Thursday, May 28, 2009

Veggies, Herbs and Annuals in Containers

The herbs are doing well in pots. This corner of the deck plantings is a mix of herbs, annuals, perennials and evergreens. From left to right we have dwarf alberta spruce, pansies, cilantro, red blood grass, mondo grass, scotch moss, petunia, lobelia, pieres japonica, trailing rosemary, basil, chocolate mint, bacoppa, dill, snap dragons, mexican feather grass and more red pansies. 

First pot (left) holds spinach and snapdragons, second pot (right) is a mix of lobelia, italian parsley and russian sage.

We have our first guest speaker! 

Jose Gonzales is the veggie and herb buyer for City People’s and has offered to give a few tips on container gardening with veggies, herbs and annuals.

CAMI: Can you recommend a good resource for growing veggies?

JOSE: An awesome resource for veggie gardening is Territoial Seed Company Catalogue. We sell it at City Peeps for a quarter (.25- what a deal). It has cultural requirements and harvesting tips and all kinds of great info. I can't tell you how many times I've broken out that catalogue when a customer has a specific question about certain veggies. It is an essential resource.

CAMI: What are the things you need to consider when planting herbs and veggies in pots?

JOSE: Herbs and veggies in pots are cool. One problem with containers is the watering needs- they're different than watering needs in the ground. Generally, pots dry out faster, and a dry pot makes for some weak plants. Also, all the watering does a good job of leaching out the nutrients, so you have to remember to replace them with a liquid fertilizer. Liquid fertilizers nutrients are available immediately to the plant, whereas dry fertilizers take some time to break down before they are available to the plants. Veggies like food...and they should, because we require so much from them. Herbs are a little easier going- they can take a bit more drying out than veggies. I wouldn't grow Lavander in pots- they don't do that great- although that's a general rule. I always tell people to try something out if they really want. Just because someone at a garden store or book says it won't work doesn't mean it won't work. You gotta try it out for yourself.

CAMI: What about mixing annuals in with your herbs and veggies?

JOSE: Annuals and herbs and veggies make nice partners. Annuals are great because they provide color over a long period. Light requirements are most important. Watering too. I like to stuff my pots when I plant them, because it looks so good. If growing veggies, you may want to give them a little room. Tomatoes should be in there own pots- peppers too.

Thanks, Jose! 

Well, I have done a little experimenting myself and have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of veggies that really don’t like pots (unless it’s a planter box or really big pot). I tried planting radishes, scallions and dill in pots and it’s been, well, pretty much a failure. They are all bunched way too close together and need watering about every couple minutes. (I won’t say you didn’t warn me, Jose!) The herbs seem to be much better suited. That is, except for the dill which is absolutely HUGE and towering over the pot it’s in. There are a few exceptions though: I have had great luck growing tomatoes in pots – BIG pots that is. Last year my cherry tomato reached all the way up to our second story deck! Lettuce seems to be another 'no fail'. I’ve mixed spinach with snapdragons and the snapdragons provide just a bit of shade from the hot afternoon sun which (so far) the spinach seems to like. Oh, and, beans. They seem to be surviving as well but each plant has it’s own pot and I only have two so I’m not banking on a big harvest.

Uh, oh. These radishes don't look very happy!

And neither do the scallions. Someone please help me!

These radishes need some breathing room.

So what to do with my wilty failures? I decided to take out a huge swath of artemesia which has become invasive and put my veggies in their place. It’s not your typical raised bed but I’m hoping it works. You’ll have to check back on the progress in a month or so and see for yourself!


Tortured veggies, you are about to get a new home!

Virgin dirt. Ready for planting. Ahhh....

All planted. I hope they don't mind the transplant. Stay tuned for some better picts.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Neighborhood Garden Tours

Here is a partial listing of neighborhood garden tours coming up this summer. Some are by bus (Bainbridge) but most are self-guided driving or walking fromone private garden to the next all within various neighborhoods. I've gone on a number of these (Queen Anne, Wallingford, West Seattle, Bainbridge, and Burien). My favorite by far is always the Wallingford tour. It's amazing what these gardeners are able to pack in to a small city lot! I also like this one because most of the hardscaping and landscaping is all do-it-yourself. I'd have to say my second favorite is the West Seattle tour in terms of creativity and variety. Last year we visited a garden where every square inch of it was dedicated to veggies and herbs. They grew all there own produce and canned for the winter months. I hope you have the chance to check out a garden tour this summer. 

This photo is taken from one of my new favorite blogs

Wallingford Garden Tour 

Sunday June 7, 2009 10am-4pm

Gig Harbor

June 27-28

Whidbey Island

June 27

Symphony of Gardens (Kirkland, Medina and Yarrow Point)

June 28

Woodinville Tour of Gardens

July 18

Georgetown Art and Garden Walk

July 9

Bainbridge in Bloom

July 10-12

West Seattle

July 19

Columbia City / Rainier Valley Garden Tour

August 22