Monday, June 14, 2010

The Lazy 20-Something's Guide to Sustainability: Container Gardening v.2

A couple weeks ago I wrote about starting my container garden on my deck as a means to live more cost-effectively as a fresh veggie hound, while not receiving my staple veggies through means that include transport, lots of chemicals, and a throng of people in the produce aisle. Now, to be clear (and as you've probably figured out if you've read more than one blog post), I'm not the only person writing for the blog. My name is Trish, and I'm one of the 2 people doing the "Lazy 20-Something's Guide..." posts. Kelly, my co-worker at Museum of the Earth, is the other. She's also the mind behind the Lazy 20-Something title. We also have a couple other people who contribute to the blog to maintain the sort of variety we'd like to see here and to represent all the many ways in which Museum of the Earth is working on climate change education. One final clarification, right now Kelly has the CSA and sprouting (or perhaps withering...we shall see) basil plants, and I have the container garden on my deck. There's a picture of the entire deck, including grill and willing taste-tester!

My container garden seems to be doing well! Officially taking stock, I have:
1 tomato plant
1 "tomatoberry" plant (I assume they'll be like tiny cherry tomatoes..)
1 columnar basil plant (tastes a little less sweet than genovese, smaller leaves, but grows well in a pot with other friends and is a bit heartier)
3 genovese basil plants
5 cilantro plants
a mix of arugula and mixed greens...probably 12-15 plants in all
1 cucumber plant
1 banana pepper plant
1 green pepper plant
1 rosemary 'bush' (its really quite a plant)
1 pineapple sage 'bush' (grows MUCH faster than the rosemary)
1 lemon verbena 'bush'
oatgrass for the kitties
a few leftover dill plants that magically reseeded from my neighbor's attempt last year
4 strawberry plants
assorted flowers

Amazingly as I care for these plants, I've already learned a few great things and made some keen observations.

Keen observation 1 - as of Friday, June 11th, I had eaten both wild strawberries growing on the side of the road and observed cultivated strawberries nearly ready for the eating in a friend's strawberry plants do not yet have flowers.
LESSON: strawberries in pots don't seem to do well and may or may not (the more likely scenario) yield any fruit. Perhaps one of those topsy turvy strawberry planters would work better, but strawberries are such a strong plant, I might just replant these in my landlord's yard somewhere for better chances next spring.

Keen observation 2 - the pineapple sage plant helps to make a mean version of a tropical mojito! It also grows REALLY, REALLY QUICKLY and is overrunning my poor rosemary.
LESSON: Plant pineapple sage in a pot all by itself and plan lots of parties with rum drinks during summer months. Additionally, I'd love to hear any other ideas for the pineapple sage. How would I harvest it for teas?

Keen observation 3 - My cucumber plant is doing well...I daresay thriving!
LESSON: It turns out you can grow vine-y plants in container gardens. I've put a large tupperware lid underneath the plant so that the vines don't stray too far and so I can move the container when necessary. If this really works, you can bet I'll have 3 or 4 cucumber plants in next summer because cucumber is my favorite veggie. I also see zucchini (and zucchini bread) in that future.

I've enjoyed a few tasty salads already from my container garden, and they taste SO fresh when you just cut the leaves 5 minutes before serving. I also made a tasty stew that I seasoned with some of the herbs I had. I'll keep you informed of how things grow, and I'd love some creative ideas for the lemon verbena and pineapple sage that I have in copious abundance already!

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