Monday, August 25, 2014

In a pot or a plot - gardening is the same

This is an image I posted on Instagram.
You can search for me there as val_hogan.

   I see that my posts here could be described as the 'blog of the month' variety. I've slowed down, mostly my gardening slowed way down this summer. I tend to blog about my experiences day to day. But, my attempt to try growing veggies in containers just didn't inspire a lot of blog posts. It was my first try and I didn't spend much time last winter or spring planning how I would do it or what I would grow. I guess I proved that just because I wasn't gardening in a plot at the community gardens, I still needed to plan and layout my container garden.

My biggest shortfall was lack of deep containers. I have a lot of railing planters that are great for lettuces, but during the middle of summer I've ended up with more flowering annuals than anything else. Also, my plot at the community garden was in full sun. My back deck used to be in full sun, but the Alder tree I planted a few years ago now casts more shade than I expected. I now have a better idea of where the sunny spots are.

I also thought that by planting containers on the deck at home, that I would not have to deal with pests or other 'garden' problems. I have one (1) zucchini plant and it has had powdery mildew since I planted it. This has stunted the growth and I've only had two squash from this plant. I looked online for an at home solution and sprayed it with a baking soda mixture. Then sprayed it with some soapy water for good measure. This did nothing to help.

If I had been gardening in a plot on the ground, I would have gone to the store and bought a spray when I first saw the mildew. It sounds crazy but I thought growing veggies in containers would be much different (easier) than a garden plot. I also have a dog and a cat who forage around on the deck, so I have to be careful about toxicity, even from organic sprays.

My tomatoes are doing well, but not producing as much as my garden tomatoes did the last couple of years. Then there's my tomatillo. My big splurge, I bought it knowing I didn't really have the room for it, and wanted to try it even though I know nothing about growing it (or eating it). Well, the plant has flowered profusely, but I've only got two (2) tomatillos on the plant so far. Luckily the hummingbirds like it, I get to watch them drink from the yellow flowers.

So, suffice it to say, my container gardening experience this year has not been what I had expected. I actually missed the community garden plot, which is something I didn't think I would say (pests nearly ruined my garden two years in a row). I am actually buying tomatoes and zucchini at the store- in August.

But, this has all helped me to see the direction I want to go in. If you look at my Pinterest boards you'll see a board for just about every topic. But the other day when I found an image I wanted to pin I realized I didn't even have a category for it. So I created my newest board, Edible Landscaping. Up until now I've had a very wide variety of gardening interests. But the last two years of community gardening and this year's attempt at container gardening made me realize how much I enjoy growing food. Not just veggie gardening as I've thought of it before, but incorporating edible plants with others.

I feel excited about learning more about this topic and pursuing how I can create my own edible landscape at home.

Gratitude is my word for the year...
Today I am grateful for:

more sunny weather
the change in lighting to the 'fall' light I love
a handfull of cherry tomatoes 
being busy with work
shopping at craft stores for fall wedding decorations

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