My Ever Expanding Container Vegetable Garden
Some of 2009 crop. I'm especially proud of giant cucumber.
I was first inspired to start a vegetable garden by my 99 year old neighbor and her 77 year old son. When I first rented a house across the street from them a few years ago, I noticed they were growing tomatoes in their front yard. Well, I wanted tomatoes too.
The problem was, I couldn't dig up my landlord's front or backyard. My neighbor gave me some pots and I got some cherry tomatoes from the local garden center. Soon I had sweet juicy tomatoes to enjoy in my salads. (Which I eat almost every day)
The next year I decided on growing herbs to add to my garden, basil especially because I love Caprese salad. So I grew basil, chives, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
I grew these in 2 styrofoam ice chests from the dollar store that I cut down and poked holes in the bottom. I added red bell peppers and Habernero peppers (in their own pots) because I love them but they are so expensive at the grocery store. I also expanded my tomato repertoire to include beefsteak tomatoes.
Everything grew well although I didn't get the yield I wanted from the peppers because I didn't know they should be staked.
Last year I got really ambitious. I added cucumbers, eggplant, yellow and orange bell peppers, and scallions to the container garden. I also planted dill, cilantro, oregano, and mint. That's when the fun really started.
I found out the more you grow, the more challenges can crop (get it, crop) up. I bought bush type cucumbers because I didn't think they would get very large. I trained them vertically on stakes. Those vegetable plants climbed to be over seven feet tall. You should have seen me scrambling to find something for them to latch on to.
The eggplant plant was huge and I had it in a small pot. At the slightest breeze it would tip over. I finally had to tie it to the porch along with the tomato plants which also grew to over 6 feet tall. I guess the more experienced you become at this the bigger your garden grows...
And why didn't anyone tell me about hornworms (ugh). Those voracious little creatures took huge bites out of my cherry tomatoes for 2 weeks before I knew what they were. It was recommended that I pick them off by hand. Well, that wasn't going to happen (I was scared of them). My neighbor finally got them off for me.
For the most part it was a very successful season, except for the cilantro which bolted, and I enjoyed a bountiful crop. I was able to share much of my garden with relatives and neighbors.
This year I'm going all out. In addition to the above, I'm going to grow peas, radishes, garlic, lettuce and zucchini. My plan is to be able to make a salad and ratatouille without going to the store.
I would also like to plant a fall vegetable garden of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and mustard greens, and butternut squash. I've tried to be better prepared by buying six foot stakes, more tomato cages, yellow plastic gloves (for hornworms) and I bought plenty of pots at the dollar store at the end of last season.
Vegetable gardening is probably one of the most enjoyable endeavors I have ever done. It can take some work and it presents some challenges, but watching your plants come up and produce edible produce is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had - not to mention the savings. However, the biggest reward comes from the eating. Home grown produce tastes 100 times better than anything you can buy at the grocery.
So everyone please wish me luck. Hope everyone has a happy garden and may you all be fruitful.
My name is Val and I live in the Southeastern part of the US. Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.