Monday, May 21, 2012

Containers for a Kitchen Garden


So we've been going to the farmers' market in the summer months and dealing with our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) group for some time, but I was really missing growing my own! We'll still keep both of those assets, but somehow having your own fresh goodies feeds my soul as well as my body.

Unfortunately, the trees have really grown since the last time I had a garden...because of their spreading shade, I've actually moved my garden 4 times in 30 years.  Now the only bit of sun we have is in the front yard of the house we're rehabbing next door...and I hated to dig up the front yard.  Not entirely sure how the City would feel about that...

I think the Onion Farm got that urge going may have read about it in this post. 
When spring came, we moved the onions outside to the deck where they CONTINUE to thrive and provide us with green onion tops...the same onions we got last winter, yep.

So...that and my age and arthritis seemed to make container gardening  the perfect solution.  I found huge, colorful, lightweight (and relatively inexpensive) pots at my local discount store and my imagination was off and running. 

To provide ventilation, Joseph drilled holes in the bottom of the pots and I added rocks and broken bricks both to aerate the rooms and to make the pots good and heavy.

Then I added whatever weeds and such that were needing pulling...

And having done some research on hugelkultur, which usually involves raised beds built on an aged woodpile, I decided to give it a try on a small scale--we had a lot of dead sticks, bark, and rotten wood after the winter, and I broke up whatever I could for the next layer in each pot.  This will provide feeding and aeration over the long haul.

We didn't have pots of good dirt available, so we had to resort to buying, just like the Ozarks!

We ended up buying about 10 bags of organic humus, peat, potting soil, mulch, and plain old dirt to supplement the bags of potting soil we had sitting in the garden shed for years...hopefully, if I feed it well, it'll last from year to year and so will the planters!

Doesn't look half bad!  I dug between the pots and the stone pillars and added a few more plants...spinach, tomatoes, mesclun, squash...

Here's the first pot, all planted...cucumbers and green peppers!

Here's the only spot that gets a LOT of sun!  It was necessary to mulch to hold in the moisture already, in the pots and around the plants in the ground.

And the babies are growing!  This pot has cukes, peppers, a couple of red cabbages, and marigolds to help protect them from pests.  (And oh YES they're planted too close...we'll see how that goes...)

In front of the house, I planted the strawberry pot in herbs...there's another in the back yard.  Sage, thyme, oregano, and chives...
We've planted several tomatoes in hanging pots and in the ground--heirloom varieties for maximum flavor.

Out back, I've planted a big old pot of sweet potatoes and plan to do another, plus two long metal planters I've had of spinach and one of mesclun, or mixed salad greens.  We put them in an area that gets partial sun, since they are supposed to tolerate some shade... before long, if all goes well the Starving Artists will be sharing recipes made with our own vegetables!
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