Small Space Container Garden Update

 
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A few months back we went through some planning for our container garden. Since then, we have adjusted some of our container garden plans including adding to our original list. The plan to help Beth plant a garden was abruptly halted due to social distancing. Despite this, I pushed ahead to grow as much as possible for our family in our container garden. By utilizing the grow tower and other various containers, we have maximized our growing potential. We are using the space on the walkway leading up to our door in addition to some empty space underneath our bedroom window. So far, our little container garden is working out well. We have started to weigh everything that we harvest so at the end of the year we will be able to put a number on how much we grow.

 

Vertical Garden Tower - E. Jean Homestead

 

Herbs

I did start thyme, basil and parsley inside in some mason jars. I shared some of the jars in addition to keeping a set for myself. Well, mine died. They were not getting enough sun where I placed them. It was a struggle trying to find a good place for them. Let’s move on and not dwell on that fail too much. Each of the herbs in our container garden were purchased as plant starts from local nurseries with the exception of the basil. 

Lemongrass – We are growing lemongrass for it’s alleged bug repelling properties. Also, it’s height looks great in the center of the top tier of our grow tower.

Basil – A ton of basil was planted with the intention of preserving it. We gave my niece the job of sprinkling the seeds around the large tomato pot. Instead, there are clumps of seedlings unevenly spaced around half of the pot. Not exactly the pretty picture that I had in my head but we are growing food…not perfection.

Rosemary – We have been using it fresh but will dry it and save if it starts to grow too wild or if it starts to go to seed. I made a whole chicken using our fresh herbs and used a little extra rosemary. It was delicious!

Oregano – Similar to the rosemary, we have been using it fresh. When using fresh herbs, a little goes a long way. The flavor is much stronger.

Sage – Just a basic garden sage variety. Nothing fancy to see here.

Cilantro – We grew cilantro but have recently pulled the plants once they started to bolt. We did let one plant go to seed that we will be drying for the coriander. 

Greens

Collard Greens – I stuck two plants in the same pot. I may or may not regret this. So far, the two plants are growing well though. I am waiting as long as I can before harvesting any of it so that I can get enough for at least one side dish worth. 

Swiss Chard – Similar to the kale, we are not letting our swiss chard plants grow to full maturity. We are harvesting the larger young leaves and leaving enough for it to grow back.

Kale – I planted a lot of kale. We have two levels on our grow tower that is kale. That comes out to 8 sections and most sections have at least two kale plants in them. I wanted plenty of kale because I knew we would be cutting young leaves. As a result, we need to use more if we want to have it as part of a meal.

 

Container Gardening - E. Jean Homestead

 

Tomatoes

We are growing three different types of tomato plants in our container garden. We have 3 Minibel, 1 Rebekah and 1 Beefsteak in one of our 24 inch planters. All of our tomato plants were started indoors from seeds.

Minibel Tomato – These tomato plants are impressive. There are little cherry tomatoes all over them. I am so excited about how well these are doing. I started more of these plants than I needed to. The initial intention was giving majority of them away to family and friends but #covid. We could not visit the intended recipients so we planted 3, gave one away to a neighbor and lost a couple. I have 5 later started seedlings that are awaiting destinations. I will probably keep a couple more and gift the others. Don’t judge me!

Minibel Tomatoes - E. Jean Homestead

 

Rebekah – The Rebekah is getting tall and we are starting to see blooms! We are going to need to put some of our bamboo sticks in to help support it soon to keep it upright.

Beefsteak – When I started writing this post, I intended to write that we are not far from moving this to the “what failed” category. What a difference a couple days and a good rain shower makes! I now see flowers forming and I am thinking that this may not be a failure after all. I will not get my hopes up too much because anything can happen. However, flowers are a good sign!!

Everything Else

Cucumber – We have one cucumber plant that was started from seed. It is in the same pot as the remaining beets. We have two bamboo sticks supporting it’s vertical growth. We did have one tiny baby cucumber growing; then it shriveled up and died. So, I’ll have to do some research on that. {Insert long sigh here}  Due to space restrictions, I did not want to go crazy with planting cucumbers. In the future I would love to have a lot more so that we can make our own pickles.

Potatoes – Our potato bin is our biggest experiment. We let store bought potatoes start to grow out and then we planted them in a bin of soil. To our surprise, they have grown…a lot! So we will let the do what they do. When the time comes, we will see what is underneath!

Green Beans – After the tomatoes, the green beans are the next most exciting plants that we are growing. Planted from seeds in a large pot, these little guys have been growing at a steady pace. We are even starting to see the beginning stages of little green beans. The excitement over here is real!

Growing Green Beans - E. Jean Homestead

 

Beets – We harvested our first, good sized beet this past week and threw it in with some vegetables that we were roasting. Oh yes! We were all a fan. There was only enough for everyone to get a small taste but we liked it. We can’t wait to be able to harvest more. If I had to guess there’s probably only 4 or 5 more in the pot. While it is not much, we know that we can add this to the “future garden definitely need to grow” list.

Carrots – I threw some carrot seeds in the container with the green beans. I am not sure how that little move is going to turn out though. I did not think that out 100% because I am not sure if they will get enough sunlight now that the bean plants have grown so much. The carrot sprouts are up and I am seeing their first set of true leaves so this is on the watch list!

Echinacea – I received some Echinacea seeds as a bonus with my Baker Creek order.  I put a few seeds in the pot at the beginning of spring. I have no idea what this flower is doing with it’s life. The first sprouting turned out to be a cilantro plant. Not sure how that happened but it grew, gave us some nice flavor for a couple of meals and we let it go to seed. Now, there are two what I am hoping is actual echinacea plants growing. We will have to see how things turn out the next few weeks.

Take a look at our seed order from Baker Creek Seed Company:

Container Garden Planning for a Small Space

 

What failed

The biggest part of this journey that we are on is learning. I am reading, listening and watching others to learn the things that I believe will be most helpful to our family in the future. Failure is a part of learning. While failure can be disappointing, it is necessary for growth. These things are in the update because despite the fact that they did not work out the way that we thought, we are learning how to do it better. 

Growing Radish in pots

 

Radishes – These were the first things that we threw in a pot this spring. It took them longer that I thought to sprout and when we finally decided to pull them out the root was so much smaller than they should have been. I am not sure why. It is possible that they were too close together or that last little cold snap after our frost date stunted them. Whatever it may have been, it was underwhelming for our first planting. I do, however, plan to try again in the fall.

Spinach – We planted seeds directly into the spaces on our grow tower. Our spinach sprouted, grew a few small leaves and then proceeded to stop. It bolted and went straight to seed. We had zero harvest off of the plants. My gut tells me that it has to do with the weather going from not to HOT in no time at all. I 100% intend on giving it another go for the fall once the heat cools down.

This update is on the long side. I realize that. However, I just updated you on 20 different plants that we are growing or have grown while living in an apartment. Our space is limited and we are using containers to grow in. While we will not be completely replacing our need for the grocery store with what we grow now, we are accomplishing something else. We are experimenting, learning and in some instances we are failing. More importantly than all of those things, we are growing.

container garden, Gardening, Growing, Home, small space gardening

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