How does your garden grow?

The indoor garden that my family has slowly been developing began as a way to use the extra space on an old entertainment center that used to have our second TV. It began with the gift of a spider plant (that’s what my mom calls it) from my wonderful Aunt Kim in September of last year. There was also a stand that she bought with it for my mom, before her and the rest of my mom’s siblings returned to their scattering of the PNW between Medford and Moses Lake.

The other part of this little indoor garden is the ever-growing collection of succulents we seem to be inheriting from neighbors who can see this little garden from our window. “Oh here! We thought you might like this!” Thankfully my cat seems to have figured out without incident that cactus is synonymous with pain, so when we shoo her away from this little area of the living room she’ll waddle over to a sunny spot and roll over with the most defeated expression I’ve seen on a kitty. (That being said, my rescue Peaches has been adjusting quite well to life here – and she also smells a lot better to boot.)

Among my favorite pieces of greenery that we have in our house, is the bonsai my father got. Don’t ask me why. I really don’t know why I like it so much. I’ve liked it enough to look into if there’s a sakura bonsai I could get, just so I could have teeny tiny pink blooms once a year indoors. Cherry blossoms are one of my favorite thing. Just looking at the waterfront in springtime with all the blossoms gracing all the trees… can I just say, most relaxing walk ever? Wow I get distracted easily! Anyway. . .

Probably wonder, why does it even matter what’s being grown indoors in your house? Well it kind of does matter, it creates this little pocket of a peaceful oasis in an otherwise crazy world for me. The rest of the house is rather.. thrown together. It’s been like that for as long as I can remember and I cannot for the LIFE of me remember when we’ve ever had house plants that have survived more than a few weeks in the house before shriveling up, browning and dying. Maybe it was everyone’s New Years Resolution culminating on very similar things, or maybe it’s just the vaporizer we have that’s made the atmosphere much more livable. I have no bloody idea. So, I’ll just keep riding this green wave of pretty that I get to wake up to in the mornings until things change. 🙂

And now for a peek at the little garden I have going outside. A quick note about the radishes – I’ve noticed that being in a container, I lose leaves to slugs and yellowing, the latter a sign of over watering. I wish I could say that I’ve been drowning them, but that’s just been a result of the lovely unpredictable Oregon weather deciding to piss upon my patch of veggies. That poo head. Among my notes for next year are making little covers for the containers I’m using for the veggies & putting a bigger salt ring around that spot in the back. I’m probably going to build a small bench shelf to hold a few of the pots I’m going to get (with them inset in it.. or I’ll paint these ugly black pots), and have two sides built up for a raised garden bed for herbs. I think I’ve gotten as many radishes I could have out of the three.. four(?) plants I’ve harvested, about five big fist-sized radishes I’ve sliced up and split up among salads this last week and the freezer for stews.

Now what’s that? Are those buds? Is that… something like, eight of them? Oh my Talos, yes it is! This has been my biggest challenge so far and the plant I’ve been the most nervous about. Usually zucchini needs a much bigger space to grow and it wants to climb, but this type of zucchini was supposed to mature to be a smaller plant & root system. This picture is a few days old and right now I’m sitting outside looking at four the buds opening up beautifully and there’s two bees hovering around them. Can you tell I’m excited to have fresh zucchini?

All in all… garden therapy has really done what it’s supposed to do for me, I think. My grandpa would be proud of me to see what I’ve been growing and I can only hope that someday I’ll be able to build up a garden that might be possible to surpass his.

Next year (as it’s too late to do now, unless I build small greenhouse covers for the boxes and insulate them), I will have to build boxes on this little back plot that we have near my house. It’s depressing to have the only thing able to grow in that clay to be grass, but it’s just bad soil and there’s not much I can do about that which would look pretty. I also can’t dig very deep as there’s piping that holds electric wires for the neighborhood about a foot into the bed.

So if anyone has even waded through this post at all.. show me pictures of your garden! What do you have growing right now? What are some challenges you’ve had to deal with? I’d love to hear from you, so throw a comment on here! 🙂


Urban Garden

Sometimes we have to live with what we’re given. And in this case, it’s eking out tiny little islands of lush flowers and healthy vegetables in a sea of badly manicured grass

This began as a project my dad wanted to do, like every year. He begins with an idea and kinda goes off the deep end with it. This year it was to focus on his bird feeders. My project this year? Vegetables.

Now where I live, TECHNICALLY we aren’t supposed to plant vegetables. But reading through the Home Owners Association guidelines and talking to neighbors, everyone pretty much agrees that as long as they are in containers, you can grow whatever you want. So I started the long tedious process of getting starters, organic compost, and getting the back area tilled

Now the first part was in play – a few pots, and a set of seed starters. I wanted something relatively easy for my first haul from the miniature garden I was about to embark up on creating, so I chose things I knew I used frequently.

I started with a majority of zucchini and radish plants, and decided to get some basil growing as well. The Burpee starter (as seen [here]) ended up being a great choice for me because I was able to place it on top of my rat cage without a single issue, aside from needing to put an old ratty (hah, pun!) cooking sheet under it to keep the curious teeth of Annie from gnawing on the plastic. The seed pellets are relatively simple to figure out and after an initial soak in water, they puff up big enough for seeds to take root easily.

All in all, it was about four or five weeks that my plants spent in the miniature green house before they got transplanted outside finally. I’ll get into that in a bit.

Here’s a short progression of what it looked like while they were coming up

It was about this point that they moved outside. In hindsight and because I really didn’t know what I was doing, not a lot of plants survived. Out of eight each of my radishes and zucchini, I’ve only had one zucchini survive and four of my radishes. Here’s what I’ve worked so hard for….

Three months of hard work has culminated in this – my first bud opening up on my zucchini plant. I thought it was impossible to grow zucchini in a container, but I was proven wrong. In addition, that big honking radish is bigger than my fist. I sliced it up for the salad my family had tonight, and I venture it’ll be another month or less before the zucchini will be ready. And on that day, zucchini bread shall be made!