April 30, 2012

Container gardening

Our backyard is quite shaded which makes gardening a challenge. The majority of our sun hits the deck--the far end in this picture. I started off with a few containers of peppers to take advantage of the sun, but this year have gone hard core with these new deck rail planters from Ozbo. (Use coupon "spring" for free shipping!)

I see I can squeeze a few more on here, so an order has been placed for a few more of the rail planters. They are out of the 30" so 24" will have to do. They are so nicely wedged on the 2x6 rail, and hold a surprising amount of dirt. (They also are great at disguising the multiple construction defects left from my experiment with deck building.)

I like to have things on the deck that I can easily access come eatin' time. This year we'll have herbs, peppers, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes of every color. (Well, not every color but I do have white, red, orange, yellow, green, and purple.  Somebody get on inventing a blue tomato, please.)

Things grow really well here, IF I can remember to water every day. Eventually I'll set up a drip irrigation system, but I have bigger issues on my hands (like finishing the stairs from the deck). In general the squirrels, birds, beavers, etc. that live behind our house leave my deck garden alone as it's 7 feet off the ground. The biggest predator is a 5 year old human who loves tomatoes.

Every year I put new soil in my containers. The old stuff is recycled into the raised beds, and replaced with Miracle Gro moisture control from Costco. They sell enormous bags of the stuff for $10, a price you can't beat anywhere. This year I went through, ahem...ten bags.

I'm using scrap lumber left over from the deck building to make little stands for the pots. I want to get the pots up a little bit, both to keep water from settling on the deck and also go get them a little more sun. I got distracted and didn't finish - you can see the blue, green, and lime planters are different heights. I'll get around to it one of these days.

I love the black deck rail planters. We had a sudden cold snap and wind storm, and within 3 minutes I had hauled them right in the house. Made some new bug friends, but my plants lived to see another day.

Now I just sit and wait and stare. Had a cold day today, and don't think I didn't consider putting my space heater out there more than once. I try not to think about how long it is until July, the expected date of my first tomato. Sigh.

No freebies were given in exchange for me linking to these awesome planters from Ozbo. But if they wanted to throw some surprises into my next order, I would not complain.

April 26, 2012


This is our first real garden harvest--an armful of spinach. It was quite delicious.

The kid spotted 2 holes (tears that healed) and was afraid bugs had gotten to the spinach. Instead of the smiles I was after, I got this:

April 17, 2012

I can haz grass?

Bought some awesome planters for the deck:

(Scoured the web for the best price so if you like them, let me know and I'll send you the web page and the discount code.) They go on top of the 2x6 rail and are really on there good. The deck will blow over before they do. They'll be home to herbs, maybe some of my currant tomatoes, and flowers to attract butterflies & bees. 

(That picture was taken several weeks ago, before I covered the deck in my normal pots and accompanying piles of potting soil.)

FINALLY got some grass to grow: 

(If you look really closely on those trees in the common space you can see a big ugly vine. That's poison ivy. More on that later.)

Last year we got a new fence and moved it back 8 feet behind where the privacy fence was--making me regret years of throwing yard waste just over that fence. I often feel like I never finish anything, though now that I think about it, I removed a ton of vines and trash from this 8' long patch of land, and managed to grow some grass--a true miracle in such a shaded spot--and it only took me 6 months. The compost pile in the corner made up of Starbucks coffee grounds & horse manure. My neighbors must LOVE me. Pay no attention to the large patch of dirt in the bottom left corner, that's remains of the never ending deck project. 

Our cold weather veggies are doing great. I don't actually like most cold weather veggies, I kind of just plant them to stave off my desire to plant tomatoes in February. 

Pretty sure those big things are Brussels sprouts, but my labeling leaves much to be desired. As does my desire to build a proper square foot grid. Why create extra work when leftover conduit pipe seems to do OK?