From “real” gardening, to an urban container garden, and back again

(Disclosure: Some links on my blog are affiliate links to help keep the blog up and running. I will make a commission if you purchase something using one of those links, but it is at NO additional cost to you. Not every post will have affiliate links, and there is no pressure to buy. I only promote products I myself have tried and love.)

I love to garden, but moving to town made digging in the dirt a little difficult.

When I lived with my family, we built garden beds full of vegetables using scrap pieces from a lumber mill. (My family later built more solid, rot-resistant ones, but we originally just built with what our budget allowed.) We built additional beds for strawberries and herbs, then planted blueberries and asparagus nearby. Flowers are in their own beds, boxes and pots, and a small apple tree sits further up the hill.

We canned and froze and baked, preserving and eating all season long. I still love to visit, grab a basket or two, and head out to collect apples, sage and whatever else is ready to come in.

In college, I lucked into having a dorm room with a bright window and large ledge, so a friend and I put our plants, mostly flowers and herbs, there and watched them grow. We didn’t harvest much beyond pinching a few leaves off here and there, but we enjoyed it.

When I moved to my first apartment, I had a big back porch of which I quickly took advantage. Even though I later moved to the next floor up, I had no problem with running up and down the stairs to grow a small garden on the porch. I also put pots in my windows upstairs and on the front step. I grew okra, lettuce, spinach, kale, strawberries, blueberries, mint, lemonbalm, sage, thyme and many other plants.

Disaster struck a couple of times a few times when some died from lack of water while we were on vacation, and once when people our landlord hired to work on the place threw my pots out in the yard, where they died. The last time I put a really big garden out, I ended up having complications and activity restrictions from pregnancy and couldn’t get out to water my plants as much as necessary, so many died.

So I was excited when we moved to a small house with more land and our landlord said to plant away. I immediately made a 1.5-page trimmed down wish list, so I had to trim it much further to fit my budget! I still have seeds left over from the last year or two that I hope will still do well, so even though I might want three varieties of peas, I’m planting just one. (Right now, anyway. That could totally change.)

Now that I can have a “real” garden, I’m eager to plant things I found more difficult to do in a container garden (though I made just about everything work, from quinoa to dwarf popcorn!)

I sometimes order plants from Park Seed. They often have sale items and run promotions where you can get cheap shipping or discounted orders, and their products are GMO-free.

In addition to the seeds I’ve purchased from Park, I also bought a Sunshine Blue dwarf blueberry plant. They’re self-pollinating, so I only needed one and put it in a cheerful red planter from Walmart.

It’s a dwarf blueberry bush, but still produces lots of berries!

Unfortunately, it was one of the casualties when I was so sick while pregnant. I loved that little plant, and it was doing so well! I don’t want to put too many perennials in the ground since the house I’m living in is a rental. Not only may the landlord not want them there, but I want to be able to take them with me whenever we move, especially since fruit plants are generally more expensive than many other types. While I’d one day love to have several full-size fruit plants, I’m planning to plant a few dwarf varieties in large pots again this year. I’m eager to see how they do!

I typically get the bulk of my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. All of their seeds and bare roots are non-GMO, and they feature varieties from around the world. I’ve gotten everything from quinoa and dwarf popcorn to tomatoes and sweet peppers from them. Many of the seeds I’ve started this year are from them, and I have more ready to direct-sow soon, plus another order on the way!

What are you planting this year? Do you have a pot in the window, a container garden or a full-fledged backyard garden?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *