Friday, July 30, 2010

container gardening plus!, the second year

potatoes and onions
Last summer, I grew potatoes on my back porch. They didn't turn out quite like I was hoping (and we didn't even end up eating them) but I'm trying again this year!

This time, I've tried to grow quite a few more things, too. So far, I planted red, white, and sweet potatoes and white onions from sprouted produce, and beefsteak tomatoes, spinach, chives, cilantro, oregano, basil, parsley, lavender, wild flower mix, shasta daisies, and pansies from seeds.

tiny lavender plants
I did all this gardening one day (a Tuesday) in an attempt to speed up my labor. It didn't work, but I sure got a lot done that day!

Well, we had a really wet first couple of weeks in June, and then it got very hot and dry, so some of my plants didn't make it, and others aren't doing that great. If I was a more fastidious gardener these things wouldn't have affected my plants.

As it is, I accidentally bought decorative pots (with poor drainage) for a couple of my containers so those plants were too wet, and I planted my tomato seeds in pots that don't hold moisture, so they dried up. I really just haven't had the time to pay a lot of attention to these plants, so they've had to fend for themselves. The herb seeds didn't take off, so that planter is totally empty now. My spinach bolted, so it had to be pitched. The sweet potatoes never did sprout, and the wildflowers were washed out with the rain.


However, there were several plants that were successful. My white and red potatoes are doing pretty well, and the onions are also growing. Our yard now has daisy and pansy starts planted in it, but neither of those has flowered yet. The lavender has been very resilient and is growing well in the yard also.

My lovely in-laws are in town right now, and they helped (read: did most of the work) weed and plant more things in our front yard and parking strip. I now have lettuce, beets, zucchini and acorn squash seeds planted out there. They also bought us basil, oregano, and parsley in a planter at the farmers' market the other day. I am so grateful for some herbs that are already thriving! (Now I just have to try to keep them alive.)

Do you (attempt to) garden? Have any tips for me in my efforts?


  1. Just keep inviting those inlaws back, and your garden will be whipped right into shape!

  2. You mentioned bolting.. I'm new to leafy veggie gardening. I tried lettuce and spinach this spring and after discovering how very well drained lettuce must be... and saving one plant... I have managed to keep it alive but not really growing much. My spinach, on the other hand, seems to be getting longer and longer, and less and less leafy.

    They have a few leaves left, but I'm seeing most of them try to unfold and never make it. I have them in full sun for a while each day and then they're shaded the rest of the time (probably about 5 hours of sun). Do you have any suggestions?

  3. @Angie: I'm not an expert gardener by any means, but here's what I've gathered from my research: Bolting happens to leafy vegetables when the plant decides its growing season is over and it's ready to reproduce. It sends up a stalk and grows flowers. It sounds like this is what's happening to your spinach (that it's getting tall instead of leafy). Spinach grows best in cooler parts of the year (late Spring & early Fall) than in the hottest part of Summer. When lettuce bolts, it becomes too bitter to eat, but this is not the case for spinach. You can still eat the leaves, though they will be smaller and may turn yellow fairly quickly.

    I don't know that I have any suggestions for you, other than perhaps to look up the ideal planting/growing times for various vegetables in your location. I found a chart for my area, and it has definitely helped me to have more success with my vegetables.


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