Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Loving the Container Garden and Most Plants are Happy! (2013 Garden Update #2)

Garden Update
I'm pretty happy with my little container garden, and lots of tomatoes are starting to appear!

If you saw My First Garden Update from 2013, you know I decided to try container gardening for the first summer at my new house.  I've had a raised-bed garden for many years, so truthfully I wasn't sure how a container garden and herbs in the windowsill would fulfill my need to grow things, but truthfully I am loving my small container garden.  Most plants are doing well, and the tomatoes especially seem like they're going to thrive in the containers on the deck.  It's now been more than a month since that first update, so I figured it was time to share how the plants are doing.

By the way, I took these photos at dusk because the deck is too bright to get a good picture during the day, so if you're wondering how I get my lawn so lush and dark green in Utah where it's been over 100F for days now, it's partly a trick of photography! No plants were harmed in the taking of these photos, although I may have snipped off a few leaves to let the tomatoes peek out.  Tomorrow is the 4th of July, so after I post this I'm going to take a few days off to celebrate.  Happy gardening everyone!

First up in the row of plants is my favorite Green Zebra Tomatoes, and as you can see, they're doing well.  If you've never grown this tomato variety, they're delicious (not to be confused with Striped Zebra, which I don't like nearly as well.)

New-to-me this year is this Black Krim heirloom tomato, and this plant has the biggest tomato of all so far.  I'm really looking forward to tasting this one.

I always grow Celebrity tomatoes, a dependable variety with medium-sized red fruit, and there are a few tomatoes showing up on this one too.

This Pot Black Eggplant is an experiment, but it seems to be getting tons of flowers, and although you can't see any in the photo, there are a few teeny-tiny eggplants already.  This variety produces small eggplants about 3 oz. each.

The basil is thriving on the deck, and when I made Spinach and Basil Pesto I gave it a pretty vigorous trimming.  As you can see here, the basil is already growing back with gusto!  (Basil loves to be trimmed, and you can freeze the fresh basil to use during the winter.)

My cucumbers don't seem to be as happy as the other plants, although they're loaded with blossoms.  After I noticed the plants seemed rather yellow, I started fertilizing them once a week with a small dose of Jobes Organic Water Soluble Vegetable and Tomato Fertilizer, which seems to be helping.

The one tomato plant that doesn't have any tomatoes on it yet is the Lemon Boy yellow tomato but I remember from other years that this plant sets the fruit on late, so I'm not worried.

And I have already eaten one of these tiny little Sun Gold Yellow Cherry Tomatoes, which was delicious!

Meanwhile, in the kitchen window the basil is not so happy, and if you look carefully you can see that the plant is infected with some kind of little bug.  They aren't eating the leaves, and I've been putting the two basil plants in the sink every day and spraying them with water, which seems to be helping.  I might buy a couple more basil plants while the garden center still has them, because I really want basil growing in my window!

The rosemary is thriving in the sunny south window.  I love rosemary, especially in winter cooking, so I'm hoping I can keep it going all winter.

I originally had cilantro in these next two pots, but I realized that you use so much of it at a time that it took the whole pot to make a dish and then it took forever to grow back.  So I ditched the cilantro and planted Greek oregano in this first one.  It's very happy here.

On the other pot that first had cilantro I planted Thyme, which is another herb I love for winter cooking.

The mint has been trimmed many times, and as you can see it grows back nicely.  Mint will grow anywhere, so no surprise it's happy in this window.

Flat parsley seems to grow back more slowly than the curly parsley, but it's doing pretty well in the window as well.

And the curly parsley is thriving, and I love parsley so I am so happy to have it growing in my kitchen!

You can see all my garden updates for this year by using the label 2013 Garden Updates.  See garden updates from earlier years under the tab GARDENING at the top of the blog.

How's the garden coming at your house?  If you're growing vegetables and herbs, either in containers or in a regular garden, please share in the comments about what you have growing and how your plants are doing.

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  1. Kalyn -

    Wonderful! I am curious what you use to feed your containers. YOu get such gorgeous growth!


  2. Peggy, I started with some Mater Magic (an organic fertilizer that's especially good for tomatoes) mixed into the soil. I have only fed them twice since then I think, with that Jobe's organic fertilizer that's linked in the post. Seems to be working well!

  3. this is the first year i've tried the container gardening thing too. because i'm only planning on living at this house until next summer I decided not to even bother digging anything up and I have a huge south west facing patio. I planted 2 planters with pole and bush beans and then rescued a couple tomatoes in planters and then scored a huge pole beans planter that I've never seen ever before. I couldn't believe I dragged it to the checkout. along with yet another tomato chock full of cherry tomatoes. The best part of container gardening is the moving of the pots around the patio to capture as much sunlight as possible. The only draw back so far is the constant watering that's required

  4. FiftyFinally, I'm not moving my plants around much because the edge of my deck is the sunniest spot. But I am watering them every day. I have a hose with a turn-off valve, so it's not too bad. In fact I'm kind of enjoying the watering; gives me a chance to check on them!

  5. Oh, Kalyn, I 'found' Sun Gold cherry tomatoes by accident, and I've thanked my lucky stars ever since.

    The taste is wonderful, and even better, they produce more than any other tomato I've tried. I'm in the Deep South, and they've produced into late January here. Never had a problem w/diseases or pests w/them, and I'm a novice gardener.

    Now i need to go back and read your earlier posts -- Somehow missed your first 2013 post.

  6. Elspeth, I am excited to grow the Sun Gold tomatoes for the first time. I've tasted them from my sister-in-law's plants in years past and loved the flavor.

  7. Kalyn the garden looks amazing.

    I have been growing my veggies exclusively in containers for the last 20 years.

    To address the constant watering, we have installed a drip irrigation system on a timer. The plants get a few minutes of watering 3 or 4 times a day depending on the heat.

    I get so many veggies I have enough to share with my neighbors!

  8. Caryn, I love hearing that the drip system is working well for you. I talked with my sprinkler guy about installing something like that, but I decided to wait and see how things grew on my deck for one year before I had it installed. But for sure that's on my list!

  9. This is so fun!! Love that's it's so green and lush. As someone with a black thumb, I need to try this container garden for a change :)

  10. Kiran, so far, so good with the containers. I started with very good enriched soil and I've been watering every day, but I haven't pulled a single weed!

  11. Kalyn,

    No need for a sprinkler guy and expensive system. Mine is a Raindrip system. One main piece of tubing (which runs under the top of the deck, with small tubes with a dripper at the end, to each container. It attaches to a garden hose that is attached to a timer. The system is inexpensive, and easy to install yourself. When you get ready at least consider Raindrip. The kit costs about $30.00.

  12. Caryn, thanks for the info. I'll look into that.

  13. Wow, those window herbs have really exploded since our lunch up at your place. Glad all of the container plants seem to be doing so well! After two unsuccessful summers of potted tomatoes I've finally got mine back in the ground and they're thriving. Plants are so funny. But hooray for homegrown produce!

  14. Ugh, my long comment didn't go through. :( Well, your plants look great! Hooray for homegrown produce!

  15. Annalise, it was there, I just have to publish comments before they show up. Glad your tomatoes are doing well this year. I can't wait to have fresh tomatoes!

  16. How big are the containers? Your plants look great. I tried container gardening a few years ago unsuccessfully. I think it was because my containers weren't big enough and I didn't water them enough.

  17. Joyce, my containers are about 17 inches across. I was trying to keep down the weight, and they seem big enough. I do water at least once a day, which seems about right, even for the ultra-hot weather we've been having here.


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