Container Garden 2021

Peppermint for peppermint tea

We’ve harvested this young curly kale plant several times already and I’ve learned from it to LOVE kale.

Apricot climbing roses

A peony started from a root (crown) cutting.

Young curly kale, peppermint, two kinds of thyme

New Guinea Impatiens and two plants (one grown from

seed) of oregano.

An Arborvitae

Bonnie Centennial Tomato plant doing great in the heat!

Some geraniums, hibiscus, begonia, and cosmos grown from seed.

All total:

6 tomato plants–(2) Cherokee purple and (4) Bonnie Centennial all $4.98 each Bonnie’s Plant Home Depot

2 apricot rose bushes $15.98 discounted from $19.98 private grower Home Depot

4 geraniums @ $3.98 each Bauer’s Marketplace

1 thyme $3.75 farmer’s market plant

1 oregano $3.75 farmer’s market plant

1 oregano grown from seed

1 arborvitae $7.98 Home Depot

2 rosemary (grown from cuttings)

1 New Guinea Impatiens $3.98 Home Depot

1 petunia $5.98 Home Depot

1 peony (grown from root (crown) cutting

1 fuchsia $3.98 Home Depot

1 hibiscus $5.98 Walmart

tums for calcium Walmart

epsom salt for magnesium Walmart

seaweed fertlizer Amazon

2 happy frog potting soil Amazon

Total spent $169.95 which is about 70.00 more than I normally spend. Gardening is my therapy and I wait all winter to be able to go outside and plant flowers and herbs in soil and take care of them all spring and summer. Gardening on my deck is a challenge. Today’s temperature was 90, at 3 pm the deck temperature in the shade was 109 and sun 123 degrees. Times are a changing as just 5 years ago we wouldn’t even see close to this deck temp even when there were heat indexes. Storms, lack of pollinators, wind, over watering, nutrients missing in soil, even pollution from living right near a freeway all contribute to making gardening on my deck a very big undertaking. One I’ve been lucky enough to have the money to create and the time to take care of.

Until next time–what’s growing in your garden?

Forest Bathing —therapy and healing in the forest

I’ve spent at least half my life in the forest/woods among trees. Starting at the young age of 13, I sought refuge there from the stress of school and the overprotectiveness of a parent.  Many a time I lay on the ground without a worry of ticks, or spiders, or whatever creature insect might be crawling around me. Listening as I lay there to the trees speak.  If you are reading this and find yourself hesitant, curious, doubtful, or interested–I invite you to make time to go somewhere, anywhere there is trees and quiet. Sit. Release your worries, stress, anger, hurt and relax in the sway that is a tree. Now at 55, I am still among trees and will be long after this “trend” and certainly from a time long before. Forest bathing or Shinrin -yoku (“taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing.” ) has been around since the 1980s and originated in Japan as a form of therapy in nature. I say trend because “suddenly” it’s the new thing, which you know new or old, I hope it encourages people to try it, connect with nature, and make a vital connection between  planet earth and their health igniting in them a sense of motivation to protect both.

The scientifically-proven benefits of Shinrin-yoku include:

  • Boosted immune system functioning, with an increase in the count of the body’s Natural Killer (NK) cells.
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved mood
  • Increased ability to focus, even in children with ADHD
  • Accelerated recovery from surgery or illness
  • Increased energy level
  • Improved sleep

The National Institute of Health concludes and accepts proof—it works!  Read here

Science facts here

Forest bathing in Canada  here

Health study articles concluding forest bathing is good for you here

Shinrin-yoku explained here

Trees communicate with each other article by New Scientist here

Books about trees:

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben here

Article about this book in The Guardian UK here

Walks in the Wild by Peter Wohlleben here

**these books are the best and most informative books on trees & nature that I’ve read and I know you’ll love them**

Plant a tree –here is an organization that can help you

One Tree Planted here

Fall is fast approaching–harvest then cleanup—100 tomatoes this year! πŸ›πŸ…πŸ…

Happy First Day of Fall!! πŸπŸ‚πŸπŸ‚πŸ

Lots of pumpkins in the store to choose from!!

