Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Back to my Roots | Starting a New Container Garden

Although I'm off to a late start, it's time to put my new garden space to work. This season, I'm able to plant a few containers with some plants. What are the best plants and methods to take advantage of this limited space though? I know all the answers to this question as I'm no stranger to this style of gardening.

Part 1: Organization
My garden area was looking all in disarray. I needed some serious organization. So I assembled my PVC shelf again as a way to restore order. This way, I can keep my seed starts and some of my smaller containers organized in my yard. Much better than placing them all over the ground, and less bending over! 
If you missed that post/video, you can view that below.

Part 2: Starting the first seeds
So now that it's the first week of May, what can I reliably plant that won't instantly die in the summer heat? With my summers being hellishly hot, it does not make sense to try growing plants like Bok Choy, Spinach, or most lettuce varieties
Here's some of the plants I'll be growing first:
Maglia Rosa Cherry Tomato

To start some seeds I scooped out some soil from my existing container and potted that. Already I had a feeling that this dirt was no good. If I don't see any action from those in 2 weeks, I'll restart.
Then I remembered that my parents gifted me this Jiffy mini-greenhouse with peat pellets for Christmas. I figure it's appropriate to try that out now. 
Wow that's hilarious that these peat pellets expand the way they do. At least these seem pretty straight forward to plant in. I planted 2 rows of basil, 1 row of the cherry tomatoes, and one row of the Anaheim peppers. I'll keep these in my room until I see some seeds germinate.
About 4 days after planting the seeds in the peat pellets, they have already germinated. I'm actually happy that the cherry tomatoes germinated as those seeds I harvested from some fruit my parents mailed me. Awesome! I can start to put these outside to get some more sunlight during the day.

Part 3: Potting up my existing plants
Now that I'm feeling like a real gardener again, I took a quick trip to the nursery to grab some 1 and 2 gallon containers, some new seeds, and much needed garden soil. The first of my existing plants I needed to pot up were the grapevines I acquired a few weeks ago. Now I know I typically plant these in 5 gallon buckets, but for my current situation, I will see how they do in two gallon containers for the rest of this year. The grapes won't grow too crazy to out grow them in a year. Next year I can transplant them up to the bigger containers.

After freeing up those three nursery pots, it was time to start some more seeds. This time I sifted some of the garden soil I purchased to fill those containers. Yes, after all these years I still have this soil sifter. I had to replace all the zipties though as the original orange ones had deteriorated after months of sun exposure.
With some more seed starting capacity, I planted some more seeds. This time I selected some different seeds to plant. Swiss Chard, Marigolds, Fresno Chili peppers, and a blend of summer lettuce made the cut, as those will survive the heat. Some new seeds of plants I've never grown before included Radishes, Arugula, and Lavender. And finally, for the cats I live with, I planted some more Catgrass and Catnip. They love that stuff.

Finally, since my growing season is so far behind, I bought a few herbs to help bolster my garden. Now normally I don't purchase plants from the store as it's cheaper and more satisfying to start from seed, but there's a select few that are worth buying for several reasons. I plan to make a list of those plants soon to share the knowledge. I selected some Spearmint and some Rosemary as these two plants would take forever to reach the stage of growth they are now if I started either seed now, they regrow fast, and I can use them in the kitchen at this stage.
So that's where things are after a week of setting up my new garden. We shall see how quickly those seeds I planted germinate soon. I'll be posting updates again once things start happening. For now, to stay up to date with my latest progress, follow my new Instagram page where I will be posting pictures of the various vegetables in my garden. Be sure to check out my log of all the vegetables I've previously grown so you too may grow what I'm growing. 

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