First Veggies in Container Garden

Having a mini garden right in our backyard has been a learning experience to say the least. All of this started on a whim and I’ve made plenty of mistakes over the last three months. But hey, for just three months I’d say it’s looking good overall!

Originally our garden was tucked away on the side of the house. It was such a cute location, and I loved being able to walk around to what felt like a secret garden hideaway. The problem was my plants weren’t getting enough sunlight (about four hours a day). They really need six to eight hours of direct light. Even though I’d read this, I was worried the harsh Texas heat would be too much for them, but I was proven wrong. Texas heat just means more watering.

So here’s a quick, updated tour of what’s going on in the garden.

POBLANO/ANCHO

The poblanos are shooting up nicely. I can tell these guys are going to be tall! The first buds are starting to appear, so we’ll probably get a couple baby peppers in the next week or so.

6-24-16 poblano pepper plant

JALAPEÑO

Look how lush this guy is! My jalapeños are loving to soak up this Texas sun! And look—we have a baby!

6-24-16 lush jalapeno plant6-24-16 tiny jalapeno pepper

BELL PEPPERS

We also have our first bell peppers. You can see one clearly here and right below it is another tiny one hiding.

6-24-16 tiny bell pepper

CAYENNE

The cayennes are sprouting like mad! We have two turning red and have already harvested two others. And look at the last pic! Try to count how many there are!

Cayenne peppers6-24-16 cayenne pepper6-24-16 cayenne pepper plant

COLLARD GREENS

My greens were super sad on the side of the house. I tried to salvage them by moving them to this sunny pot, and now they have tripled in size!

6-24-16 collard greens

CANTALOUPE

Remember that cantaloupe sprout a few weeks ago? Now it’s climbing up my wall and has little buds ready to pop open.

6-24-16 cantaloupe vine

SPAGHETTI SQUASH

Same goes for my spaghetti squash! It’s growing like crazy and has five buds.

6-24-16 budding spaghetti squash vine

TOMATOES

We have two rutger tomatoes that are about an inch high. I counted about forty blooms between the rutgers and the romas. 😀

6-24-16 baby tomatoes

HERBS

My cilantro has seeded and it looks like they’re ready to drop soon. Here’s to hoping it resprouts without issue! The oregano (left) is trailing along, too. In the second picture you can see the mint and basil flourishing.

6-24-16 corriander seeds6-24-16 mint and basil plants

So far so good with the garden! I can’t wait for these guys to harvest!!

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VEGGIE GARDEN UPDATE: TWEEN STAGE

Well it’s been 16 days since I posted my last update on my veggie garden. I planted my seedlings at the beginning of April, and they are finally starting to take shape. Funny thing: my friend took about a dozen seedlings that were actually smaller than the ones I kept, but hers flourished from the moment she took them off my hands and soon outgrew mine (they are probably triple the size!).

It drove me crazy when she’d text me an update on her tomato growth. She keeps hers on her patio in the shade, and every site I’ve read on vegetable gardening insists they need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight. She also said she plays them music (specifically Bob Marley) and guess who set a bluetooth speaker by her garden soon after: this girl.

But after even more research, I think I found the answer. Tomatoes don’t like their leaves to get wet during watering. Since I stopped watering them with the sprinkler, they seem to be shooting up like mad.

Anyway, without further ado… Here are some before and after shots of my lovely potted garden.

RUTGER’S TOMATOES

tomatoes 6

Rutger Tomatoes

BELL PEPPERS

aphid-attacked-bell-pepper 7

bell pepper

DRAGON CAYENNE PEPPER

cayenne-pepper 5

cayenne pepper

POBLANO PEPPERS

poblano 8

plant types

HERB GARDEN

Potted Herb Garden

herb garden

I moved my herb garden into the ground beneath my kitchen window. The picture makes it look like a jungle especially with our “grass” growing over the rock edging. By placing marigolds around the edge, I hoped to keep down pests, but they appear to still be chowing down on my herbs. Who can blame them, though?  Herbs are awesome.

NEW ADDITIONS

Spaghetti Squash and Cantaloupe Sprouts

I went ahead and planted my spaghetti squash and cantaloupe about a week and a half ago. I can’t believe how big the squash leaves are! They have to be as big as my hands put together.

bean sprouts

And low and behold we’ve got beans! My son asked me to buy dried bean soup from Sprouts which has about 8 or 9 different beans. I was so proud of my boy for wanting to eat something healthy only to find out when we got home that he just wanted to plant the beans. If anything, this gives my kiddos something to grow themselves.

Now that it’s warming up, we’re starting to see some Texas critters. A certain snake on the doorframe situation prompted us to get a move on with our yard overhaul project, but here’s further proof that we need to get started ASAP.

critters

That’s a snake tail poking out of our rotted out timbers and a redheaded centipede. The snake I can deal with, but the centipede… It was about six inches long and took forever to die. Sorry, bro, but RIP.

I’m almost to the point where I can break down our complicated backyard. But first I want to make sure we have some solid ideas. For now, I hope you enjoy the veggie photos. Happy gardening!

SIDE YARD VEGETABLE CONTAINER GARDEN

side-yard 1

My vegetable garden has made some improvements since my previous post. I’ve got my side yard completely cleared out and mulched (after laying down black plastic to block out the weeds).