I bought a hubbard squash and a white, green blue, and orange pumpkin. I plan to carve them out and then feed them while still fresh to the birds and other outside critters.

Last photos of this years container garden–

Last of my tomatoes ripening–

Last summer Farmer’s market haul–

Some pretty good food cooking with fresh produce–

Some interesting things I learned with this years container garden were pretty interesting. I started with three tomato plants planted in organic soil. I bought the plants at a nursery that I’ve been buying plants at for years. I also spent $34 on a large geranium plant that looked dead by day two on my deck. After a careful inspection I found two of the plants in the geranium bush to be rotten soΒ  I replanted the entire large geranium plant. I then went out and purchased two tomato plants from Home Depot and two tomato plants from Walmart of which I did not plant in organic soil. A few weeks later I purchased some herbs and a single geranium plant. Once the flowers were on all my tomato plants I was pretty sure I was going to be seeing some amazing results. A short time later all the plants I’d purchased from my favorite nursery were dead and I was down to five tomato plants, some herbs, and my geranium plant. These plants were planted in potting soil called Expert Gardener and it’s sold at Walmart. It must work great for everyone else too, because it was always sold out when I went in to purchase more. By summer’s end my tomato plants produced over 100 tomatoes—mostly salad and cherry tomatoes. My geranium is still blooming, my herbs were absolutely awesome this year. My butterfly bush and the tropical flower I bought in June are thriving–prettiest hardiest plants ever and to think both were basically dead when I bought them! So mixed feelings on all this as I spent an incredible amount of money on nursery plants and organic soil and had zero results.Β  On top of that in years gone by having spent an enormous amount of money on fertilizers, soil, and such also very little in the way of production. Yes this year I had more plants so rightly so more tomatoes—in years gone by I had two to three plants and they produced between 10-20 cherry tomatoes in total. I have a lot to think about going forward. This was my last year for growing tomatoes on our deck. We will have one more spring here as our move has been delayed by the health issue I’ve been dealing with all summer. I am getting better but it is slow going. Next year’s garden will be mostly flowers for bees and bush beans!!

That’s it for gardening.

Stayed tuned for my next post about School & Farm : country living in the 70’s.

 

Patio Gardening Summer 2019 Week 13-15

My patio garden is winding down–my tomatoes are all hanging from the vine, waiting for the right temperature to ripen, and then as they do I’ll come along and gladly pick them to eat for b’fast, lunch, and dinner. Forty in all which isn’t bad for five plants that are producing. Both of the pepper plants died from being battered around in the wind–so they’ll be none of them. But the wonderful herbs, esp. my rosemary right now, more than make up for it. Our butterfly bush is full of beautiful blooms and we’ve seen many butterflies on it these past few days. Another year of gardening and feeding the birds has almost come to an end. We still have a few orioles and also their young, as well as all colors of finches and their young. We’ve gone through two cases of food feeding them and oh the hummingbirds–they’ve really loved the homemade syrup I’ve made for them all spring/summer. Each year around this time it is almost as if the hummingbirds take a mental picture of our deck, saving it somewhere in their senses, so that they remember who will feed them again all next year. They will have such a long, long journey to travel to get away from here for winter and then such a long, tiresome journey to get back to us. This spring when they first arrived all the birds looked so haggard, but now they look happy, healthy, and restored. It makes my heart very happy to see this year after year.



Our first tomato!

Our butterfly bush–

Farmers Market Hauls–

That’s all for now–Happy August!!

Patio Gardening Summer 2019 Week 10-12

I’m three months into my container garden and a total of 4.5 months working on and caring for this year’s garden.Β  Here is what happened in the last 2 weeks–

I cut back the peony and the peony bush grew back better than ever.

I’ve spent three storms on my deck getting drenched tying up bush tomato plants.

I’ve harvested zero tomatoes but so far have about 40 green tomatoes of various sizes.

My petunia and my smaller geranium plant died.

