by Ana Grarian
I spent the morning moving plants and replanting potatoes. It seems I have a lot to learn about gardening on this city lot. Last year I learned that walnut trees don’t make good neighbors for tomatoes (also asparagus, cabbage, eggplant, peppers, potatoes and rhubarb). So this year I planted my tomatoes in giant pots, that fortunately I found at a Freesale. Then this spring I learned about lead toxicity in soils around old buildings in my neighborhood, so I decided to plant most things in pots. From that I learned that plants in pots require more frequent watering (or so it seems).
I tried planting potatoes in a trash can. The idea is that you put the potato starts in the bottom of the can with enough soil to cover them. As the plants grow, you continue to add soil until the barrel is full. At the end of the season, when the plants die back, the barrel is supposed to be full of potatoes. My plants had already died off. I think it was a combination of using a black trash can, and placing it in my warm, sunny garden that is fabulous for tomatoes, but I think cooked these plants. I was pleased to find a couple of handfuls of new red potatoes. Just enough for my dinner tonight. I moved the barrel and started again with some fingerlings from a friend.
I think I should have started my kale ans Swiss chard earlier. (oh, and I’ll be direct sowing chard. Those tiny seedlings don’t seem to transplant well) The very hot weather we had in early June cooked my plants before they could get started. I moved my Brussel sprouts around to different parts of the yard to test where they will do the best. The squirrels helped to do the same with my squash plants. I now have no idea what is pumpkins and what is acorn squash.
I was given a blackberry bush and I’m trying to figure out where to put it that the briars will not be a problem.
I realized I had forgotten cucumbers and broccoli, so I am just starting those. Seeds for broccoli and a couple of purchased cucumber plants. My windowsill salad garden is finally doing well after I moved it to a different window, but it’s in my daughter’s bedroom, and I forget to pick the greens.
My pepper plants are very stunted and I have no idea why. I finally bought one to add to my scraggly plants from seed. Well, actually, they aren’t scraggly, just very short. They have blossoms, and I see other plants in the neighborhood are just as small, so maybe it is just the year.
The Hell strip between the sidewalk and road is starting to do double duty. I’ve moved a few things there to see how they will grow. I am concerned about edibles there because of all the soot from car traffic. I have kale there which I don’t think is good. Onions should be OK since they are underground. I’d like to put in a pole and plant green beans, and peas.
My flower gardens on the other hand are doing very well. The front garden sprang to life this year. Apparently the extensive weeding and mulching from last year gave the plants what they needed to really thrive. I had super luck with geranium cuttings over the winter, so I have pots of geraniums tucked into the spaces between Hosta, Rhododendron, Azalea, Forsythia and Chrysanthemum. My miniature rose bush is doing great guns this year also.
I have a tiny space in the sidewalk where the telephone pole is. Last year I grew wonderful zinnias. This year I planted one of those packets of mixed seeds. The problem is I don’t know what is seed and what is weed. I did recognize a couple of plants from my neighbors gardens, a few things that are coming up from last year, and the squirrels (or birds) planted a couple of sunflowers, and tomato plants. It’s finally starting to look like a garden instead of a weed patch.
I can’t seem to get healthy pansy plants in my window boxes. They are the wire ones with the coconut coir inserts. I lined them part way with plastic bags, in an attempt to keep them from drying out, but I don’t think it’s working. I may just take them down and plant the pansies in the ground.
Well – I’m livin’ and learnin’ and it’s all good.