The gardening season got off to a slow start this year. After a very warm and dry April, May was cooler and wet. This caused a slight delay in getting my plants into the ground for the season. I did plant my earth boxes just a few days later than normal – the week after Mother’s Day as opposed to Mother’s Day weekend. So far we have had a nearly three-month spring (VERY long for this area), but I think summer may have broken through this week.
Things have moved along rapidly, however, and all signs point to a productive tomato, bean and cucumber season. The jury is out on the peppers as you will see below.
I once again used my hanging basket hack on the patio. It makes life soooo easy!
The patio has a lot of flowers in baskets, some hens, and chicks (I will transplant them to the ground at the end of the season), and even a fake plant that looks so very real (see above). It is amazing how far they have come with faux plants. There was no way to give a real plant sunshine under the awning, so faux it is!
I was reading a local garden newsletter last week, and blackberries are supposed to be back this year. Last year’s blackberry crop was nonexistent, and what did produce was extremely bitter. I will say my blackberry bushes do look fabulous right now, so I am hopeful! I miss the large blackberry production in my own backyard.
Oh my poor, poor peppers. This year I planted 12 pepper plants, various types. Six went into an earth-box knock off from Home Depot (they were cheap so Hubby bought me two to try), and six went into the ground. In spite of seeing that small bud, I have zero hopes for these plants.
The peppers inside the city pickers seem burned. The green peppers in the ground were a rabbit smorgasbord. We have had a ton of rabbits this year (multiplying like bunnies I guess) and Max just seems to want to coexist with them instead of chasing them out of the yard. However, the rabbits have been scarce this past week and I noticed a few large birds in the area (although no owls), so the rabbits may be laying low… or have become a hasenpfeffer dinner for those large birds (that look suspiciously like some type of hawk).
I planted some scallions next to the chives per Hubby’s request. This is my first time planting an onion in this backyard, so we shall see how it goes.
The earth boxes have cucumbers (although only a few after last year’s cucumber invasion) and green and yellow breans. Hubby and I love beans and eat them raw, make oven roasted parmesan green beans, blanch and freeze them, and if we have enough, can green beans.
The second city pickers box has roma tomatoes. I planted two in the ground, and two in the city pickers box to see what would happen. So far the ground tomatoes look terrible, and the city pickers box roma tomatoes are thriving. We shall see how the season progresses and if tomato blight is finally done with New York State.
In addition to the roma tomatoes (planted specifically for freezing tomatoes later), we have a patio tomato plant. We make cucumber caprese salad all summer long, so these, and a reasonable amount of cucumbers, will be used as they ripen.
The corners of the yard have been rock-based for years. We had three evergreen shrubs on the left side corner, and the evergreen bush on the far left side (of that left side) has been replaced three times. It died (again) so I decided to give up and just live with two shrubs. But that meant we had a “hole”.
Hubby and I laid more river rock to fill in the (real) hole left behind by removing the shrub. Hubby then moved the birdbath over from the right side rock area. That left nothing in the right corner though! (We had never had plants on the right side as it is much shadier there.) Hubby mentioned he has an old, seasoned wheelbarrow at one of his properties, so we picked it up, placed some cement blocks inside that old wheelbarrow for height, and then bought two hanging baskets and placed them inside!
I love how it turned out.
Hubby suggested we go with light colored flowers in the corner as it is very dark there surrounded by the arborvitae. I could not disagree, so bought white petunias with a touch of light purple flowers to match all the other purple plants on the patio.
I still have a little more to do before we have the backyard “party ready.” I purchased a few solar lights including a few of these butterfly hanging light (wow have those come a long way!) and would like a few more plus some solar light strings for around the patio awning.
How is your garden growing this spring!
● Disclosure: the links in this post may be affiliate links.
● For more Gardening posts on Ann’s Entitled Life, click here.
● If you enjoyed this post, be sure to sign up for the Ann’s Entitled Life weekly newsletter, and never miss another article!
Stephanie Knapp says
Very pretty! I love the wheelbarrow, so cute!
Thanks Stephanie! How is your gardening going?
Stephanie Knapp says
Well, after deciding we would never have a garden again and turning the space back into (mismatched) grass, my husband decided that he missed having a garden and dug up all but one of my rosebushes (he said they weren’t that pretty anyway) and planted a miniature garden in the raised beds along the edge of our fence. 😀 I’m too amused to be bother by the weirdness of it all. We have lovely 3×3 sections of spinach, beets, peas, and green beans with three tiny little blueberry bushes between each section and a thornless blackberry bush on the end (we got that a few years ago, thanks to your recommendation). This arrangement wasn’t quite enough for him, so he made another raised bed along the back of the fence (that’s what we did for our 19th anniversary, haul rocks from my father-in-law’s house and build a little wall for the raised bed). In the new one he planted potatoes, cucumbers, and I can’t remember what else. We’re eating the spinach at least every few days, the beets look like they’re coming along, and the peas and green beans seem to be on target too. Like you, I believe that we’ll have a good yield from the blackberry bush this year (although we got tons last year too, we still have one jar left of the seedless jam I made!) He also planted sage and basil in pots for me near the back door, but they’re not big enough to use yet. The only “pretty” we did was plant some gladiola bulbs that my mother-in-law shared from her collection; I haven’t had much luck with flowers, so I hope they will bloom nicely.
