Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Container Garden - Moraga 9/16/12

Hello

It is my last day of my vacation.... I have to go back to work tomorrow and I am trying to "psych" myself up. I have been in Moraga this week mainly due to issues with my hips and back and not being able to sit that long to drive to the other house. Two massages and the jacuzzi seem to be fixing it but sitting all day at work is going to hurt!

My house in Moraga is a townhouse that actually has a small yard. (It is pretty large for a townhouse where there is usually just a patio or deck. But compared to my other yard, it is small!) It is heavily shaded so I can't grow a lot of vegetables. I am container gardening though, and really it works well for things like herbs, leafy greens and surprisingly, root vegetables. I have 2 containers with root vegetables, one has carrots and the other chioggia beets. These beets are super sweet with a candy-cane stripe on them. You can see a picture of them here at Territorial Seed - which is my favorite place to buy seeds.
 You have to have a deep enough pot - these are plastic and about 18 inches across the top and 12 inches deep. (For root veggies, 12 inches is the minimum.) You will also need to water them a lot more since pots dry out and fertilize more than something planted in the ground. Use an organic vegetable fertilizer like root-tone so that you get a slow release of nutrients.

Beets - I put new seeds in about every 6 weeks. So you see baby and older ones. The other sad plants are french green beans. They didn't do well in a pot.
Carrots - they actually get sweeter when it gets cold. So you can plant them in the summer and keep harvesting through the winter. They will not sprout in the cold weather so you have to have them started before it gets too cold.
Swiss chard in back and Arugula in front - These are cooler season plants that I sowed in mid-August. Too hot and they will not grow at all. This is shaded 1/2 the day as well so they get some sun protection.


Chives! These things just grow and grow... my Basil hates the yard but I keep trying. Not enough sun for it. I have harvested Chives and frozen them to use over the winter.

Pineapple Sage - this is NOT a container plant as it gets 4 feet tall before I cut it down. But it is an edible herb and the hummingbirds just love the flowers!

Thyme and Oregano - planted in a shallower galvanized tub.
Container gardening is something that anyone with a little space and sun can do... the trickiest part is keeping it watered without over-watering. For years I insisted on trying to grow "hot" veggies like peppers and tomatoes but I just don't have enough sun or heat where I live. Now that I have come to peace with that reality and found things that do well, it is working out great. The other night Nick and I had a potato from mokehill along with a salad made with arugula and beets picked 10 mins before dinner.(And steak and polenta too..)  I am not saving money doing this, but it sure is nice to eat something you grew and you can't find at a store. These are mainly heirlooms I am growing and they don't "retail" well.
I hope this inspires any of you who have just a little space or are not sure how to start gardening. Get a pot, some soil and a packet of seeds and see what happens! It is a great way to start learning about plants and what you like to grow. Flowers are fine too... we need them for the pollinators... give it a try!



Julie