I’ve mentioned before that in this first year of my garden I was hesitant to install permanent vegetable raised beds before I could better gauge the amount of sunlight I get and have the soil tested for heavy metals. So far my experimentation with container gardening has been like any other season — hit or miss!
I planted some tomatoes and basil in this hanging grow bag. They have been growing really well so far — look at that beautiful basil!
The tomatoes shot up while I was gone over Memorial day weekend and now they even have some blossoms. We’ll see if they turn into tomatoes. I definitely get a good 5 hours of sun in this spot, but I’m not sure if that is enough to produce fruit.
The good news is though, even if I don’t get enough sun for fruiting vegetables there is definitely enough for the foliage, so things like kale or other greens should work. The chard I planted in my brick spiral garden is doing well! I’ve already harvested it a few times so it looks a little sparse in this photo. The arugula I planted already bolted; I cut it back so maybe it will re-grow some leaves at least once more. The cilantro is also done. I did put some sage in there as well that has survived!
I impulsively bought this poor tomato container at a plant sale this spring and have nearly killed it thanks to my failure to make arrangements for watering when I went out of town over a holiday weekend. I forget how much water these types of containers need! Nonetheless it is clinging to life still and is actually already producing ripe tomatoes. Has been since the end of May. I guess it got an early start in the greenhouse. I’ve been enjoying the early harvest!
I repurposed an old shelving unit I wasn’t using as a planter for two pepper plants and an eggplant. Again, the foliage is doing well, and there are blossoms, so fingers crossed for at least a little fruit this year!
My strawberries have survived, even as I am still learning the art of using a grow bag (watering is tricky!), and they are an everbearing variety so I get very little fruit at a time anyway. But occasionally I am treated to an adorable little berry!
I ordered some more strawberry seedlings to fill out the rest of the container, and as luck would have it the shipment arrived while I was out of town on a holiday weekend. A few are surviving but they are still so small it is very touch and go.
There is a mulberry tree in my yard which is preventing another few hours of sun for my backyard. On the one hand I think the idea of a mulberry tree is quaint and it provides much-needed shade on these hot summer days. But on the other hand I HATE that thing and am about to take a chainsaw to it myself. Those stupid mulberries were everywhere! In my gutters, littering purple goop all over my yard. So gross. Also my dog thought they were a fun snack and upon being let outside would rummage through the yard trying to collect them all. As you can imagine that made for some rather nasty surprises once back inside. I am going to see if I can just trim back some branches that hang over the house and which are guilty of blocking the sunlight. Then maybe my plants will be a little happier.
You will note that all my photos are closely cropped — my yard still looks like a mess and now that it has become overrun by a species of mosquitoes that is not deterred by bug spray it is difficult to get out and work in the garden. Baby steps!
In addition to my learning curve on the watering, another problem I’ve encountered are insect pests. I made a simple organic spray that really seems to have helped keep them at bay:
Homemade Organic Pesticide
Steep 5-10 cloves of garlic and 2-3 tablespoons of crushed red pepper in a quart of water overnight. Strain and pour into a spray bottle and add a few squirts of biodegradable liquid soap that is scented with lavender or peppermint. Spray on leaves every few days.
Here is a list of additional organic ideas. It is important that you practice organic pest control techniques on your plants because you want to be able to harness the power of beneficial insects — the pollinators and predators that will naturally keep things in check!
Ah, June, you always hold so much hope for the garden before things start to fall apart :). How is your garden doing so far?