September 12, 2013

My pot garden (i.e. container gardening)



I have limited garden space, and rather than fight the slugs and shade that wreaked havoc on my veggies last year, this year I planted lots of stuff in pots that I'd collected from garage and estate sales. I can place the pots in the best spots for optimal light. I planted kale, red and green lettuce, and Swiss chard in the side yard. These were late summer-fall crops. I already had cherry tomatoes and two kinds of basil thriving in pots on the deck. I looked for plants for the side yard that would do well with some shade, and placed the tomatoes and basil in the spot on the deck with the most sun. The tomatoes and basil were close to the house to give them a little protection from the inevitable cool weather that Seattle experiences. This year, though, we had an unusual abundance of sun and warmth, and a shortage of rain, and you do have to water pots.


When I discovered a critter had been digging up my baby plants, I stuck wooden skewers into the dirt, and that seemed to do the trick.


I couldn't believe how quickly the plants grew. I don't have enough kale yet to feed us continually, but we've had several meals from it. The lettuce is abundant, and all we need. The Swiss chard, which was planted later,  is still too small to pick, but much larger than when the photo was taken a couple of weeks ago.


The tomatoes are winding down now, but have been fabulous. Next year I'll plant more than one because one wasn't enough. In addition to the pots I've shown you, I also have some containers with herbs like rosemary, mint and thyme.


Also in the side garden, I've started a strawberry patch, and last year planted several herbs which are doing well, like the golden oregano in the photo above. There's parsley, and salad burnet, too. The salad burnet is a very pretty herb that's supposed to taste like cucumber, but mine doesn't. There are also chives planted here and there, but they don't do as well as they did in Madison. Maybe I'll try them in a pot next season.


With last year's parsley and a new plant this year, we have all we need.


I love rosemary, and between the one in the pot and the one in the ground, we have an ample amount.

At our house in Wisconsin, we had a large garden where we had been enriching the soil for years from our compost bin, but here, the dirt sucks, is very stoney, and hard, and we don't have a good spot to make compost. Our backyard is compact, so we don't have the luxury of spreading out. The large pots have really worked well for adding gardening space to our limited yard, and they look good, too! Plus, as I mentioned before, no slugs. Have you tried growing vegetables and herbs in big pots?

How to wash produce to protect your health



I found the video about how to clean produce (and why you should) very interesting, though I have to admit I haven't put the ideas into practice, yet. I do wash all our produce, but just in plain water. Do you use vegetable wash? Have you ever become ill from not washing produce well?

14 comments:

  1. This sounds much more my speed than planting a giant garden. Besides not wanting slugs, I'm kind of a lazy weeder; I don't suppose the limited space helps with that? I'm very impressed by your haul! And your post title is classic.

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    1. There were no weeds to speak of in my pots. But, lots of mulch, even in a giant garden, keeps the weeds away. My dream is a giant garden with pathways and no weeds or slugs. Not going to happen.

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  2. Whenever I see anyone with a garden I'm madly jealous of their veggie-growing ability! I've managed a couple of herbs on a windowsill but that's about it - even your winding down toms look lovely.

    I'm not convinced about the whole veggie wash thing - I never had a problem with just water.

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    Replies
    1. No need to be jealous of my garden — just throw a few seeds into pots. I'm always surprised when the seeds grow and stay alive. It's thrilling to eat food you've grown yourself. We've had an unusual amount of sunshine this year, and I don't know what next summer will bring, but I'm going to be on the lookout for a few more big pots.

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  3. Wow--I am so impressed! All of your plants and produce looks amazing. I wish I could container garden, but in the city I worry that someone will put their cigarette out or spit in the containers I put outside, lol. Hopefully one day soon I will have a place to garden too! Until then, I will just drool over your photos :)

    Courtney

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    1. Actually, I'm impressed, too. I had no idea the plants would do so well in pots. My pots are hidden from the street or I'd be worried about the same things as you. Plus dog pee.

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  4. nice work, Andrea! I used to do a lot of container gardening when I lived in a condo, because it was my only option. And actually, I found it quite manageable and successful. These days we have a bigger garden and a lot of times I feel overwhelmed by it all. Especially this year, because we are essentially having a drought and we aren't supposed to water much... so nothing really thrived at all this year. Oh well!

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    1. Thanks, Amey. In the side yard where I put the pots, the ground was so hard we couldn't get a garden fork into the ground to dig up the weird, thick weeds, so we laid on a thick layer of newspaper, wet it down and covered it with mulch. The pots are on top of the mulch. Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. We did water a lot this year, but it's easier to water a few pots than a huge garden.

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  5. Your pot gardens are looking fabulous! Thanks for the tip about the critters - I never knew wooden skewers would do the trick!

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    1. Thanks! I didn't know about skewers either. I just couldn't think of anything else.

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  6. Consider yourself envied. What a beautiful assortment of plants! The only thing I've ever grown is herbs and once I tried to grow a cherry tomato plant - but I don't like cherry tomatoes. Oy!

    Interesting about the wooden skewers. I'll keep that in mind in case I ever have my own pot garden.

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    1. It's not much, but it makes me happy. :D I've never used wooden skewers in this way before — it was a sudden inspiration born of frustration.

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  7. You have a really great variety! Our soil is horrible, but we might start working on getting it veggie-worthy so we can have a vegetable garden eventually. Mike's parents always give us so much, though, so we might just stick to flowers.

    We don't use a vegetable wash, but I have in the past. I never noticed a difference and as far as I know, I've never been sick from not using it.

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    1. Our soil is horrible, too. That's one of the reasons I started the pots — that and the slugs. See what I wrote to Amey's comment. You seem to have so much garden space it would be nice to build up the soil and grow some veggies.

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