Raised rock vegetable garden with onion seedlings, collard green seedlings, green onions, and regrown garlic plants.

I debated whether to plant in containers or a raised garden bed. Originally I wanted to dig up a huge section of my yard but eventually opted to place a mini raised bed on my side yard along with containers. Bonus: all of the rocks and stepping stones were found in my backyard. Apparently whoever lived in our new house before us left a garden stones dispersed around the yard (oh yeah, did I mention we moved?).

Garlic sprouts, green onions, onion seedlings, and collard green seedlings (left to right) in raised garden bed

One random veggie that I’m growing is garlic. Around the time I was planting my seedlings, I happened to find an all but forgotten clove of garlic in my refrigerator. I simply separated the cloves and stuck them in a pot. The picture above shows how high they’ve sprouted up in the past month. They’ve even surpassed my regrown green onions in the third and fourth row.

Collard green seedlings in raised rock garden bed

I also have little yellow onion seedlings sprouting up in the raised bed, but they were too small for photographing. On the other end are my collard green sprouts (above).

Baby dragon cayenne pepper

After a failed attempt at growing a red pepper plant from crushed red pepper flakes, I caved and bought a dragon cayenne pepper plant. And look! I already have a baby pepper.

Tomato plants in a half whiskey barrel

My hubby wanted to make sure whatever we did with our vegetable plants, it had to look nice. We picked out these awesome half whiskey barrel. They look even better in person and they are huuuge! You can see my tomatoes soaking up the sun in them. I also placed several more yellow onion seeds in front of the tomatoes, so we’ll see if they sprout!

Pest eaten bell pepper seedling

Sadly, one of my baby bell peppers has been brutally attacked by some pest. I’ve got a couple of spares on standby, but the little guy might just pull through. In total, I’m keeping five bell pepper plants. The cool thing is that I bought a packet of mixed bell pepper seeds, so it’ll be a surprise to see which color peppers we get.

Poblano/ancho pepper seedlings

Here are my ancho/poblano pepper sprouts. I ordered them off amazon after I started my other seedlings, so they are about two weeks behind, but boy am I excited! These are my absolute favorite peppers. I can’t wait to share recipes with these guys.

Strawberry plant (top left), marigold sprouts (middle), and vegetable seedlings (bottom trays)

And after all of that chaos from my solo-cup-infested porch, I only ended up with these twelve remaining seedlings (plus the two extra bell peppers). All of the others have found homes, and I have a potential adoption set up for these guys as well.

I Guess I’m Gardening Now

I’m not sure what happened exactly. Last month, my thumb was black as ink. Today it’s greener than green. It’s so green that I think I’m turning into a gardening Hulk. Because my thumb is now mutating into a giant green monster that grows giant green plants that are out of control and taking over my back patio in a solo-cup-infested jungle.

Wait. Let me back up a little.

In the middle of March, we went to visit a friend of Jason’s who has a vegetable garden. I have always admired her lovely garden which was filled with not only edibles but paper white narcissus, succulents, irises, and other Texas natives. Growing my own organic fruits and veggies has always been a dream of mine. But the dream was always far-fetched like a distant star winking back at me from the black abyss. His friend offered up some of her plants should I ever follow through with my “dream” of growing.

Something clicked in that moment. This wasn’t the first time she’d offered up plants. And this wasn’t the first time I’d talked the talk of starting my own greenscape. In fact, my Grandma has always had impeccable luck growing things (some of her plants started as mere clippings she found in the grocery store…true story!), and for years I told her I would love to be able to garden, too.

Standing in that garden, I made the decision: I was going to grow our basic vegetables in our backyard. And thus the monster was born.

Potted Herb Garden

Budget-wise, I’m pretty proud of myself. I told myself from the get-go that this was a hobby that would ultimately fail, so therefore I shouldn’t invest a lot of money in it. Something funny happened, though. By telling myself that I was going to kill all my plants (which is the usual fate for my potted pets) I began reading up and studying how to grow veggies constantly. Side note: Bonnie Plants is a great resource.

I picked up about fifteen various seed packets, a bag of seed starting mix, and a seed starter cell kit like this one.

Like I said, I’d done my research and placed 2-3 seeds in each cell with some soil. But then I’d remembered all the plants I’d inadvertently murdered in the past and shoved about 3 extra seeds in each pod. Low and behold they grew! All of them! But then the reality of my situation sunk in.

solo cups 2

I followed protocol and separated the seedlings into individual “pots”. Enter red solo cups. I drilled a hole in the bottom of each cup for better drainage and transplanted the baby seedlings into the cups where they will surely meet their demise. But, no! They’re still kicking. I would guess I ended up with about 80+ potted seedlings and have only lost four so far. I’ve been giving away plants to anyone who will take them and now have about 40 remaining plants.

solo cup seedlings 3

My goal is to end up with a container garden that will include:

side yard before 4

I’m in the process of preparing the side of my house for my wonderful container garden. We’re also getting ready for Phase 1 of our backyard overhaul project which is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time (for reasons I’ll share another day). But for now I’m just happy to see that my thumb isn’t as black as it’s been in the past.