Since I have decided to embrace spring and such, I figured I may as well finally put some plants out on my patio, as I’ve been thinking of doing since I moved in. This is a bit of an adventure, as I don’t really know much about gardening and most houseplants I have tend to die pretty quickly. Some perish at the whim of Flannery the Cat (who, most recently, annihilated an entire aloe plant) while others simply just start to turn brown or lose their foliage for no reason. I am convinced I have a black thumb.
So, obviously, I’m a little nervous about the fate of my new plants — but at least if they’re on the patio they will be safe from the reach of feline claws. Now all I have to worry about is not over- or under-watering them, not burning them up with too much sun or shading them too much, and ensuring the holes I drilled in my new pot are providing adequate drainage. Uh, so, no biggie. I’m sure they’ll be, um, fine.
Anyway! Today I bought a few different annuals (gerbera daisies, marigolds, and moss rose) and put them all together in one big pot. I figure since they’re annuals anyway, it’s not exactly a long term committment, you know? I mean, I’m wary. I’ve been burned before. I thought my Rosemary bush was here to stay, but it started dying from the roots up shortly after the new year. What a disappointing surprise, when I thought it was going so well!
My new flowers, on the other hand, are bright and pretty and make my patio a little happier, but if they don’t work out I can try something else in the same spot.
I also bought a basil plant — I haven’t had one of these around in a while, and I really loved it last time. It’s so wonderful to have fresh basil (my favorite herb) that I grew myself, ready to use in salads and pesto and such. Plus it smells amazing. If this all goes well I am looking into getting some dill, too.
All of these plants and this pleasant weather are making me feel like sitting out on the patio drinking beer and reading good books and forgetting my other obligations. It turns out it’s a pretty nice place to watch the sunset, actually. Maybe not as glamorous as the hotel balcony in Florida, but this sunset-watching spot has the distinct advantage of the fact that it is attached to my home. It seems like spring is off to a good start around here — I hope it stays that way!
If you have any container gardening tips, hit me with ’em!
I am pretty much BEYOND EXCITED about your container garden. I LOVE container gardening. At this point, though, my back porch looks kind of crazy. I understand the cat/plant drama all too well — Gertrude ate my African violets a few years back, and it was terrible. That’s when I started making terrariums!
I still want to try making a terrarium some time. Next on my list for the moment, though: some more herbs (like dill, maybe cilantro?) and maybe another pot of flowers. I’m going to wait and see how these fare for a while first!
There are a few tricks to successful container gardening. The first is you need to use a special soil formulated for container plants. Second, you have to be religious about watering. The plants have to stay moist, but not soaking. Also, the more you water, the more you wash out nutrients through the bottom of the pot (you did put a hole in the bottom of the pot, right?). So the plants will need supplemental nutrients – look for potted plant fertilizer. Sometimes you can find flowering plant-specific fertilizer, etc. Fertilize according to directions or at least every two weeks. You may also want to have a humidity gauge in the pot which can help with watering cycles. To preserve moisture, you can mix the potting soil with vermiculite. You can also apply some “mulch” on top of the soil like shredded bark or even shredded newspaper if you’re on a budget.
If you need any other advice, you can feel free to email me (I think you’ve got my mail).
Good luck! Why not try a cherry tomato plant or two? They do wonderful on balconies…
Thanks so much for the tips! I’m not sure if the soil I had was specifically for containers or not, but I’ll make sure to check when I buy my next bag. And yes, I did drill holes in the bottom of the new pot! That was fun, actually. I noticed when I bought it that it didn’t have any holes, and I just thought, “AHA! An excuse to play with my power drill!”(Okay, my fingers typed “play with manpower drill” the first time. Freudian slip?!)
Cherry tomatoes are also a great idea! If I see any I might try that out too. I use them all the time, so growing my own would be fantastic.