I admit it. Our first gardening attempt was a failure. Ok, maybe not a complete and total failure if the pictures I’ve posted are any indication but a failure in how we wanted it to be.
We were really interested in the container gardening. Just so we could start small and move the garden around as we worked on our backyard. Our yard is a mess, especially the porch area, so we really want to fix it up without having to worry that the spot we chose for our garden needs to be changed. The container garden was our solution for that.
The other week I posted a few questions regarding gardening. I think the first two I’ll tackle is: What do are our goals for the garden? and What will we grow?
This makes sense since what we will grow will dictate the size of the garden. The size needs will dictate where the garden will go in our backyard. The size will also dictate how much the garden will cost.
To answer the first question of our goals…
Save money (isn’t that a goal for everyone?)
Reduce the amount of chemicals in our fresh foods
Be more self sufficient
Eat and be more healthy. Food always tastes better if you’ve grown it yourself or was grown by someone you know.
Learn how to do something with real life application and teach my kids along the way
Lower our carbon footprint
That brings me to the next question. What do we want to grow?
I love Pinterest. I use it for all kinds of topics and saving research. My board Home – Outside has lots of garden related posts. This is how I found that lavender and mint are natural mosquito and spider deterrents. My husband and I can’t stand spiders! I love lavender and mint too so I figure this is a great place to start. There were other plants listed as good natural repellents but these two speak to me. Apparently both can really take over the space they’re given to grow in, and much more, so I’m thinking of potting them.
Speaking of potting, I received a visit from a co-worker of mine. He’s been doing Container Gardening for the last few years and had some GREAT tips that will help me through this journey! I shared those in my Container Gardening post. Thank you Lawrence!
We eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. I think my baby love is borderline vegetarian as well since she eats very little meat. It’s just not appealing or palatable or something. We offer but she tends to avoid it so I make sure she gets plenty of beans and nuts with her fruits and veggies.
With that in mind, we want to grow a good assortment of fruits and vegetables that I know we currently eat. We went to a local non-profit farm called Cultivate Kansas City two weekends ago and picked up some organic starter plants.
What we bought:
2 Types of Sweet Pepper plants (like bell peppers)
2 Types of regular size Tomato plants
1 Cherry Tomato plant
1 Yellow Leafy Lettuce plant
1 Red Leafy Lettuce plant
2 Mint plants
1 package of carrot seeds
2 Lavender plants (purchased at Lowes since they weren’t available at Cultivate KC)
1 Blackberry Bush (got from a local friend)
1 Raspberry Bush (got from the same local friend)
1 Violet plant (dug up from my own back yard and transplanted to a pot)
Some additional veggies & fruits we want:
1 Pear Tree
1 Cherry Tree
1 Peach Tree
2 Strawberry plants
1 Brussel Sprouts plant
1 Romain Lettuce plant
Next year we may add more to this list. It will depend on how well we do with this assortment. I’m trying to learn as much as I can as fast as I can so I don’t kill any of these.
I planted the Lavender in a large pot and each mint plant in it’s own pot. Eventually, I’ll probably transfer them to either larger containers or find a place around the house for them. For now, I just wanted to get them planted in their own spaces so the wind would stop knocking them over! Our large container still needs holes in the bottom and then I can plant the rest of our veggies.
Wish us luck on our garden. What fruits and veggies are you growing this year?
After my first post about starting a garden, one of my co-workers stopped by my desk. He’d been doing container gardening for the last few years since he did not have a space for planting. He gave me some GREAT tips and said I should share!
Never plant outside before Good Friday!
Some tips for the containers:
The container should be 10-12 inches in depth. This will allow space for the roots to grow.
Depending on the type of container, the garden can be moved to identify the best location in your space (yard, porch, deck, wherever).
Be sure to put holes in the bottom of the container so the water can drain. Otherwise, the plants can get root-rot from sitting in too-wet soil.
In the bottom, there should be 1-1.5 inches of gravel. This also helps to drain the water properly.
If you have a container that is just walls, put a tarp or plastic along the bottom. Make sure it is dark. It is to help keep weeds from growing in the garden.
For the soil, use miracle grow mixed in with top soil if you’re growing vegetables. The miracle grow will release a constant source of nutrients for the plants. Since they’re in an enclosed space, they won’t be able to get nutrients from another source.
Edited Note: Miracle grow can burn some plants. Especially if too much is used. You should mix it with soil and/or compost. Some plants may not tolorate the miracle grow at all.
A few plants that may not take to the miracle grow (as listed by my friend at Managing My Merry Mischief)are blueberries and artichokes. Blueberries like very acidic soil and artichokes like alkaline soil.
For his garden, he used 5 gallon buckets. My husband and I have some spare wood from a shelving system we took down so he is making us some planter boxes.
Now that I have some information about the container, I asked about how to care for the garden. What kind of sun should we look for? How much water will the plants need? What is the best natural pesticide to use? I don’t want a pesticide that can potentially poison my baby.
Container Gardening Care Tips
My co-worker said the best sun is morning and evening. You want to avoid sun from 3:00 PM and on. That is the hottest sun of the day and can burn the plants.
Similar to the miracle grow, get familiar with the plants you are growing. Some plants (like strawberries) will not thrive in 3:00 PM sun. It’s just too hot. Tomatoes, love it!
Watering is plant specific too. Seedlings need more water than a fully grown plant. Once a day watering should be suffient. That may be too much for some plants, though.
The best natural pesticides…Marigolds! Plant one Marigold in the same container as the vegetables. The Marigolds should be planted before the vegetable plants begin to flower. They’re great to keep out rabits too!
Time to go make the rest of the gardening boxes! The goal is to have 3 made so we can start planting this weekend, now that we’re past Good Friday.