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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Container Garden Update

Hello all! We have had a couple of nights without making dinner. This has left me both scurrying to find a good lunch option and without a new dinner to post about. Thus, the container garden update by Ryan... container gardening tips and suggestions appreciated.

Let's start off with the peppers...

I have used the red hot cherry peppers in quesadillas and tacos so far. They add a great spice level for me without being too hot. Only one cherry pepper has grown per plant since I got it. Once I picked the first pepper another flower began to grow.

Can you find the Jalapeño below??? I only had one full size Jalapeño so far and this is the beginning of number two. The first one was the hottest Jalapeño I have had for some time! There are plenty of flowers growing and should have more hotties soon. ;)

Numex Twilight - very colorful & hot

Our first mini red bell pepper stayed green on the stem for nearly three weeks before turning over to the red side. Now the peppers seem to be growing and maturing faster since the heat has been turned up outside.

On to the herbs and veggies. We tried our hand at tomatoes and bambino eggplant this year. We ended up with two tomatoes(picked and consumed) and a handful of bambino eggplant(don't quite know the right time to pick-any suggestions?).

All of our herbs have done fairly well. We are in our third year of container gardening, but have not had too much time to formally study the subject. We just go by sight and suggestion at this point. So if you have any tips, belt 'em out!!!

Finally, here is the status of our herbs:

*Basil(Genovese, Green Gate, Magical Michael) - doing well and fulfilling most of our basil needs along with our crop share supply. We do not fertilize any of our plants, so the basil leaves grow about 1.5 to 2 inches at their largest. But we usually use pick the leaves at 1" since we use them fairly quickly. Mmmmm....bite size basil! We will most likely stick with the Green Gate and Genovese basil next year since they have the best flavor of the three varieties.

*Chamomile - our chamomile has not flowered yet and is not very large. We potted in a small area and I wonder if that may be part of the problem. Tips?

*Lavender - flowered early in the summer, but we haven’t seen any flowers since. Tips?

*Lemon Verbena - this plant always smells great and adds a good lemon flavor in tea. We tried to grow this plant indoors at our respective work environments and the plants died. The outdoor plant is doing very well with little maintenance. We also learned how to actually pronounce Verbena without a huge Northern accent.

*Oregano - growing moderately, but we haven't really used it much this summer.

*Papalo(similar to Cilantro) - this plant started out as a very scrawny two inches and four leavs, but has very much outpaced the rest of our plants in growth. Witness the craziness to the left... I think papalo has a mild flavor if used in moderation and makes a suitable replacement for cilantro. Crystal believes papalo is too strong and overtakes whatever it is incorporated with. The debate will continue, but most likely we will not buy this again next year. Who knows, it may live all winter long inside.

*Parsley(Italian & Curly) - started out strong, but has tapered off as of late. It hasn't regrown to the original size they were when we bought them.

*Peppermint - this stuff always grows well

*Rosemary - the Shady Acres variety has been great for cooking. Crystal just made some vegan rosemary biscuits on Sunday and they were great!

*Sage - growing well without a whole lost of attention, but hardly used. We have received plenty of sage for our culinary needs from our crop share, so I don't think we will buy a plant next year.

*Spearmint - same situation as the peppermint...grows well.

*Thyme - we have used thyme moderately this summer. I occasionally mix it with some other herbs in a bar b que sauce for basting.

Thanks for reading and have a good day!!!


  1. I'll answer any questions since this is what I do for a living.

    Things look really good considering that they are in pots. Y'all must be very mindful container gardeners!

    Things look really good, but expect a smaller yield and a later yield when growing in a pot.

    Plants like peppers and tomatoes don't really get kicking until it get's hot. I find that in the north, a frost will come before all my peppers and tomatoes are finished ripening.

    Pick eggplants when they are 1/3-2/3 their mature size or when the skin is shiny. If the skin is dull or the seeds are brown, the fruit is over mature.

    There are two kinds of commom chamomile.

    German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is an annual. It is tall and is the one to plant if you want to harvest flowers. It dies after it flowers, so leave old seed heads on so it will re-seed in your garden.

    Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)is a perennial. The Roman chamomile doesn't flower much, but makes lovely low patches of foliage. It likes cool summers, full sun, well drained soil, with lean soil.

    Don't beat yourself up over chamomile. In all the places I've worked in the US, I've never seen an impressive patch of chamomile. I'm suspecting it would love the North West, but I've never been there.

    Lavender flowers heavily the first time. Cut off the flower stalks and it will rebloom lightly

    Parsley is a biennial - meaning it grows foliage one year without flowering and the second year it will flower and die. If you're seeing flowers on your parsley, it's on it's way out. You can trim off the flowers to prolong it's life by fooling it into thinking it hasn't reproduced yet. That game will only last so long.

    Happy gardening!

  2. How about a spicay veggie lasagna?

  3. Great tips from Taylor!!

    I love all your peppers. If only I'd known . . . I could have expanded your tasting experience as a young child, Ryan!! Your find the jalepeno on the plant reminds me of your new tradition of who begins to open gifts at Christmas :)

    Dad is bumming because our tomato plant is just now getting its first tomato. But according to Taylor, I have faith that it is yet to come.

    My mini eggplant (as I call it) looks the same as yours. And I abolutely love my Genovese basil . . . nothing like Triscuits, cheese, tomato and a fresh piece of basil!!!

    Can't believe how big that Papalo has gotten in the last month. When I was over watering your plants it looked nothing like that.

    Thanks for the update on the garden pots. I can totally relate since I have several of my own, thanks to you two!!

    Love Always,


  4. wow, you 2 really have a green thumb!

  5. Great pics! Congrats on the success! We have a patch of natural spearmint in our backyard that pops up every year. We leave it there to make our yard smell nice. lol.


  6. I wish I had your talent (luck?) :) for container gardening. I've tried herbs so many times, but they always die (or get chewed to bits by my darling kitty cat.) I have given up, at least for the time being.

  7. taylor - Thanks for all the information! If you ever need help adding numbers...I can help!!!

    wheresmymind - with all these peppers, I will have to add a little least to half.

    mom - I will have the spring mix to you today! I still don't like dill and therefore you benefit. See some food tastes never change, but nearly all the rest of mine have!

    Thanks again for watering our plants while we were gone. During the hottest days of this summer too.

    vicki - I wish we could put the green thumb to use in a small veggie/pepper/herb garden in the ground, but for now the containers are great.

    harmonia - Having herbs around for the smell is the best part! If I am sitting out by the mint I will munch on a couple of leaves ;)

    catherine - You will have many years to start up another container garden. You could always plant catnip and see how that goes.

    Thanks for all the comments!

  8. Wow, great pictures! I especially love all the peppers. All I've got on my balcony right now is some basil and rosemary. I use them both quite a bit.

  9. those are a LOT of herbs. the plan next year is to make my first ever herb garden. all i really want is basil, cilantro and parsley b/c they're the ones i use most.

    how did you do it?


  10. This is a great documentation of your garden - it'll be a good reference when you start planting next year :)

    Gardens rock!

    :) Mikaela

  11. Your herbs look great! You guys have come so far since your first one! We will have to take another herb potting class so I can learn :) Hope you are having fun camping! (and staying dry!)

  12. What a nice garden. My hubby would be very jealous of all your peppers. We planted one jalapeno and one cayenne plant and both were duds. The cayenne never really produced and the jalapeno were milder than bell peppers!

  13. All of your plants seem to be thriving. Wonderful! I've never seen or heard of bambino eggplants, but they look very interesting. I'm very envious of your herbs. I may try growing some in pots on the balcony next year.

  14. Great stuff! And i looooooooooove peppers!!!

  15. What beautiful photos! I would love to do some container gardening but I'm so intimidated by it. It would be awesome to grow our own veggies.

    We did grow jalapenos one summer and they were so hot we couldn't eat them. My hubby had a tiny taste and was like dying for the rest of the night.

    But you totally inspired me with your crop share - we signed up for a twice-monthly delivery of organic produce! We start next week!



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