Wow. And I mean wow. It sounds like you will have enough produce to last you all summer, and most of the winter (if you can or freeze).
We are talking about getting rid of the succulents on the island. I could plant a ton there. The problem is the rabbits could eat a ton there too. It will not happen until the fall though (and will not happen at all if we move).
Hubby is planting food plots up on the hunting land. The tractor (ish) is hooked up and ready to plow next week. I hope he harvests some apples and pears this year. It is such a waste to let the deer have them, and not make use of the crop ourselves.
Ann, I see you have some of those City Pickers from Home Depot. I have 4 of them but only one of them is planted … with tomatoes that are doing great. Had a few strawberry plants in with the tomatoes but all but one of them died. Decided to not yet put the bean, zuchini, parsley, lettuce, etc., seeds in just yet since here in Cottonwood, AZ there is a heat warning right now …. Tuesday is supposed to get to 114 degrees, too hot for me. Even though it’s a “dry heat”, it’s still too hot for me. I found some seeds online that I am familiar with from when I still lived in Germany … they are called lamb’s lettuce or corn lettuce and I plan to order them with the hope that lettuce will grow for me. Won’t even think about planting those seeds til it gets a LOT cooler since it’s a fall/winter lettuce. I mixed some sand and granular fertilizer in with the dirt as I heard the lamb’s lettuce grows best with some sand mixed with the dirt. My little 6 month old Pomeranian puppy thought she had found the world’s biggest sandbox when I let her out on the patio where I have the City Pickers. She got into the middle of one of them and was throwing dirt all over the place; thank heavens there were no seeds planted yet. I’ve now put plastic fencing around those containers. What is it that you have rigged up across the top of your City Pickers? I put a tomato cage in one of mine to hold up the large tomato plants. By the way, is that pretty little white dog yours and what kind is he/she? I tried to send you a regular email but about half way through, my computer froze up every time, so decided to write this way.
Same here, Ursula – the tomatoes are doing great in the city pickers. My pepper plants almost all died in the other city pickers box. If all that grows well in those is tomatoes, I’ll take it! I stuck a tomato cage in there. The other boxes are earth boxes, and that is an extra set-up where I weave the string so the plants can climb.
That is hilarious about your puppy! My pooch, Max, is a Coton de Tulear.
Ursula Jourdan says
I spoke too soon when I said my tomatoes were doing great in the City Pickers planters…. they developed curled leaves and so far not too many tomatoes, although the plants are real big, over the top of the tomato cages. One nursery person said it looks like I’m overwatering. The other person said it could be a virus that is spread by the beet leafhopper, which is something apparently popular here in Arizona. So who knows what it is. Whatever it is, it is frustrating.
I am surprised you can over-water in Arizona, Ursula! I have a patio pot that has yellow leaves – at first I thought it was blight (since it is so common up here), then I thought it was over-watering (because it rained so much in June), and now I can’t help but wonder if it is pot-bound. I picked it up cheap at a garden center, so I didn’t do the planting… but you’d think a garden center would do a marvelous job, no?
I hope your tomato plants perk up and yield a huge harvest!
Ursula Jourdan says
Arizona just started its Monsoon Season, meaning lots of storms and most likely rain, but I do think in City Pickers containers it would be possible to overwater if you fill the bottom and then also water from the top. I took some of the curled leaves to our huge nursery near here and they said it is a virus caused by the beet leafhopper (I think that’s the name of the bug) and once the plants get the virus you have to pull all of them out or the virus will get into all your other plants. So now I have to pull out all my big tomato plants some of which already have a few tomatoes on them, and the nursery gave me some free plants to replace them with. The ones they gave me are real big and most of them have tomatoes already, so it will be a big job to do all of this. Also, I learned that in the City Pickers you should only use Potting “Mix” and no Potting Soil, which is what I had used … and I’m not about to empty out the 3 other City Pickers containers to change the soil … but I bought one additional City Picker and will use Potting “Mix” in that one. Have not even tried to plant anything else yet due to this 104 degree heat … and now with the little bit of rain, it is hot AND humid…ugh.
That was nice of the nursery yo give you different plants, Ursula. I use Miracle Grow potting mix in all my boxes. I don’t think I could move a box with potting soil – it would be too heavy.
My city picker boxes are meh compared to the earth boxes. The tomatoes are crazy in the city pickers!! I mean – always=grow-tomatoes-in-them crazy. The peppers? 4 of the 6 plants died and I will be lucky to harvest 3 peppers.
In my earth boxes, the cucumbers finally started to grow. YAY! My banana peppers are doing very well, but my beans are not going to yield enough to freeze (like we did last year), just enough to have with dinner 6-7 times.