Monday, March 22, 2010

Mrs. Green Jeans

Well, I am about to embark on my container gardening experiement.  I've grown herbs, tomatoes, peppers and such in other places we've lived so this isn't my first time getting my hands in the dirt!  Here, we live on a canal and wildlife is plentiful however.  My dog was chasing down an otter last week and I was screaming like a lunatic trying to get her inside the lanai.  I've always read that otter are one little critter you don't want to mess with.  Mind you this was no small otter either.  I'd say he was a good 25-30 pounder...bigger than my neighbor's annoying Schnauzer.  Hmm...if that otter is hungry enough you think he'd....nahhhhh. 

The other problem (which isn't a problem at all except for gardening) I have is the marsh birds.  I love seeing them but I doubt I get many tomatoes or peppers if they could get to the plants.  The solution is to grow everything in pots in the lanai...which gets MORE than adequate sun...except for today of course!  I had planned to pot everything today but it's down right yucky outside.  Maybe the sun will come out and chase the rain away this afternoon. 

I'm fairly certain the herbs with do okay in pots and I bought two varieties of tomato plants that are recommended for container gardening because they don't attain the height of some other varietites.  The ones I planted at our old house in Jacksonville were so huge, they towered over my head by a foot when they'd reached their peak.  I thought I never was going to stop picking tomatoes from FOUR plants.  The same was true for my peppers...8 plants and we had banana peppers coming out our ears.  I think we got a total of 3 or 4 bushels off those 8 plants.  They flowered and bore fruit 3 times! 

I've broadened my gardening horizons this time.  I always plant the herbs I use most frequently which are basil, flat leaf parsley, oregano, thyme, cilantro, rosemary, sage and lavender just becuase I love to dry it and put it in sachets or just have it in containers sitting around the house for the pleasant aroma.  I may try growing my own Stevia this time and see if I can figure out how to actually USE it in leaf form.  Oops, just realized I forgot to get one of my fave'  It's back to the garden center for me!

For vegetables, I've chosen two varieties of tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, three types of artisanal lettuces (butter crunch, red varigated leaf and a dwarf romaine), white eggplant, yellow summer squash and heirloom spinach (the huge, very dark curley leaves).  I LOVE that type of spinach and you can never find it in the markets.  In Orlando, I used to get it from a Hydroponic grower and it was amazing.  I don't generally prefer hydroponically grown veggies but that stuff was addiciting. 

The rain has started again so it does not look like I'll be potting my garden this morning.  There are still a couple of things I'd like to try growing but if I don't find plants (and they must be from organic seed) then I'll order some from Johnny's Seed Cataloge and raise them myself.  I'm still wanting some Collard Greens and Lacanato Kale and I wouldn't mind red Chard either.  We'll see what I can find.

One word of caution if you plan on doing any container gardening.  If you're going to buy organic seeds or plants...don't neglect to buy organic potting soil.  If you buy regular, pre fertilized potting may be getting junk that you don't want.  I know it's gross too but honestly, buy a sack of that "denatured" manure and fertilize with a little of that from time to time.  Ok...this might be one of the few times in your entire life you can say "Yes, I'll take a Sack of *&#@ please!"  LOLOL  Told you my mind goes into strange places!

Anyway...I have no pictures to post at this time thanks to the rain!  Maybe tomorrow once I've gotten everything potted/planted. 

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Fort Myers, Florida, United States