I can practically hear them whispering to me every time I walk into the kitchen.
Meet my new and extremely active container garden.
I have never tried to grow my own plants, although I very fondly remember my mother’s annual gardening efforts when we were young (I’m sure I have a much better attitude about them now than I did at the time).
I’ve been putting it off for a few years because we either had a new baby or were planning to travel for a few weeks during the summer. But this year there’s no planned travel and I’m hoping to be sane/responsible enough to keep watering the garden after the baby is born.
It was a spur of the moment decision, really. I woke up one morning last week and thought, I should really plant a garden this year. And then the next day I went out and bought seeds and those little peat pellet thingies and planted them that night. I guess my plans are more successful sometimes when I don’t put a whole lot of forethought into them.
Anyhow, I’m starting off slowly with only six varieties: Sweet basil (6 pots), Sweetie cherry tomatoes (6 pots), Detroit Dark Red beets (4 pots), Goliath peas (3 pots), Contender bush beans (3-6 pots), and Black Beauty zucchini (3 pots). I chose them because they are either expensive at the store (beets, cherry tomatoes, basil) or hopefully so prolific that we’ll get a lot of produce (beans, peas, zucchini, and maybe the tomatoes). According to the packets, I don’t think that the tomatoes, beets, or peas will survive the heat of summer. But that’s okay — I’ve started them early enough that I’ll hopefully get a crop in very early summer and then let them die back and plant something else in the fall. I’d really like to grow lettuce and spinach as well, but I’m already past the number of pots that I’d been expecting. Plus, I have no idea what grows well here in the south or on our back porch, so I’m considering round one to be pretty experimental.
According to all of the seed packets and to the peat pellet package, germination usually takes 7-10 days. Um, I don’t think so. The first four photos were taken in the morning on the sixth day, and the photo above was taken in the afternoon.
This is today, the eighth day. Yikes. These are the beans — which, I should admit, I soaked overnight before planting — and I could practically watch them grow. I think the tallest is about 13 inches now. Their rate of growth is actually starting to alarm me a little since the stems are kind of spindly looking. Based on the packets’ predictions I didn’t think I’d need pots for another few weeks, but I am getting some today since I think these guys need to go outside now. (Speaking of pots and potting soil, they are obviously the most expensive part of this gardening experiment. But I was told by someone at a local nursery that they sell used black pots at their other location so I’m going to price them out this afternoon. Just thought I’d pass that tip along.)
I’m hoping to keep the smaller plants indoors for a few more weeks both to spread out the cost and because I’m pretty sure we’ll get at least one more cold snap before spring officially kicks off and I don’t want to haul a bunch of plants in overnight. Oh wait, that’s where helpful husband comes in. But it would still be a real pain.
Most of the packets say that the plants like full sun, but there’s no place on our front or back porch areas that gets that because of the roof overhang. The back porch gets good afternoon light, though, and is usually roasting by 4 pm, so I’m going to put them as close to the edge as possible and hope for the rest. I’ll post more photos as the summer goes on, partly as a record to myself so I can do things a little better next year. It’s probably due to pregnancy hormones, but I feel very maternal toward my little plants and if this works out, I can already tell that I’m going to want a container garden every single summer we live here.
Have a good weekend!