I love these raised gardens! My son built them for me one year for Mother’s day. They save my back to be sure!
Every year I go out back and start my new veggie garden with huge expectations and all good intentions. At the end of each season, I take stock of my gardens and the successes and failures experienced from which I like to think I’ve learned from…and what doesn’t require further effort (unless, of course, you’re stubbornly determined, which I am not.)
Last year I planted lettuce. It didn’t occur to me to stagger the plantings…I had flippin’ lettuce coming out of my ears. I had enough for the neighbours, the racoons and us!
Gardening is surely the best way to interact with nature, to really become part of life’s rich processes.
The second most precious gift gardening can give is to teach us the value of patience – there’s no such thing as an instant garden. Even when you cheat like me…I admittedly do not start my vegetables from seed. I pop on over to my local garden centre and buy the healthiest looking plants that I can find.
This year I planted red, green and yellow peppers, as well as jalapeno peppers and 3 different types of tomatos.
Savannah loves the cherry tomatoes and can pick them right off their stems and eat them. I have two bean plants this year. 1 cucumber plant and 3 strawberry plants
AND a raspberry bush. (Not sure how that is going to work in my rather small garden), but hey…ya never know till ya try, right? If it gets too big or out of control it is pretty easy to pull from these beds as the roots can only get so deep.
I always use organic soil. Apparently every year you have to take out at least half of the soil and top up with fresh soil for new nutrients. My vegetable garden is actually upstairs off my master bedroom. There is no access other than through the house which makes for a serious leg workout when bringing up the bags of soils and then all the plants too. Getting rid of the soil can be quite fun throwing it over the railing, the girls and I have contests to see who can land the dirt closest to my compost pile.
I never have to worry about bunnies but I do have to worry about racoons. In past years they have on occasion attacked my garden and ripped it to shreds! They are so nasty. We came home from Florida and a mama and her baby were living up on the balcony. As soon as we opened the door she would hiss at us…scared the bejeebers out of me! This year though Rocky Racoon has met her match….I found this amazing product at the Dollar store. I say amazing now…I’ll let you know if it continues to ward her off. It is very prickly and deters any animals from entering the garden area. I screwed it right into the edging around the garden. This leaves nowhere for the racoons to stand. Fingers crossed.
The raised gardens are approximately 3’X6’ and 12” deep. Because of the shallow depth, I have to be sure to water them every day. They do get sun all day too so they can easily dry out. The first year I planted tomatos I was so excited. They were growing fast and furious, but I was not keeping the soil evenly damp. I would water and then leave it for 3 days….water again…then the beautiful big tomatos were splitting! This was because of intense growth in short periods of time. If I had of watered regularly this wouldn’t have happened as the tomatos would grow at the same rate daily. Lesson learned.
Thankfully I don’t seem to get much in the way of bugs. No slugs at all. I suppose this is because we are on a 2nd story balcony. A bit of a hike for a slug! I have never had to use any type of bug repellent…I am happy to say my veggies are very clean when picked. No chemicals to wash off…just pick, rinse and eat.
I cannot believe the rate that these plants are growing at this year! I honestly don’t think my tomato plants have every grown this quickly before. Noted from past years….water daily!!!
I DID make a BIG mistake though!! When I planted my vegetables I should have put the supports in right away. Now there is no way I will be able to get a tomato cage around the plants! I am going to have to McGuyver something onto the side of the planter box and tie the plants to it. I also think I need to read up on how to prune the tomato plants. I think it is pretty much the same as a tree…all underneath branches and branches that cross over each other.
This year I added some annual flowers to the planters. I thought it would be nice to be able to go upstairs and cut a few fresh flowers for the bedroom or kitchen window. So far they are not doing very well in terms of size. The daisies don’t seem to want to flower and the carnations are staying quite short. I will need to do some reading on this and see what’s up. I might have to get a couple of more planter boxes for cutting flowers.
I have been on the hunt for a strawberry jar…not finding any yet, any suggestions?….until I do, I left the strawberries in their original containers and placed them on top of the dirt so that they wouldn’t dry out. Now the crazy roots have grown right through the bottom of the plastic pot and rooted themselves into the soil. These will need to carefully be taken out and transplanted asap!
But hey…at least the berries are growing.
Another sticky wicket is that I have no idea if my beans are pole beans or not. How do I tell? It doesn’t say on the plastic thingy! If they are pole beans I need to support them, if not they will spread about 2 feet in which case one plant will have to come out and hopefully survive a transplant…I sound like a surgeon! LOL So…I just found out a bush bean does not need support so I am in luck!!
The girls love to garden with me. Every night before bed they check on ‘their’ vegetables and do a bit of weeding too. Strange I should get weeds on the 2nd floor….but I do. In the mornings they love to take turns watering the plants. Depending on their patience and their hunger, determines how much water these plants get. LOL.
I have broken up my garden blog….chatting about all of my gardens would be long and boring. We are doing some updating in the backyard and once it is done I’ll be sharing that with you too.
This blog was written at the beginning of June. I have no idea why I didn’t publish it then. I think I wanted to add more photos and forgot about it….hey I am not a professional blogger…lol….just a hobby to me remember?
Anyways, I will have to update this post with some new photos…my tomato plants might just be on steroids…they are huge!!! There are already so many tomatos I might have to blog about canning them.
I hope you are enjoying your own gardens whether they are filled with veggies or flowers, who cares…..just get out there and enjoy!