The garden makeover is coming along slowly. This time around I do actually have some pictures of the 'construction corner', as there has been a little progress.
Making the ground level is hard! So I decided I'll just plop them down this year (and probably into 2016), and then level as I do the second row on top, using the mortar to help me. I hope it works! I am ever the optimist when it comes to my little projects! You can also see the beginning of the grass and weed barrier I've begun. I had intended to use cardboard, but I just don't have a whole lot of large boxes, and it would be a nightmare to use regular and smallish ones. I know, I tried that a few years back and gave up right quick. As I was clearing away some weeds from the main patch, an idea occurred to me. Since the brown leaf bags are intended to decompose, why not use them as my barrier? So far, so good. They're nice and thick and I can still walk on them when they're wet, so I can access all my containers after a rain or while I'm watering. For now, my container garden is doing a great job of holding the edges down, but I'm running out, so pretty soon you'll see some makeshift weights... pretty much anything I can find in my garage that can be of use!
Here are some side-by-sides of my container garden, so we can get an idea of how well things can grow in containers. I did do some research on this before I started (when I realized that my actual garden was going to be useless to me this year), and found out that pretty much anything can be grown in a container, as long as you follow a few rules. I used potting soil, mixed with compost and topsoil. You can use just potting mix, but it's really expensive, which is why I opted to mix in the topsoil to get a little more bang for my buck. Picture one of my herbs was taken on June 29th, the sage (top left-hand corner) transplanted from cuttings I rooted indoors from some store bought organic sage. Next to that (clockwise), is Italian Parsley, Cilantro, Chamomile, Basil, and Dill, all from seed. Everything is growing relatively nicely except for the chamomile. It seems that herb hates me. I attempted to get some seedlings to grow while I was doing all the rest of my regular stuff back in March (tomatoes, peppers, squash, etc.), but not even one came up. I bought a couple of plants earlier and planted them with the strawberries, but I don't think they've grown a centimeter in the last two months. As you can see from these pictures, these seeds just are not co-operating. Maybe the whole pack is a bunch of duds, although that is highly unlikely.
The picture right beside it was taken on July 8th, and you can see the wonderful growth. Still no chamomile, though, so I decided to fill the void with some rosemary that I (finally!) got to root indoors. That's another plant I have a tough time with. According to Pinterest, it's super easy to propagate rosemary (and lavender) from cuttings. Nope, not so much. I had a whole lot of failure before these two finally took. You better believe I'm guarding these babies with my life! Oh, and the lavender? No success with that yet, although I am trying a different method right now. If it works, I'll let you know.
Potatoes are another plant that is supposedly super easy to grow in containers. In this case, I have to agree. As you can see from these pictures, they're growing like weeds! There are a few simple rules to follow, so I'll do a container gardening Hub for potatoes one day soon (after harvest, so I have the complete picture, start to finish, so stay tuned!
I didn't really have a good June picture of the zucchini. I'll be honest, it wasn't looking promising. The yellow (on the left) was kinda' growing, but the green was all small and sad with some deformed leaves. A couple of weeks later they're still not fantastic, but they're larger and flowering, so there may be hope yet for the zucchini (this time around the yellow is on the right).
Cucumbers. I don't remember what kind - I think one plant is straight and the other is the pickling kind. When I brought the seedlings home from the nursery, some of them died, so I couldn't remember which was which. I guess I'll know when I get fruit! In this case, you may notice a bottle inside one of the containers. I am trying an experiment for something that really piqued my interest. However, I think I may have used the wrong type of plant, because there seems to be no difference. I'll let you know what the experiment is, what I'll change next season, and what the results are at the end of the season.
Here are my sad, sad little pepper plants. Although it is a vast improvement over what they would have been had I left them in the ground. Remember this picture from last update?
So there's a little progress with the peppers, but I don't think I'll be bottling any home-grown roasted sweet peppers this season.
So here's a weird thing I did not notice until just this instant. I have no pictures specifically of my tomato plants! That is really strange, because they dominate my garden (every year), and I have a few different experiments going with them right now to find the best method, and yet, when I went to upload pictures of my tomatoes (saving the best for last, I thought), I didn't have any! So I cropped these from other pictures I have so you can see the growth. I will do a whole post on the experiments I'm running at the end of the season when I have my results.
So that's it for update #3. One of the things that have come out of this slow garden makeover progress is that I have time to try out some methods that I've read about, and this way I can see what works, what doesn't, and what I may want to incorporate into my new and improved gardening system. Stay tuned, I have more updates on the way!
Originally posted July 16, 2015 on sonjarants.weebly.com