We always get a few days of warm weather toward the end of February, and it acts as a teaser to the coming Spring. Unfortunately, it usually goes back to cold over March with a few more teaser days of warm Spring weather mixed in. But it is during this time, like any gardening fanatic, I began to plan and visualize the bounty of colorful flowers and birds that would live in our little yard. I could almost taste the juicy tomatoes and red peppers, and especially the freshly picked oregano and basil that would adorn my from-scratch homemade pizzas. By April 1st, I was counting the days, and upon reading the extended forecast that there was no longer threat of frost or freezing temperatures, I decided to start a couple of weeks early.
This year I'm trying a new technique I was reading about. Instead of placing individual plants in individual pots and giving them all plenty of space, I'm crowding multiple plants into single pots. The idea is like a dormitory - they pack the students in, but it's only a temporary stay while the work is completed. In this case, the job of these plants is to bear as much fruit as possible until the end of the season. The other idea is that with limited space for the roots to expand, the plants will quickly become pot-bound, which causes more upward growth, subsequently more fruit-bearing. We shall see. In this pot are my 2 beefsteak tomatoes and a banana pepper.
Last year I had 2 pepper plants, one in each very large pot. They produced very little fruit that became rotten, or overrun with disease or fungus, by harvest time. This year, I have 4 pepper plants in one pot - 2 yellow, and 2 red (green doesn't agree with mine or Jen's tummies). So far I've lost one pepper plant, I think it was a yellow. I believe I over-fertilized on the first week and burned some of the roots.
Trying something new this year - an eggplant. Unfortunately, this only lasted a couple of week before nocturnal animals decided they didn't like it in my garden.
2 Roma tomatoes. I've never grown these so it should be fun.
I started with 3 oregano plants and something new I discovered called boxwood basil. So far I've had to replace all of the oregano and I've lost one of the basil plants. I think it's from over-fertilizing. It's interesting how plentiful my garden was last year when I was just blundering through it, whereas this year my over-thinking and tampering seems to have been detrimental.
Mint, new for me, I've read it takes over so what better place to put it than in a hanging planter 7 feet off the ground and away from every other pot. The mint has grown big enough now where my next picture will be of the plant and not the tag.
From left to right - parsley and cilantro, chives, and dill and thyme. We tried chives on pizza last weekend and they were great. I used the parsley in some minestrone soup last night and it added a nice earthy flavor, and the dill and thyme aren't doing so hot. Animals keep digging it up for some reason.
...and my favorite, Basil. We love this stuff and can't get enough in our pasta dishes and pizza. We used it so often last year that my poor plants could barely keep a leaf. I ended up stripping my mom's plant every Saturday just to make pizza. Our neighbor kept asking for some too, and we felt terrible because we didn't have enough to give, so this year to keep up with our demand I'm growing 15 plants of it!
Our friend Steve built and installed a gate onto our deck. This is awesome because now I can let the dog outside without having to tie her up.
This veteran gnome is so confident in his job performance that he's not afraid to sleep while on duty. He has every right, too, the catnip plant he looks after has gone from something I can't keep to something I can't get rid of if I tried.
These guys are garden rookies. Although they have high spirits, they have not done a good job keeping out the animals, bugs, and weeds, and the plants under their care aren't growing like some of the others. They'll get it - they just haven't figured out the knack yet.
This old guy is giddy about being put next to his favorite flowers, Begonias. He's been stationed in the trough-style planters that hang over the deck railing, so he gets to greet all of the squirrels, finches and cardinals that frequent our deck. He's generous to a fault, giving permission to all of the creatures to "borrow" sphagnum moss from the planters to build their nests.
Last year I tried my hand at spray paint art and came up with this. I call it the Super Mario Bros. bird bath.
Daisy likes to come out on the porch with me. She likes to chew any sticks she can find, bite at the water coming out of the hose, and roll around in any dirt that might litter the deck floor.
More updates as the garden grows!