Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Small Space Veggie Recap

Way back in May, I planted a mini-veggie garden in a hanging basket and herbs in containers. I was into small space gardening at the time and those containers were the space I had.
I have vegetable garden envy with William's beautiful garden. I know he blogged how disappointed he was with the production but it was still a work of art in my mind. (He's a perfectionist!)
I planted a Cherry tomato, leaf lettuce and onions in the hanging basket. The lettuce turned out great as it was cool and kind of shady where my garden hung. I used the leaves for sandwiches & a few salads. I just stepped out my patio door & clipped the leaves. The lettuce grew back a few times until the heat of June became too much for it. It was very easy & convenient.
The tomatoes & onions were more challenging. In June, the temperatures were up & down. That is hard on heat loving vegetables like onions & tomatoes. That patio did not get a sun until about 2PM but it was intense afternoon sun. I thought the PM sun, reflective heat off the cement & small container would equal out the shorter duration of sun. My experiment had not panned out as I had hoped. The tomato plant was just not very fruitful. I fertilized, watered & also trimmed off extra foliage to help produce more fruit. I got few tomatoes but they were very tasty. I was glad of that. The onions were OK as green onions. I had not expected them to grow too large as there was not much space.
The herbs fared much better. I planted Rosemary, Italian Parsley, Basil and Chives. Even though these are herbs that do well in the sun, they grew well on the patio. I think foliage plants do not need as much sun as fruit producing plants need. Well, Duh?
I think it was a good experiment. I was entertained most of the summer and enjoyed the
Cherry Tomatoes as they ripened. I went to the local farmer's market to feed my tomato addiction.
That was always a fun excursion. There is nothing like vine ripened tomatoes and Summer is not the same without them.
I agree with William about the trials & tribulations of vegetable gardening. We gardeners have good years & not so good years. We work with whatever space we have available.
Whatever your success or failure was, try again next year.
That's the fun of it!

Take care,
PS The photo is from Mid-July

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Senior Gardening Day

Many of you may know that I am the store director of Portland Nursery on Division St.
Every year we have a Senior Gardening Day. Hundreds of senior citizens from all over are bused in and many that do not live in assisted living homes come in as well. It is a day filled with laughter, music, food and fun. For many, it is the only time a year that they get out. Seniors tend to get a bad wrap in our society. Many think that all of them are crotchety and mean. If that is true…there is no sign of it on this day at our store. Smiles are as ubiquitous as sand at the beach. There is dancing and conversation and remembering more youthful times in their gardens. It is very heart warming to be a part of as it both honors me and humbles me at the same time.
As everything in my life makes me reflect on nature, I couldn’t help thinking this year during the festivities how very connected to nature each one of us are, whether we realize it or not. For the people that live a long time life must be much like an oak tree. It starts out so small but as time passes, such strength and stamina abound and before you know it there is a behemoth tree in front of you that certainly will eventually pass on but for this moment in time, withstands everything that life can throw at it.
It is always with excitement that I listen to someone’s tale of their youth, what vegetables they used to plant or ‘wicked’ little tales of fruits stolen from some neighbor’s yard, only to become sick on the bounty from eating too many or ones that were not ripe enough.
Yes, we humans and our gardens are inexorably tied together, for better or worse.
If you have parents or grandparents still around you, ask them about some tales from their youth. Plant those seeds so that you can, in turn tell your tales eventually. Or perhaps donate a bit of your time to work in an assisted living home. They will appreciate it completely and what you grow will be as beautiful as anything nature has to offer.
Whatever you do, do it with the vigor of nature, because even a lifetime can go by too quickly…
Happy Gardening,

Sunday, September 6, 2009


I was very disappointed with my vegetable garden this year. After a harrowing winter...spring and summer were not all that much kinder. As I walked thought my veggie garden today I was so frustrated. Powdery mildew, poor quality tomatoes, cucumbers and squash, peppers? I shouldn't even planted them this year!
As I was whining in my own mind about the dismal display in front of me, I was ok, as I knew that none of this was my fault. I can not control nature and nature was the major component of my less than admirable veggie garden.
And all of a sudden I thought, "I have done this for decades...I know it's nothing to do with my abilities" However, this year saw so many new gardeners trying their hand at home veggie gardens. And I have heard so many complaints about the lack of success with people's veggie garden this year. So I thought, I should blog about this and encourage people to not give up!
There are simply going to be years when veggie and other gardening attempts will not do well. It's just life. But when everything comes together...on those years...watch out. Because the success will go directly to your head. But then we have a year like this and everything comes into balance again. Nothing brings balance to us humans like Mother nature.
So if your gardens have been less than you expected...do not lose hope. It happens to the best of us!
Happy Gardening,