The most certain way to ensure that I will do something is to tell me it can’t be done. This is the first year since I moved into my downtown loft that I haven’t had to do extensive overnight travel, so I decided to expand my patio garden.
Last year I grew basil, tomatoes, red peppers and rosemary. The basil and rosemary worked out well, but the tomatoes had all sorts of issues. They would flower but never set. I read that they needed vibrations to set, (usually bees make this happen), so I would drag my chairs around the patio a few times a day. It worked, the tomatoes set. They would grow beautifully, then for some unknown reason half of the tomato would turn brown before they would ripen. One site said they were over-watered, so I tried watering them less, but more often. Nope. Another said it was some sort of fungus and I bought the recommended fungicide. Nope. So all season, I think I got 8 tomatoes. I made the best bruschetta with those 8 tomatoes and my basil, but it wasn’t really all I imagined it would be. The peppers produced a decent yield, but they were miniatures!
This year, thanks to some friends and family, I was gifted for Mother’s Day two floral planters and a lavender plant. I bought a few flats of pansies for the railing planters on my side patio. That did it for the flowers. Being the practical woman I am, I wanted useful plants, herbs and vegetables. Thanks to my boyfriend’s mom, I have a hanging basket with hundreds of cherry tomatoes that have seemed to set all by themselves and have none of the mysterious brown stuff, and a continuous producing lettuce planter with red leaf and romaine.
I filled two long planters with oregano, thyme, dill, rosemary, basil and sage. They are all thriving and now I am pinteresting ways to preserve them so I will have fresh herbs all winter! I planted red, yellow and green peppers and they seem to be coming in just fine. I also have three kinds of mint. Sweet mint, Chocolate mint and Lemon mint. No brainer, they thrive, no matter what! Great for my infuser pitcher, and a host of adult beverages.
So here’s where the challenge comes in. I love Sweet Onions, Brussel sprouts, Zucchini and Cucumbers. Everyone I asked said those wouldn’t work in a patio garden. So, I knew I had to find a way to make those work. Onions grown under ground, so I put the onions in a really tall, deep, planter and they are coming along nicely, although I think they might be a little crowded and I may have to sacrifice a few for the common good.
As for the cucumbers, first, I bought the plants that produce the mini cucumbers. I like them better anyway. The next challenge is cucumbers need to climb and they don’t seem to like metal at all, so I bought a wooden planter bench with a back and I put it next to a wooden shelf. I am pleased to report, my cucumbers are happily climbing and flowering and several flowers have sprouted cucumbers at the base already! After extended research, I found out that, like the onions, Brussel Sprouts, as long as they are in a deep planter, they will grow well in a planter because they have strong stalks and grow straight up. They are growing well so far, but no stalks yet, I think it’s too early for that.
The biggest challenge is the zucchini. They are also on the planter bench. They are growing like crazy, they have lots of blossoms that this week have begun to form the long squash. Problem is they are getting heavy and are starting to drop. Problem is, I can’t let them touch the ground. The cement will fry my poor little zucchini. So, I am now in search of a mat I can put on the patio that won’t get too hot. I know I will find a way! Just tell me it can’t be done, and I will be grilling those zucchini in no time.