The first summer I lived in my house (2010), I did a patio garden that consisted of 1 plum tomato plan, 1 regular tomato plant (not sure what variety), a cucumber plant, 3 green bell pepper plants, 2 banana pepper plants, and a few herbs. The patio garden was a HUGE success! I used Bonnie’s Herb & Vegetable Plant Food, and there were more tomatoes, cucumber, and jalapenos than Alex and I could eat without them going bad. I chopped up and froze tomatoes to replace canned tomatoes in recipes. This was my first time ever doing vegetable gardening, and I quickly learned lessons regarding containers for the next year. As you can see from the picture below, most everything outgrew the container I used.
For some reason, I lost interest in gardening and flower in 2011, so I didn’t do any type of garden. In 2012, I decided to try the garden in the ground, behind the house. The patio garden in 2010 was a LOT of work. Everything pretty much had to be watered daily because of the shallow containers I used. In an effort to water less, I planted in the ground this time: cucumbers, 1 tomato plant, 1 red bell pepper plant, 1 green bell pepper plant, 1 banana pepper plant, 1 jalapeno plant, and several broccoli plants. I also had some herbs on the patio.
This garden sucked. Our soil is terrible (lots of clay and chert), and I had less control over things (not sure if it was mammals or insects) eating my plants. Something kept eating all of my pepper plant leaves, and none of them ever did well. I imagine a chipmunk or squirrel kept digging in the garden area, so I had to put big rocks around the plants so they wouldn’t keep getting dug up. The cucumbers sucked also. This was my first time planting broccoli, and I waited too long to harvest it, so worms got all of it. I also don’t think this area got enough sun. While my rose tree does great, I don’t think it was enough daily sunlight for vegetables. Also, the garden was out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I think I only fertilized it twice during the summer, as opposed to once or twice a month when it was on the deck. I let it go and didn’t maintain it like I would have had it been on the deck, therefore being a constant reminder to care for it. Sad, huh? I was lazy last summer. I still wasn’t 100% into the whole flowers and gardening last year. We barely ate anything that did produce in the garden for 2012.
This year, I have the gardening bug big time again! I couldn’t wait to plant my patio garden, which I did so on April 11th. I took into consideration the valuable lessons I learned from 2010, this time getting deeper containers for the vegetables and herbs. However, I did invert a smaller container so it would cut back some of the soil I had to use in each. I got these large, round plastic containers at Wal-Mart for about $29 each. I drilled holes in the bottom and covered them with coffee filters so the holes wouldn’t get stopped up with dirt. I can’t wait to taste fresh tomatoes and cucumbers!
My cucumbers are struggling since we have had an unusually mild spring so far, with temperatures getting down into the high 30’s and low 40’s a little too often. They are trying to bounce back!