Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Trying to Contain My Excitement

Lettuce and strawberry in hanging baskets about 2 years ago.  

Today started off sunny and bright and I considered going out on the deck just to be in it. It looked and felt like spring. I am now paying attention to the 'count down to Spring' I keep seeing on Facebook. It's less than a month now and we all know it will go by fast. I have to check the last frost date here in the Portland OR area, I think it is late April. So I've still got some time.

I will admit that I haven't put a lot of thought into gardening this winter. Some of that has to do with deciding not to return to the community garden. Although when I started this blog all my attention was set on container gardening at home. I've now come full circle and am going to plan vegetable and flower containers on the upper deck and several hanging baskets downstairs.

I mentioned a book that pulled me out of my doldrums. It was a gift at Christmas, called Small is Bountiful, by Liz Dobbs with Ann Halpin. It's published by Reader's Digest and is full of big color photos and lots of creative ideas for container gardening.

I've gone through the book a few times now and marked ideas I liked. I made a list of some I definitly want to try. The thing about gardening with no yard (or a tiny postage stamp like we have) is that you can't think about planting conventionally. Using a variety of containers and going vertical offer the chance to use space most of us don't consider.

To me the most creative idea in this book was to plant bush beans in hanging baskets. Not only the beans, but mixing in a smaller vegetable like lettuce. I tried growing bush beans here in a container and in the ground both years at the community garden. They grew just fine, but the pole beans were easier to pick. Growing the bush beans in hanging planters will have them at eye level. The book features a yellow variety which makes it ornamental.

The photos in the book also have me thinking about trying different containers. Two years ago I was considering buying water-retaining planters. Right now that's not an option due to my budget. Looking through this book had me considering other containers, like the metal pail sitting empty and the produce box I've had for years. 

There are couple of other ideas I've jotted down, I'm starting to feel excited again about planning what grows where. I'll share a couple more veggie ideas later.

My word for the year is Gratitude

Today I am grateful for:
My new "vintage" hummingbird feeder
Malini Parker on Facebook - inspiring
Discovering a gift shop downtown full of everything I love
lots of time for wedding plans
sun streaming into my office

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