I'll still have another foot or so at least of room for soil. I wasn't sure how much to use. I'm just using the normal gravel from Home Depot. 2) I have 2 kinds of beans - Alaska early beans (x5) and French Green Beans (x6) that are going in the planter that's 12" x 28". I want to arrange them so they're pretty and get enough of what they need (what that is individually, I have no clue, haha) and make sure I'm not arranging them in a way that's detrimental to them. Thus far I have come up with the two designs: Assume X = Alaska early beans and O = green beans ------X--------X---------X--------X------- ----------O--------X---------O------------ ------O--------O--------O--------O------ OR ------O--------X---------O--------X------- ----------O--------X---------O------------ ------O--------X--------O--------X------ Oh wise and experienced gardeners: Does anyone know or have input into what might look prettier and/or any benefits/detriments to either plan? Or care to suggest another? And if you have time to answer my last question, I'd appreciate it, but i've got some time before I transplant my herbs: 3) The other successful seedling I have are sage, lavender, oregano, and chives which will all be going into a planter about 1 1/2' x 1 1/2' square. Any helpful suggestions or warnings about arranging these? I've got good bunches of seedlings from all of the herbs and I'm wondering if I just put each herb in it's own little corner of the planter? Alternate rows somehow? Any input you can offer? PHEW! Thanks for your patience and any helpfu hints, criticisms and advice you can offer for me. I'm going to work on building some trellises w/ some bamboo stakes and twine and my lovely lovely drill (screw diamonds, a good cordless drill is a girl's best friend! >D haha) while I await your replies. TIA!
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