The Garden Party Continues

Now that you have toured the front yard let’s tour the back.

We’ll take a walk down the side path, the picture on the left, which in a few years will have flowering trees blooming in the spring.  When we get to the back you can see the yard, the picture on the right.

On the south side of the path we have a climbing hydrangea making its way up the deck railing.  Further along we have the shade garden, which gets only a couple of hours of sun. In here we have multiple varieties of hostas, astilbe, mums and columbine, with Plumeria, Monarda, and Campanula.

On the north side of the yard is the sun loving garden.  We have lilacs surrounded by Salvia, Sedum, Coreopsis, Munstead lavender, and Russian sage.  Then we have the rose garden, in the middle photo, which is so exciting because these roses were all grown from seed!  They are only two years old right now so they are still pretty small.  I will spread them out a bit this fall in preparation for next year’s growth.  I have mums centered in this garden to offer some additional fall color.

The picture on the right is our pergola.  We built this to accommodate the grape plant that is now vining its way to the top.  I did the design work, we sawed out the decorative ends and put it up in a couple of days.

Let’s head back to the house to check out the back deck…

Facing to the north we hung a decorative metal piece.  This was actually the back of an old wooden bench that had seen better days. We recycled the wood and used this piece to add some character to the deck.  Then we hung little plants off it to add more color.  In each of those pots is a moon flower vine that climbed up all the way to the rafters.  Really exceptional!  We also have hooks in the rafters to be able to hang all sorts of plants at different heights.  We have pots on the deck, on the railings, and on decorative racks…flowers everywhere.

We have also harvested some nice vegetables, the picture on the left. The zucchini was 14 inches long and the eggplant bigger than a softball.  I am very pleased with the result of my first attempt at these two plants this year.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.  As always let me know if you have any questions or comments.


btw – Thanks to Rich and Alice for the vegetable plants that were so successful this year!


More on Vegetable Gardens

So you can see from the pictures posted that vegetables can be grown anywhere.  Above is cucumber.  Next, two pots, each with 4 plants in them, 2 eggplant and 2 tomato.  This is too many.  I planted these thinking the tomatoes would not make it, well they did.  The plants will be fine I will just have to water much more often and add additional fertilizer so all 4 plants get enough of what they need.

The gourd vine in the pot below was a volunteer. It popped up at the beginning on of the season in my neighbor’s yard, a remnant from last year.  We are not even sure of the variety.  I was curious to see how this might work in a pot and a random gourd plant seemed good for a trial.  For now the vine is doing OK.  It seems that there is some stress on the main stem as it bends to drape over the side.  I will need to address this or I might loose the bulk of the plant.  

Also in the pictures is my “regular” vegetable garden, with eggplant, cucumber, zucchini and gourds.  I use grass clippings to keep the weeds down. Every time I mow (meaning my husband mows) we collect the clippings instead of mulching them into the lawn.  Yes the mulch is good for the lawn when done right (a future post topic), we like to use it for the veggies.  Just pull out visible weeds and lay down the clippings in a nice mat throughout the garden.  It really keeps the weeds down and next year when you are preparing the area you will see a noticeable improvement in the quality of the soil since the grass composts over the year.

Use a good fertilizer at planting and again mid season for a good boost where needed, in some cases the whole garden.  For leafy greens you can try a liquid fish emulsion added to your watering can for a nitrogen source.  This will work fast and green up the leaves really nicely.  If you use a solid form, for any vegetable, dig a small trench around the stem for the fertilizer, about a foot in diameter, and then cover it with soil.  This keeps the fertilizer in the soil and not splashing up on the plants when you water, which can cause burning.  Don’t overdo the fertilizer as it can build up in the soil and cause other issues.

Apply the boost fertilizer in July generally, and specifically when broccoli just heads up, when corn is about 20″-24″, on big vines before they run away, and tomatoes and peppers when they bloom and again in 4 weeks.

It is just thrilling to eat fresh veggies you grow yourself, and so delicious.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Tune in next time for the beginning of our travel series.  We are taking a trip to the Berkshires and will report in on exciting plants we find.

btw- Thanks to my mom, who forwarded me info from her local paper.  Here is the link to that article by Paul Barbano.


Vegetable Gardens in Containers

Let’s spend some time talking about growing vegetables, specifically container vegetable gardens.  You can have a vegetable garden anywhere in containers, on a roof, a deck, and even inside.  Here are a few tips.

Each plant needs a big pot -14 inches or wider.  The bigger the pot, the less often you need to water.  Also, in my experience, soil stays moist longer in a plastic pot as opposed to a clay pot.  I have heard good things about a kit you can get from Home Depot called the City Pickers Garden Kit that includes a self-contained watering system, which could make all the difference.  Make sure to use a good soil or potting mix and feed with vegetable fertilizer.

Choose the right plant.  Cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes are all good choices for containers because their size can be controlled.  Zucchini, and gourds in general, not the best choice for containers or when space is limited, as they are aggressive travelers.

Choose determinant or indeterminant varieties.  Indeterminant plants will grow to an indeterminant size, meaning they will keep growing in length indefinitely.  For example, tomatoes, around which you put a cage and may even need to support for several feet.   The determinant varieties only grow to a certain size.  These are the plants you choose if you don’t want to support vines or if space is limited.  You can control the size of any plant by snipping the tip of new growth, and gently pruning stems that are not productive.

The next post will offer a variety of photos of different vegetable gardens and some suggestions on how to best support the growth of different kinds of vegetables.

If you have questions or want more details let me know!


btw-Thanks to Karen for her question about vegetables in containers and to Sandy for the great info on determinant vs. indeterminant varieties.