I have harvested oregano, thyme, and rosemary four times now. I’ve made soup, roast, and spaghetti using fresh herbs this past week.

I’ve got four large tomato plants –two of which look dead. I’ve got two small tomato plants, and by small I mean 2 ft tall, and one (there was two) pepper plant thatΒ  looks promising. My succulents were cut back and they look fabulous. I bought a tropical plant at Walmart that is growing like crazy, as well as my butterfly bush which is four times bigger than when we first bought it. The butterfly bush is definitely this seasons biggest winner! I visited a lavender farm a couple of weekends ago and bought a small lavender plant. I believe it is the most expensive single plant I’ve ever purchased- $10.00, so I am really babying it πŸ™‚

Β 

Until next time- be well!

My Patio Garden | Patio Gardening 2019 Week 4 πŸŒΏπŸ…πŸ…

Well, another week of barely any sun. I think we had sun on Saturday and about 30 minutes of it today–Wednesday.
Despite another week of icky weather–cold, dreary, damp, and no sun, I have a small tomato on one of my plants.
So– I have 2 Rutger’s Heirlooms-one has a tomato growing, 2 bush cherry tomato plants, 2 bush beefsteak tomato plants, and 1 purple Cherokee. I have snipped off the bottom foliage on all my plants (to prevent blight) and fed them. I recently purchased another thyme plant, Thai basil, a miniature rose, lemon balm, and a beautiful oregano plant. Tonight I made sure everything was planted in my garden, watered and fertilized. The next two days we are expecting temperatures near 80 and sun. This week I lost the Roma tomato plant and maybe soon the hydrangea?Β  I am trying to keep it going after its blooms died but so far it isn’t doing very well. The juniper we planted this year and the two hostas we planted last year, which are growing by our front door, are doing alright. The browning and needle loss of my evergreen are slowing down–fingers crossed. This is how it all looks this week–

Bush tomato plants & plans for 2019’s container garden

So this year I am going to be focusing 100% of my attention on growing tomatoes–bush tomatoes to be exact. I am going to use my entire deck for this endeavor leaving a small spot for herbs and a couple pots of flowers for the bees.

I’ve realized over the years that I’ve put an incredible amount of energy toward my container gardens but never really perfected the art of growing any one thing. This is the year! I will begin to grow my seedlings probably towards the end of April because I won’t be able to harden them off outside until the end of May. I will also be buying my tomato plants from a local nursery and my herbs and flowers will be from Bonnie Plants. I’ve been growing Bonnie Plants rosemary and thyme for almost 15 years and in my opinion, they are always the hardiest plants to buy from anyone around here.Β  I’m choosing to grow bush tomatoes because I want all my tomatoes to harvest within a month or two so that I can harvest them, can and freeze them, and enjoy the rest of my summer. Indeterminate continue to grow to several feet and have tomatoes all season long–requiring care and water throughout the growing season until season’s end.

Here’s how to grow bush (determinate) tomato plants in containers:

  • Buy good draining pots big enough for the plants you are planning on having in them.
  • Pick a nice sunny spot where the plants will receive at least 6 hours of sun. Group the plants together to help shade the root zones of each plant but not close enough to touch. Keep the plants in a wind-free area (this one is big for me because I may have to create one).
  • Use good premium soil. I use Purple Cow Organic soil and have always found it to work the best for me.Β  I need really, really good soil not only for obvious reasons but also because our deck is not shaded. It also gets incredibly hot and has too few hours of sun for growing.
  • Plant your plants properly buy digging a hole and covering 2/3 of the plant with soil to encourage good root growth.
  • Add your trellis or tomato stakes right away.
  • Leave about an inch of space from the top of your container to add mulch to hold in moisture.
  • Feed your plants. I mix Purple Cow Tomato gro with my Purple Cow Organic Soil mix and throughout the season use their compost tea and their bio-active fertilizer.Β  ***This is not a sponsored post***
  • Water regularly.

Source

That’s it for now–just blogging about this has made me feel happier and more hopeful that spring is coming.