With everything that’s been going on in my crazy, little life, it seemed like a bad idea for me to try to revive the week-by-week account of the life of our patio garden. I don’t even want to think about how far behind I’d be on it if I’d even made the attempt! However, just because I’m not writing about it this year doesn’t mean I’m not gardening! Oh no, gardening seems to be well and truly in my blood at this point, and I don’t know that I could stop if I wanted to.
So in honor of Earth Day 2013, I thought it would be fun to give you guys a glimpse of how the patio garden is doing at the moment.
(Excuse the dirt; gardens are dirty places.)
Remember Legz, my favorite little yellow pear tomato plant? Well, he got munched over the winter and nearly died. He was just beginning to come back, putting up some new, strong shoots, when I transplanted him and accidentally dumped him on his metaphorical head. What resulted was an accidental topping of the plant. When it had recovered from that, it suddenly became thick and bushy, with four individual stalks coming out of the ground instead of just the one. I think, if we’re lucky, we’re going to be inundated with yellow pears this year. Fine by me!
New neighbors to Legz are a few of the six red bell pepper starts that I bought.
We’ve lost one pepper (and look likely to lose another), but the rest seem to be growing slowly but surely. I hope we get a good crop. I love red bell peppers, and they’re getting really expensive at the store.
I’ve planted four jalapenos, as well. We had two plants last year, and were overrun with peppers, in the best of ways. I hope to be able to do some canning with them this year.
Another new addition are these tarragon plants.
If I’ve grown this herb before, I don’t remember it. Interesting fact that one of the owners of my local garden center told me: tarragon will appear to die come winter, but it will just be dormant. It will come back in spring, so she told me not to worry and not to throw it out when that happens. Good to know!
I don’t know if you remember the little thyme plant that could, the one we’d grown from seed, and which I had transplanted to a larger, terra cotta plant, crossing my fingers it would do alright there? Well, it did! It out grew that space, so I relocated it to a giant pot where it has plenty of room to expand. I hope it does. I LOVE cooking with thyme.
Speaking of terra cotta, you may have noticed the clay circles covered in mulch stones in some of the pots. That’s a nifty new watering system we’re trying this year, and it’s working as miraculously as we hoped it would. Last year I’d learned about an ancient technique that uses an unglazed pot called an olla. The pot is buried in a large container along with whatever plants you want to grow, and then filled with water. As the soil dries out, water is wicked through the walls of the earthenware pot, so that the soil maintains a consistent level of hydration. This is especially good to have during the dry summer months when it’s just not possible to water the plants as frequently as they need it.
Proper ollas like the one above can be fairly expensive, so I bought terra cotta pots in a bunch of different sizes at the garden center. I plugged their drain holes with a plastic cork and sealed it with unscented candle wax.
I use the drainage trays meant to sit under the pots as lids instead, so that the water doesn’t evaporate. Now, as long as I remember to keep the pots filled with water, the plants can have a drink any time of the day or night, whether I’m around to water or not. Plus it helps conserve water by assuring I’m not giving them any more than they need. Isn’t that nifty?
Check out our chives! These were leftover from last season. They’d become severely root bound and above ground they were limp and sad. So I moved them to a pot about six times the size of their old one. Now they’re growing faster than I can keep up with. I mow them about once every week and a half, and they shoot right back up again. Know anyone who could use some fresh chives? :/
I did something similar with the mint. It wasn’t doing so well, so I split the plant in half and moved both pieces to pots larger than the one they’d shared.
Clearly, they are loving the extra leg room. I can’t wait to start making refreshing beverages with all of those luscious leaves!
I planted a few more things yesterday from seed as an early Earth Day celebration (and because I really needed to get them planted). I planted basil, shallots, dill, and cilantro. Hopefully they’ll start to sprout soon. I’m hungry!
That’s it for my little garden. I hope you are all having a wonderful Earth Day.