Green Lushness

First, a head’s up that my posting may be a bit erratic for the next 6 weeks or so.

We don’t yet know whether our twins will be heading off for their first year of college…or not. But we have to prepare as though they are going, which means I have lots of masks to sew, as well as making sure they have all the normal dorm room and school supplies. It feels confusing to prepare for the empty nest (which I dread) when one doesn’t know if it will actually be empty or not!

I feel rather scattered!

In addition to all the college prep, I’ve been taking a class on how to create ads for my books on Amazon. That’s been an eye opener and a head-crammed-too-full experience. I don’t think I’ll really know what to make of it all until…not sure when. 😉

Through all the stress, gardening is helping me find at least a little serenity. So I’m going to share more photos of my garden. It feels magical how the bare beds of soil have clothed themselves in lush greenery over the past few weeks.

Just look at that okra (above) to the right of our front door! It’s becoming a sapling tree! No okra pods on it yet, but soon…

The okra at the back of this bed still seems spindly to me. I suspect the plants don’t get quite enough sun in this location. Since I haven’t gardened in containers on the front porch before, there’s going to be a learning curve. Some things will work. Others won’t.

But the lettuce has been glorious—all the way into July! No doubt the protection from the afternoon sun is why. I love the way the marigolds provide spots of brightness amidst the greens. They’re there as companion plants to protect my vegetables from pests; somehow I hadn’t been expecting the beauty. 😀

The strawberries in all three of the large beds have given us lovely fruits. Just a few, since this is their first year. But much appreciated!

The pepper plant now has two peppers growing on it! I’ve never grown bell peppers before, so it’s exciting!

There’s cilantro hiding under the marigolds, as well as a fragile parsley seedling. Both of those are supposed to bolt in the summer heat, but the shade of the other plants plus the shelter from afternoon sun seems to be helping them, just as it does the lettuce.

The basil is getting big enough that I’ve harvested a few leaves to include in salads of lettuce. I’m looking forward to tomato, mozzarella, and basil melanges in another week or two.

I have to confess that I planted the radishes (far left, above) too late. The radish greens have been lovely in salads. And we did get two crisp, sweet, and spicy radishes. But the third was woody. And the fourth and fifth had no bulb at all. I’m going to try them again in the cool weather of fall, shortly after we find out how the beets did.

In the meantime, I’m gong to try a tomato on one end, where I’ll let it flow downward over the side. We’d planned to try hanging tomatoes in topsy-turvy planters, but realized that we didn’t have a means of suspending them far enough from the ground for that to work. So the rest of the tomato seedlings are going into grow bags. Two are thusly planted (below). Four more await in their small seedling pots.

I tried rooting mint from fresh grocery store mint. I also tried it with rosemary and thyme. The rosemary and thyme were no-goes. But the mint yielded six seedlings!

When I planted them outside in the pot by the steps, four of them succumbed to the heat. But mint is prolific. I figured that two plants would fill the pot by mid summer. Then a squirrel squashed one of the mints flat!

So I popped in some marigold seedlings when I thinned them from the other beds. The squirrels got two of the marigolds as well! But the rest have filled out nicely (below, right), and the mint is thriving. It smells delicious when I run my hands across the leaves!

The planter on the left of our front door was supposed to have rosemary in it.

When my grocery store rosemary declined to root, we found a local source for a small plant in a pint pot. But as the cherry tree leafed out fully, we realized that the spot was too shady. So I put the rosemary in a gallon clay pot that lives at the other end of the porch instead. And we planted chives, which like some shade, by the door.

We just ate a bunch of those last night on baked potatoes. They tasted so good!

For more about our garden, see:
Container Gardening at Casa Ney-Grimm
First Strawberries!
Tomatoes Versus Birds

 

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2 thoughts on “Green Lushness

  1. These are all doing really well for getting only morning sun.
    My mint has come back faithfully every year, and I’ve only just realized it’s good in salads.
    The other herb that overwintered from last year for me is the thyme. Our winter was very mild, so I’m guessing that helped.

    • Thank you! I’m beginning to think that the okra in the table container may not produce much fruit, due to lack of sun. It’s amazing to me that the okra right next door (in the square planter) is now producing. Apparently it gets just enough more sun to be a sturdier beast and to produce.

      The pepper—on the other side of the spindly okra—is also producing! Two peppers are nearly ready to harvest, while several more have just begun to form from their flowers. Peppers also require a lot of sun, and that table container apparently gets enough.

      My husband points out that this is a learning year for us, since we’ve never gardened on the deck in containers before. We can’t know exactly what will work and what won’t until we try it. Clearly the pepper container should also have had the okra. And the okra bed should be lettuce (which is still doing awesomely there, at the end of July!) plus radishes and beets. Next year!

      Thanks for the mint tip! I’m going to try adding it to our salads. And that is very cool about the thyme. I believe you said you had an herb garden. What else do you have growing in it? I love hearing about gardens!

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