Friday, February 25, 2011

Vegetable Garden -- Take Two!!!

Some of you may remember that I planted a veggie garden last year. Most of it was an experiment of what I could and could not grow and in what types of containers. I will confess, it left me feeling like a failure, very crabby, and not wanting to do it again this year. All winter long, when I could have done the work WITHOUT the sweat, I stared disgustingly at the containers, happily growing weeds that grow so well in the Florida winter. Why is it that weeds have NO problems????? (As a side note, there is a series of about 100 or so videos on Utube by a guy who has made it his life long hobby of learning about weeds and what you can eat and how to prepare them. Search for “Eat the Weeds”. All I can think of, is ME, rooting along the ground like a possum, looking for something edible, and end up eating poison ivy or something!!!)

But as fate would have it, my brother, who lives in Maine, is really “into” the gardening thing. He is blessed to have a father in law who has shown him so much, and now it is my brother’s goal to grow enough of whatever grows there to sustain him through the year. And you know how it is, we always “preach” about what works for us. So. . . . . My brother had a pep rally with my sister, and talked her into growing what grows here in Florida and learning to like it. Somehow, I got in on this, and started cleaning out my pots.

As for our experiments of last year????? The $1.00 bags that you get at the grocery store, etc., worked fine as plant containers, but by the end of the season, they were done. Dry rotted. When you tried to move them, they fell apart. But they drained well, held enough dirt, were easy to keep weeds out of, and they did not collapse or cave in. The most sturdy and nicest looking were the dark green ones from JoAnns. The worst were the red and black ones from the Family Dollar Store. Worth the $1.00, but now I have to get something else.

The Styrofoam ice chests were fantastic, but don’t try to move them once filled with wet dirt and plants. They will break. Duct tape (You know, the stuff we all bought tons of after 9/11) worked well to hold the broken pots together, and are still there, waiting for my new plants. The tops served well as “saucers”. Talk about eye sores, though. But my green beans loved growing in them. I put a circle of wire fencing around the ice chests, and the beans grew and produced throughout the summer and fall. One success story.

I also purchased huge blue storage bins at Big Lots last year. MUCH cheaper than plant pots of the same size. Now I know why. The plastic became brittle and I can’t move them without them cracking. So they will just stay where they are for this year.

My favorite pots of all look like the old whiskey barrels. They are actually Styrofoam, light weight, but have been painted and look like stained wood with metal staves around them. I’ve had them now for about 8 years, and they are still in good shape.

So. . . . The gal who was NOT going to garden this year now has green onions, radishes, carrots, beets, peppers, green beans, yard long beans, pigeon peas, etc., planted in you-name-it buckets.

It’s a lot of hard work for Buster, though. But he loves it. Since he still has all his “childhood anxieties”, he will NOT go out the door without me with him. So this gives him long outings, chances to pee on every living thing, stick his nose in the holes I dig for planting, runs with dead root balls, etc. And yes, an occasional drink from the hose. He does know what “No peepee in the in the pots” means, but did NOT know that this also meant the little seedling trays. Yuk!!! They got a good watering!

I’ve learned I should stay away from Nurseries. Why is it that I never learn???? Just because there is a tiny, live plant in a tray at the Nursery does NOT mean it will grow into something edible in MY yard down the street!!!!!! But I still do it! And the only one who profits is the Nursery. Every one that I bought means another pot, more dirt, more fertilizer, more sweat, with the ending of , “See???? I told ya!” But here I am, dirty hands and feet, sweat and snot pouring off my face, nails forever ruined, but I did it. And that’s the whole heart of it --- that I could do it!


Simple "T" said...

WOW, I need to "root" around your blog to see if you posted your garden last year.

Styrofoam coolers, I have MANY in the garage. Now, do you bury them or are they sitting above ground? If above, do you do anything to make them more attractive? Well with white being all the rage, I guess they will fit in.

I was hoping to put my tiller to work but may not be. We still don't know if we will be able to water yet this year. We have had plenty of rain and the lakes are full but we have some awful dry summers. So pot gardening I can do.

Will you be posting photos? Would love to see.

Happy gardening.

Denise said...

Me too girl...... I cannot say no when it comes to little plants...... I am weak! I am going to grow another garden this year but raised beds....... we have such terrible soil that I need to build raised beds........ Not too big, just enough for some tomatoes and a few beggies...........

nancy huggins said...

Love your Garden story Cora..I even laughed when you said what Buster does :) You should have got 2 dogs and then they have someone to play with and keep them occupied.
You have inspired me to try some coolers..buckets...bags and whatever else I can find.
I will have to worry Bambi and his family getting into my garden but my friend told me what to do to keep them out so of course I will try it and post about it and I am still looking for 2 outside cats to keep other things away..I have a couple of months yet to get it all organized and Fred's son (LL) will be back to plow my garden spot again and fertalize it...such a nice family. His one son came over a few nights ago and fixed my computer and put virus protection on for me.
Hurry up over to my blog and get in on my guessing game :)

Lea said...

Cora where did ya find the lightweight version of whiskey barrels. I'm with you... love those whiskey barrels; but I've never broke down and bought a real one. But think I will this year coz I'm kinda learning that I like different heights in my garden!
Sounds like you gotta keep a watchful eye on ole Buster. haha I so know what ya mean. Francois will piddle on everything too. Even my laundry basket if I don't watch it.
You sure got my garden juices flowing with this post. Ohhh I can't wait til it's warm enough here. And like you, I can't say no to those little plants... and I always think "there's room for one more."
Have a wonderful day today dear girl!
Keep runnin the race!
Eagle wings!!
what are those peas you were talkin bout?

KathyB. said...

Well maybe this year is the year you will reap a grand harvest!One can always hope~I was wondering the same thing as Simple "T", are the coolers buried?

Debra said...

Cora-you made my day with the picture you painted of your face sweaty and snotty! Oh how I remember hot boiling days with my hands covered with muck, and face sweaty and calling all the gnats in the neighborhood to my lovely aroma...When I look out at our buried in snow yard, the gardens seem like a dream-but I know the heat will come back, and so, the beauty of GREEN!
Your post made me so anxious for it!
Love, Debra