Friday, January 6, 2017

Container Gardening in Winter

I am not an active winter gardener. There is nothing I dislike more than spending time outside in below freezing temperatures. That said, I enjoy fresh, winter greens. See my dilemma?

This season, I think I've figured out a way to cheat the system. Rather than utilizing my raised beds in the side yard, full of delightful compost no less, I planted Swiss chard, broccoli and spinach in pots on the back patio. The plan is to reach out my back door and snip whatever I desire, then retreat into the warmth of my home in 10 seconds flat.

The Swiss chard has done remarkably well. I've harvested gallon bags worth for the last few weeks. All from a medium-sized strawberry planter that had been sitting empty for years.

The broccoli is now filling out. Little florets are appearing on healthy stalks. I'm so excited!

These are planted in two large plastic pots; the black ones that are readily available at big box garden centers. I suspect the broccoli plant roots will quickly outgrow the pots, but they were the largest I had on hand.
The spinach has not fared as well, hence no picture. I planted them in small, unglazed terra cotta pots which I suspect is part of the problem. (The only thing I have successfully grown in terra cotta pots are succulents.) Unglazed terra cotta dries out quickly and is just too high maintenance in my opinion. It is unlikely that I will repot them but I know better for next year.
How does your winter garden grow?

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bird of Paradise Update Part Deux

If you read this post and this one, you'll know that I'm trying to revive a gifted Bird of Paradise plant. I've managed to get new shoots to open but the planter still looked a little bare. I had a few young philodendron plants that I didn't know what to do with, so on a whim, I added them to the base.

Much better don't you think? It's my hope that the Bird of Paradise will continue to improve and the philodendron will fill out and spill over 360 degrees.

I'm also playing around with filters on my camera. Kinda liking the subdued colors and antique effect on this one.

Anyone, stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Mini Succulent Garden

I have several variety of succulents in pots around the yard and had more than a few leaves drop while cleaning up. I didn't want to toss them so I thought I'd create a mini planter for my desk at work.

The succulent in the center already had a good root system so that one is actually buried in the potting mix. As for the others, I simply arranged the succulent leaves as I wanted on top of the soil. As the leaves broke down, they gave way to new plants which will be rooted in the potting mix.

I already had the pot, which is lined with pebbles at the bottom to help with drainage. (It is temporarily resting on the charger, which is awaiting a Christmas makeover.)

Even though I used good quality potting mix and plan to fertilize when required, it will take a few months for these to grow in. They have a nice, sunny perch near a window and will be most delightful to look at. Can't hardly wait!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Bird of Paradise Update

If you read this post back in August, then you know that while my Bird of Paradise has been putting out new shoots, the leaves were not unfurling. After some research, I discovered that the plant was not getting sufficient sunlight in my entry and was temporarily relocated to the back porch. Now that evening temperatures have cooled off, we had to move it back inside, this time in the kitchen. With two new shoots!

Every day I would inspect with bated breath but to my pleasant surprise, both leaves opened completely. Now, I am not sure if this is due to the massive amounts of sunlight the plant received on my south-facing back porch for over two months or the filtered sunlight it receives in my kitchen. Only new shoots will determine that. But in the meantime, I am enjoying a moment of bliss, having saved this soon-to-be gorgeous plant. Now, for it to bloom...

Monday, September 26, 2016

There's Good News and Bad News

I've not done a great job this summer photo journaling my garden. Sometimes life happens and blogging is on the lower end of the totem pole. So when I had a few minutes this past weekend, I thought I'd snap these quick photos to share with you.

I have had an abundance of bell peppers and hot banana peppers this summer. And my bushes are still yielding in spite of the lingering heat and my lack of attention.

Earlier in the year, I had the bright idea to plant a pumpkin vine to have a pumpkin-lined front porch for the cost of a pack of seeds. This is what I had in mind:

My pumpkin vine was lush and green and spread like wildfire. There was blossoms galore. I just knew my pumpkin-lined was going to happen this year. But in spite of the blossoms and tiny, little pumpkins on the vine, there was one sole-survivor:

I don't even know what I'm going to do with it yet. So for now its my lone fall decoration on the kitchen counter.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to. What's happening in your garden?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Zinnia Bug Power

Every year I plant zinnias for Blinky. We love the vibrant colors and the assortment of butterflies and moth they attract.

There are patches all over our yard. But the one I get to enjoy most is in my compost. (Where do you plant the bajillionth seedling pack when you've run out of space everywhere else?) Today, I spotted these beauties:


In the first three photos, I believe these are monarchs because they lack the black markings on the hindwings of the Viceroy and the white spots of the Queen. But you decide here. The final picture is of a daytime moth. I am working on identifying it. (If you look really closely, you'll see a pesky little caterpillar, hence all the holes in my leaves.)
Other species visit the zinnias at night. I've seen hummingbird moths and a few others I haven't yet been able to identify. I'm working on that too.
Hope you guys have a great holiday weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Pumpkins Finally!!!

Last fall I planted a pumpkin vine in the hope that I would have a beautiful fall display on my front porch. The vine did well and did in fact produce pumpkins, however I planted it too late in the season and the frost killed the vine and the pumpkins before they had a chance to mature.

Fast forward to this summer. I planted my vine in late June. I have had a gorgeous, healthy, blossom-laden vine for months, but no pumpkins. I'd all but given up on it when I spotted this beauty:

It's the only one I've noticed but I'm hoping under all that foliage are a few more. Hopefully they will have another eight weeks to mature and I can start decorating away!