I love gardening, even though I’m not very good at it. When it comes to gardening, I follow the mantra, “Practice makes perfect.” No matter how many plants come into my home to die…I will always go out and get new ones. And it’s working to my advantage. I still don’t know much about gardening, and most of what I learn is from making a mistake and killing yet another plant, but I’m learning and getting better.
So this year, I decided to try to grow vegetables. I did some Internet research to figure out which vegetables are relatively easy to grow in containers and I bought some. I’m not very good at starting from a seed, so I’ve just been getting the starter plants from Lowe’s that come in those biodegradable planters. I decided to start doing that last summer when I attempted to grow basil from a seed and wound up with a small oak tree…not even joking. I gave it to Jenn and Brittni, who showed it to Jenn’s brother-in-law who has a master’s (I think) in horticulture. Definitely an oak tree. I swear the package said it was basil. I’m just really terrible at gardening.
Zach and I go through green peppers and zucchini like they’re water. So we agreed that, if I can figure out how to grow them in containers, it could save us money. And be a lot of fun. Lucky for us, they are also on the list of veggies easily grown in containers (for your reference they are: zucchini, string beans, tomatoes, green bell peppers, strawberries, and I’m also growing thyme and basil). Here’s my garden, so far.
This is my part of the deck. I share it with my neighbors. Zach and I are lucky enough to live in the first corner apartment, so our deck is very clearly separated from everyone else’s.
See? Up those stairs are two more apartments. (There are twelve apartments total in this building. Three below us and six on the other side. All set up like this.)
My garden is sort of an inconvenience for anyone who attempts to move in the spring or summer. I try to bring the plants inside when I know someone is moving. That black thing on the other side of the deck is a portable grill. I put a tarp over it to keep the rain out.
My “Welcome” cat glows green at night. On warm summer mornings, Zach and I like to sit outside and have our coffee.
I got the pots from Amazon. I thought they would be bigger and not so crammed together. I wound up spraying them with a coating to make them UV and weather resistant. So far, it’s working. I intend to put hens and chickens in them. (Hens and chickens are these. I recently discovered that not everyone calls them that. My dad calls them cows and pigs.) My mom has a bunch of hens and chickens that come from my great-great-grandmother’s original plant. Last year, her dog dug them up and flung them across the deck. She missed a few and they started growing EVERYWHERE. Now she has more than she knows what to do with. So I’ll take some off her hands. 😛
This is a Chinese money tree. I bought it last summer. It looks really cruddy because my cat keeps eating it. (Don’t worry, it’s not poisonous.) I’m hoping being outside will help it.
These are string beans. My cat tried to eat that, as well. But it is a very strong plant. Cini ate some of the leaves, so it sprouted ten more. This is the plant that keeps surprising me. I thought it would be the first to die, but it seems to really love its home.
This is the only plant in my garden that I started from seeds. It will, hopefully, become a lemon tree. It’s doing much better since I put it in a bigger pot. I know Pinterest has a pin going around showing you how to plant lemon seeds in an Ikea mug. I don’t recommend doing that if you want it to actually grow. If you plan to transfer it to a bigger container at some point, getting it out of that mug was incredibly difficult. I suggest putting it in a pot. You can get biodegradable starter pots at Wal-Mart and Lowe’s–you just plant them in the ground with the pot still intact.
This is my strawberry plant. I’m very disappointed in it. I think it may be sick. Every flower that grows on it opens and then turns brown. I need to pull out the roots and have a look, I think. I did have issues with mold on the soil, but I removed the plant from that soil, cleaned it, and put it in new soil. (I made the mistake of using soil that I had leftover from last year. Every plant I potted in that soil grew mold. Lesson learned: don’t reuse soil!)
My thyme plant. The rocks are there because I had rocks. That’s it. This is the herb Zach wanted, for reasons I don’t know. But it’s nice to have! I think it’s a very pretty plant.
This is my green bell pepper plant. It isn’t really growing much….
My tomatoes! This plant smells so good. And it already has two tomatoes on it. I’m so thrilled!
I had issues with the basil at first. It was another plant that had mold. It seems to be doing very well now, though. It’s beginning to get taller.
Finally, my zucchini. The leaves look bent because the wind was blowing when I took this. This plant was so pathetic looking when I bought it, but it has gotten so big! I’m very happy with it. 😀
I need to water my plants today, actually. I also need to dump out the water that collected in the plastic saucer under the tomato. Water just runs right through that plant.
Our little area isn’t very impressive. And I need to get a storage container to put my extra soil, plant food, and other tools in. I hate storing them under the chairs…sometimes bugs get in them. Which isn’t necessarily a terrible thing, but I don’t like being surprised when I pull something out.
Are you going go grow anything interesting this year? If you have any advice on how to treat my plants (especially the strawberries), I’d love to hear it.
Now this is so inspiring! Good for you for doing container gardening! I think I may try some herbs in a container this year. I love your story about the “basil” that turned out to be an oak tree! So funny!
Haha! Thanks! Herbs are such a useful thing to have fresh around the house, especially basil. Good luck!
Thank you, I need all of the luck I can get when it comes to gardening! ;0)
LOL over your oak tree from basil seeds. So funny! I admire your perseverance at gardening. I think I would be frustrated and give up if I kept failing, or not even start at all… which is the phase I’m currently in. Haha. Great work! ~M.
lol Thanks! Most things make me give up when I fail so much and so badly…but this is something I don’t seem to want to give up. 😛
This looks fantastic. I have had some sucess in growing green peppers. Nothing can beat the joy of growing in containers with the little soil around. Your garden looks perfectly planned, I must say. . Take a peek at my blog.
Oh, your blog post is very helpful. Thanks!
Great work! I JUST began a container garden this spring. Trying my luck with tomatoes, mint, and lemongrass. So far, so good. If this is successful I hope to have something a little more extensive, similar to what you have on your patio. Keep up the good work and keep us updated on how it’s going, or shall I say growing?!
Those are nice plants to start with! Do you have any plans for the lemongrass? Thanks for stopping by!