On May 17th 2009 our potted garden was born. Planting on the porch is something I always look forward to, it happens every year but this time we have decided to plant with a focus on food. The majority of our plants are growing and cared for with the intention to eat. We started all of the plants from greenhouse sprouts and we used over 300 pounds of dirt & peat! Most of our pots are ceramic or terracotta, but we also have 2 larger wood pots built by my dad for our tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint. So far we have seen a lot of progress in just a couple of months and I couldn’t be more excited about it. Here is a set of photos to introduce what we are growing in summer of 2009 (fair warning- it’s a long post); to start off we have some basic shots of when the garden was being planted going through the evolution of the porch. Stay tuned for the details of what is here…
We are growing five types of peppers: jalapeño, red chili, serrano, habanero, & ancho. Every plant has several peppers already; none are ready to be picked, but it’s clear that we will be eating a lot of peppers this year! It’s so much fun to watch the flowers bloom, the petals fall, and the peppers emerge into something we certainly can use. Can’t wait until our red chilies and habaneros begin to change color.
The strawberry patch, or rather the one pot of strawberries we have, were the first to travel through their fruit cycle in this garden. It was possibly the most exciting one as well! It took several weeks for the flowers to form into strawberries. The small fruits were so beautiful they looked plastic and fake! Over the course of a few days they turned from green to white to the most stunning fleck of red in the yard. How did they taste?!!! Ask the squirrels! Sadly they got to them before we did ;( and with the storms of Chicago the rest was history, our plant will now remain fruitless until next year.
Brussels sprouts. A lot of people don’t like them but we happen to love them, so we thought we would try growing them. If you haven’t seen a stalk of Brussels sprouts before take a look at this post on 101 Cookbooks. I’m impressed. They started off as a couple of scant leaves protruding from the dirt and quickly bloomed quadrupling in size in only a couple of weeks! At this point we aren’t seeing any drastic growth- probably because they are a bit crowded with four in the pot. We can see on the stalk that there are tiny sprouts forming and keep our fingers crossed that they will continue to grow.
The cherry tomatoes are planted in a long wooden crate like planter (thanks dad). There were 8 sprouts to start with plenty of room. However, “plenty of room” quickly turned into a huge leafy burst out of the planter. These plants are luckily separated from the rest because they have aphids. Yikes. But these little bugs have not stopped the plants from growing; we give them weekly soap baths to keep the bugs down but can’t seem to keep them out for good. Anyone have a winning plan to defeat these little guys? Lady bugs? Anyway, with or without aphids our tomatoes are flourishing, everyday there are new flowers and new tomatoes showing up. Tons of green just waiting to turn red- squirrels, we will not let you get a hold of these babies!
Kale! As you already know we love kale. Naturally we had to include it in our garden. It started off rather small and is now about ready to eat. We’ll let you know how the first harvest goes…
There’s more! We also have 2 types of lavender, 2 types of basil, sage, thyme, mint, cucumbers and several other plants that are better left uneaten… So far we have been able to use a few of the herbs in meals and drinks. Mojitos are a popular drink at this house and with the way our mint has been growing it seems that we will keep a healthy supply at the tips of our fingers. Basil and thyme have already been used a few times as well, details to come.
After a long scroll down the page you’ve made it to the end of the first look into our garden. There will be more to show in the coming months that will include recipes.
Check out my new website – TurningMoss.com – for more posts like this!