Sunday, September 18, 2011

Container Garden Update

My tomatoes are finally ripening! 

As I wrote up my last container garden update, I realized I wasn't quite ready to give up gardening for the year. I've enjoyed watching things grow and, even more than that, I have loved eating my uber fresh carrots, spinach, tomatoes, lettuce and herbs.  It's been fun to experiment with container gardening and learn that I can grow food on my balcony!  So, given that I wasn't quite ready to let go, I decided to take things a step further and plant a little fall garden.

Around the 20th of August, I cleaned out two more stainless steel storage tubs (that hadn't been doing much of anything) and planted them with carrots, beets, swiss chard, spinach and two types of lettuce.  And, unlike my previous plantings, I mixed the items within each tub in the style of square foot gardening.  Square foot gardens are planted quite intensively and I thought this method would work will on my balcony as you don't need wide spaces between plantings in containers (although I did use mini rows).

My two newly planted tubs (the third tub, at
the back, contains carrots I planted in May).

Two Weeks after planting - the spinach and lettuce are speedy!

Four weeks after planting - spinach in front,
chard or beets in the middle (I'm not sure
which) and carrots at the back.

I have also planted a pot with just lettuce and spinach and, now that my first planting of carrots has been eaten, I plan to reseed that container as well.  I've tried to space my plantings in order to have plenty of lettuce and spinach available throughout the fall.  My first batch should be ready in the next week or two and, if I have planned things right, I think I will have enough for a salad a day for the next 3 months. Vancouver Island has a temperate climate and my container garden should keep growing until some time in December.

A few late summer finds have also allowed me to create a sweet little eating area on my balcony.  I found this table and chair set on sale, marked down from $200 to $70!

And, with the addition of two candle sconces I snagged off of the "freecycle" table in my buidling and the gift of a plant, my balcony garden has become a balcony cafe.

Table for two, anyone?

My very happy impatiens, loving
the cool of late summer.

By the end of September, I am hoping to have my final tub of veggies planted and my geraniums replaced with hardy fall flowers.  I'm looking forward to seeing what my second planting season yields!

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