Starting Vegetable and Flower Seeds in Big Pots

With attention and lots of watering, the seeds I started in larger pots are doing well.

After caring for my seedlings in eggshell pots for weeks, I decided to start some seeds in big pots. They won’t dry out as quickly and are able to stay outside overnight.

I gathered up pots of all sizes that had been lying around and cleaned them out. for drainage I used yard debris, which was a mix of oak leaves, catkins (those long brown things) and Spanish moss. That mixture was pushed into the bottom of each pot before adding dirt.

I’ve planted basil, dill, cherry tomatoes, marigolds and cosmos. I used freezer tape to label the pots with the date they were planted.

basil and other seedlings in pots

Growing Basil

Basil can be difficult to grow in Florida, or so I’ve heard. I had some basil plants in the garden that lasted a couple of years, but then they died. Basil does self-sow if you let seeds form. I now have two pots of basil.

The basil seedlings became so crowded that I removed some of the plants by cutting them off. You should cut and not pull when thinning so as not to disturb the roots.

I kept the cuttings to use when cooking! So far, everything looks good and I hope to have nice big basil plants to pull from year round.

basil grown from seeds
Basil one month later – end of May

Cosmos and Marigolds

I chose two types of flower packets to grow from seeds. Marigolds are so wonderful for gardens, because they repel certain bugs that could be destructive. They should be dead-headed (pull off the old flowers) and I rip the flower head apart and scatter it among the vegetables. Every gardener probably includes marigolds when planting. I think certain varieties are better than others, but I didn’t have a lot to choose from at the store.

I bought two flowering marigold plants – see the orange one below – and will see what happens with the seeds.

little cosmos flower blooming
Flowering cosmos in a grow box

The cosmos seedlings are looking pretty good. A little purple cosmos flower has bloomed in my grow box. That plant was begun in an eggshell pot.

This is certainly a different looking cosmos from what I am used to growing in New Hampshire. Or maybe the plant needs to mature to grow larger.

Actually, the secret is to plant seeds in real good dirt.

The cosmos in the larger pot is looking nice and blooming regularly

Growing Dill

I always grew dill in my northern garden, but have not had luck growing it here in Florida. I do have a few small seedlings in the grow boxes, and now have dill sprouting in this terra cotta pot.

Because I don’t have much luck growing dill, I have chosen to grow fennel. It is similar in that it also grows tall and feathery and has flowers that attract beneficial bugs. Also the Swallowtail butterfly will leave her eggs on fennel, just like parsley and dill.

Dill seeds sprouting in a pot
Dill seedlings

I needed up putting the dill into the potato garden and planted more dill seeds in a large pot.

Dill plant

Cherry Tomatoes

My cherry tomato seedlings were not doing much at first, but now in May they are large plants. I’ve transplanted them a few times and they have little tomatoes on the vine.

Plants by the end of May

Easily Grow Your Own Scallions From the Grocery Store

growing scallions
Grow scallions from the store

As I was chopping up my store-bought scallions, I noticed the little roots at the ends. I had read somewhere about growing produce from store-bought items, and decided to stick the ends of the scallions into my fabric pots filled with garden dirt.
Sure enough, a few days later I began to see growth! Now there are new shoots coming up and I will have scallions to cut soon to add to my cooking.

Some sort of animal was digging in the pot, but the onions seem to have come through it fine. I can’t wait to walk into my backyard and clip off scallions to add to my meals.

Pictures of My Small Backyard Garden

Pictures of my small, backyard garden space.

Although I have almost an acre of land, most of it is low-lying forest and wetlands.   My backyard is a narrow strip, with the sun hitting part of it only 6-7 hours a day.  I do my best, trying to plant crops in the space that gets the most sun.  It’s a challenge when I have to rotate plantings each year.  The photo below was taken last summer (2014).  That is pretty much my entire backyard. I plant flowers and vegetables along the edge of a slope, which drops off to woods beyond.  Only the part near my deck gets enough sun for good vegetable growth.  I concentrate my plantings there.

backyard garden
My Narrow Backyard

Photo Above: See my new propagated hydrangea there in the front?
I’ve added raised fabric beds to the area, which has been a great help.  Last fall I planted my garlic bulbs, and they are doing very well – better than any garlic I’ve ever attempted to grow.  I hope the bulbs will end up being nice and big.

summer garden zucchini
Zucchini and Garlic Growing in Fabric Pots

What begins as lots of space, quickly fills in when the plants grow and expand. The tomatoes grew great last year (picture below) right up until they all died of late blight! It was depressing.

tomato bushes
Full Tomato Bushes

blackberries
Blackberry ? or Black Raspberry Bushes

It’s a constant battle with the black raspberry plants (or are they blackberries?) that threaten to overrun the yard. They grow upwards from the slope, where I think they were purposely planted to hold the earth in place.  It’s one of the few berries I dislike.  It figures that I have tons of them!  They are eaten by the chipmunks and birds, when my cats are not around.

Raspberries grow at the side on my house, and I can find many wild strawberries in the yard.  The strawberries I planted have become overrun by weeds, and I didn’t have enough space for a proper strawberry field.  Occasionally I find a few nice ripe berries to munch while I survey my garden.  The sunflowers are volunteers that sprout wherever they choose.  The seeds self-plant from when I feed the birds in winter.

I sometimes wish I had acres of land to roam and plant, but I’m content with what I have. It takes a lot of time to garden, and especially when you do it all alone.

Lush Garden Foliage
Lush Garden Foliage

Vertical Bottle Gardening For Those With Limited Space

nasturtiums in glass pot
Nasturtiums in pot

If you love to grow fresh veggies but have little space or time to keep up with a garden, you might want to experiment with vertical bottle gardening.  The idea of this type of garden is to grow vegetables in recycled plastic bottles that hang or are propped over each other.  This takes minimal expense since pots don’t have to be purchased, and takes up little space since your crops grow over the tops of each other.

The video on this page shows how a man has set up his vertical bottle garden in the window of his high-rise home.  The writer of the Experiments With Mini Vertical Container Gardening page has created a stackable garden that sets on the ground.  She has so far been successful in growing lettuce and Swiss chard and she promises to keep us up to date with her future bottle growing endeavors.  She included lots of her own photos too.

Mini gardens are very popular with busy, working people as well as those of us who simply don’t have the space, or sunny area to make a regular garden.   The vertical gardens are watered from the top with water moving downward to keep all the bottom areas moist which saves time.  Weeding would be next to nothing and if your garden is inside, like the one in the video, you won’t have a bug problem either.

As for me, my gardening will be done out in the yard.  I’ll be working this May to get the soil ready for planting and I also plan to build a raised bed myself using cinderblocks.  More on that to come.  I still have a yard full of snow!

 

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