Garden Planting – Year Two

Last year was the first time I ever had what could be called a “garden.” I bought a wholllle bunch of pots, a whole bunch of dirt, a lot of seeds and a couple plants, and threw ’em out in my front yard. I was a bit overambitious and grew some things that I shouldn’t have bothered with, but I learned a lot. I really enjoyed it.
Clearly I’m just a pioneer girl at heart. Last post was homemade butter, and now I’m going to talk for an hour about vegetable gardening. Haha.

So now, it’s time for Year Two. (We live in zone 4a according to this new Hardiness Zone map, which is why my planting is so late in the year.) I’ve got all the pots from last year, which is nice because pots are expensive. While Jonathan was having his shoulder cut open (the surgery went well by the way), me and Missy went home. The house was stifling me, so I decided to go out for some retail therapy, lol. The lovely weather reminded me that it is finally planting season, so I ended up at the local nursery. Sadly, they didn’t have much selection on veggie plants (they focus more on flowers and shrubs and fruit trees, it seems), so I went to Home Depot.
I did try to start some seeds earlier in the year, but those failed spectacularly. Whatevs, I bought some plants.

Jonathan found this little baby on the curb on trash day a few weeks ago. It’s missing its bottom and some of the staves are loose, but it’s still good. 🙂 It’s got “character.” I am very grateful for it, because I’ve been wanting one but they cost like 40$.

As you can see, my front yard, such as it is, is rocks. If I just fill this half barrel with dirt, it’ll all wash out. :/ I did some research and decided that burlap would serve well here.

I had these pieces of burlap left over from making an (awesome) banner for my Halloween party last year. I dug them out of my fabric box, cut them into pieces, and applied them thusly:

I put two squares of off-white burlap on the bottom, and put strips of black around the edges. Seems pretty secure to me. (By the way, the pictures in this post are going to look super weird. The light was odd when I took the photos, and while I managed to take away the overexposures and the weird blue tint on some of them, I still ended up looking like Instagram Gone Awry. Oh well.)

Next I had to fill it. I had already decided this is going to be the home of my lettuce crop (which doesn’t have very deep roots as far as I know), so I didn’t need to have the whole thing filled with dirt. I put a nice layer of mulch in the bottom, which I think will also help keep my dirt in the barrel.

This year, I got some fancypants ~organic~ dirt! 🙂 Last year I got Miracle Gro. I’ve learned a lot about that company in the last year and I really didn’t want to buy anything from Scotts (their parent company). I’m not totally committed to organic gardening, but I do what I can. I had already planted all my other plants (see below; I do things backwards sometimes), so I dumped all the rest of my potting soil in. I’m starting the lettuce from seed (it’s pretty much just grass), so I added a layer of organic seed starting dirt that I had left from my ill-fated seed starting earlier in the year. Then I sowed the seeds and watered thoroughly. Sure hope I did it right, lol.

What about the other plants, you say?

You mean these plants? 😉

The two green bushes on either end and the one in the middle (in front of the watering can) are part of the standard landscaping here and I don’t have much choice in them. Actually the one in the middle should look like the others. I think it’s dead because I think the green leaves there are just a weed. I’m not sure if you can tell, but there are random weeds that grow up from the rocks as well. Clovers, mostly. I like clovers though, so I just leave them.

I’m not sure if that little table is going to stay permanently – we shall see. What do you think? On it, I have 6 small pots: two mints, a basil, a curly parsley, a bee balm, and a stevia. The bee balm and stevia are new to me, but I’ve done the others before.

Before I talk about these plants, I want everyone to notice my pallet. I want you to notice it because I dragged its heavy ass ALL the way home from the playground on King Loop (probably half a mile) by myself. It’s missing one plank on this side, but that’s okay with me. I like it because it’ll keep the rock-dwelling weeds from climbing up onto my pots.
In the front, you see two windowboxes with marigolds in them. I’m hoping to attract bees. (One day I’d like to beekeep, and also I need some bees to pollinate one of my plants.) I was hoping both of those would fit neatly into the space left by the missing plank, but alas. Oh well.
The three medium-size pots will eventually be replaced with bigger pots. I only had 6 of the bigger pots, and these three plants were all small anyway. I’ll get more large pots in a few days. Those three are all peppers – the ones on the left are bells, and the one on the right is jalapeno. I’ve grown both before.

My largest pots now: I have a cherry tomato variety, a “Patio” tomato, and two heirloom tomatoes – one is apparently purple, and the other is pink. (Yes I know these are indeterminates and shouldn’t be in pots. Leave me alone.) There is also another bell pepper plant, and a pot of cucumbers! I’ve grown tomatoes before but actually all of these species are new to me. I tried cucumbers from seed last year and they didn’t thrive, largely because I don’t think they were pollinated.

When the peppers in the medium size pots get repotted, I’ll need to reconfigure my layout here. I wish I could score another pallet, but they don’t fit in my car so they have to be within dragging distance (lol). Cross that bridge when I get to it, right?
I applied a layer of red mulch (I was forced to buy a Scotts-made product for this – my hands were tied by the selection at the store. Boo.) to each pot. I chose red because I read last year that tomatoes like to have red mulch for some reason. Maybe they see it and think “oh okay I’m supposed to be that color”?

Do you garden? Why or why not? Do you consider gardening to be a creative pursuit? Do you think I have a chance of winning Yard of the Month? If you have any suggestions or ideas for me (like ways to lay out the garden, for example), I’d love to hear them!
(Remember! I’m still doing TWO giveaways this week! Number one is here, and any comment on my blog all week counts as an entry. If you’d like to comment but not enter, just say so and I’ll exclude you. Number two is here – if you’d like to enter it, follow my blog and leave a comment on that post telling me how you follow me! BOTH giveaways close on Friday (today) May 25 at 5 pm PST. That’s 8pm Eastern. Any comments after that time are welcomed but not eligible for entry. I’ll announce the winners sometime on Saturday.)