My vegetable garden 2012
For some reason, people are fascinated with other people’s gardens. “Hey, what are you growing over there? Wow, look at the size of that pepper!” and things like that. I know I am, and one neighbor really has a pepper that’s the size of my head.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I haven’t had much luck growing anything myself until recently. However, I think I learned the big secret that’s been elluding me. Apparently, plants want you to water them. A lot. Especially if they are in containers that bake under the sun all day and have every drop of water torn from them by that cruel, harsh big yellow ball.
This year, I started with some containers. Some where just some 5 gallon buckets I had lying around, and some others were pots of various sizes:
- 3 types of tomatoes. I cheated and bought starters that had a couple of tomatoes already growing on them, just to ensure I actually got something off them at least one time. Our older son loves tomatoes, and eats grape tomatoes like they're candy. I need to be careful letting him around the plants if any are close to ripe, otherwise they go straight from bush to mouth when I'm not looking. I suppose I shouldn't complain about that, and next year plant about 20 bushes.
- 3 types of bell peppers. I had a really good yellow and red pepper in April, so I saved the seeds from them. I threw a few in some dirt, and lo-and-behold, they sprouted. I also bought one green pepper plant.
- Basil, since I think it's a requirement to grow basil if you're going to have a garden.
- Lemon thyme, although I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do with it.
- Lemon verbena, because that's what I was supposed to plant to put in tea instead of the thyme.
- Leeks. These are pretty funny, since I planted them in a container two years ago, and they didn't grow, but they didn't die. They just sat and sat. So when I was looking for containers this year, I decided to dump them and use this pot for something else. I kept two of the bulbs to plant for giggles. What do you know, they are going absolutely crazy. They are getting big, and appear to be sprouting more bulbs. Since I don't know how that happens, I need to go look that up.
[caption id=”attachment_1024” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”] My two leeks, that have looked like weeds for years, are finally growing like crazy. The one on the right seems to be having children.[/caption]
- Strawberries. I've had this bush in a bucket for years, and every year I get one or two strawberries off it, and I'm usually fighting a squirrel or something for it. We'll see if the watering helps it out this year. I should pull this out of the pot, but I'm worried about it growing like crazy and being impossible to get rid of if I do.
- Stevia. Yes, this is an odd one. The herb lady at the farmers market was selling these, so we figured what the heck. We can put the leaves in tea, if we don't just chew them up directly. (They are really sweet.) They're still in a pot right now, well, just because.
- Cucumbers, with the hope I can make some pickles later. Originally I didn't think this was going to make it, but last few days of rain have made it start growing pretty good. Look at the size of those leaves. (Bottom right corner)
- Watermelon, just for my wife. It's still in a pot because I haven't decided where to put it yet.
After a donation of a raised bed kit from my mother in law, I moved the plants into the ground from the containers. They are growing much better in this. I used a ratio of about 5 bags top soil to 3 bags fertilizer (a pretty word for manure), all organic. Note that if you’re going to do raised bed, those things take a surprising amount of dirt! I could probably add another 3 or 4 bags easily, and I’m only using half the kit.
When I looked at containers a couple of years ago, somewhere I saw that it helps to put an insulating layer of mulch or grass clippings on the top to help hold in the moisture. I don’t know if it really helps or not, but I’ve kept that up. At the least, I figure it will help with erosion control as all the dirt settles down.
So far, things are good. I’ve picked over 10 tomatoes, 8 more than came with the plants, so I think that means we’re ahead of the game. We’ve also used some basil and stevia.
One tip. If everything dies off this year, I’m going to move the garden a foot or so away from the fence, so I have room to walk all the way around it. Seems obvious, but when you’re just eager to get stuff done early in the morning before it gets hot, you may not think about these things.
At one point, there was a daily deal on Amazon for this book (Kindle edition) for free. I haven’t read it yet, figuring it will be good over the winter when I’m planning for next year, but I thought I’d mention it in case you’re looking for a book. Also, keep an eye out for Kindle deals, because free is always nice!
I’d love to hear about what you’re planting, and what suggestions you have, in the comments below.