Monday, April 27, 2015

How I Bring Myself Joy: Container Gardening

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know very well that I love gardening. I decided to do a regular video series on Youtube updating you all on the progress (and adventure) of my container garden. Ideally, one day it will look like a lush rooftop garden like the kind you see in design magazines. The perfect example of what I mean is below:

I have only a 14 x 14 foot concrete patio as my very own yard. For this space, I am required to garden solely in containers. It is all concrete, and nothing else. I am in Zone 6b, so we get freezing winters, scorching late July-August, and the rest of the year is great! The concrete also heats up REALLY hot in the Summertime, a good 30 degrees or so warmer than the regular air temperature. So when it's 95°F here, my patio can radiate above 120°F. 

Last year, I learned a lot with my garden. If the plant is going to be there all summer, it must be a heat lover, and I must water it regularly. Last year I only had a few plants survive these harsh conditions. This year I've researched a lot and am very excited! People say container gardening is not easy, but I'm one of the many that begs to differ. With only containers you're rarely needing to weed, you get a lot fewer pests, and you can move your plants around if the weather sucks where you put them originally. You can also bring them inside if you get a random hard freeze when you're not supposed to have one.

Let's take a look at what I've done so far. 

Cool Weather Garden

From March to now, I've done a cool weather garden. Radishes, kale, spinach, romaine and butter crunch lettuce, and swiss chard. They are all new to my gardening repertoire.  I'm a huge success at lettuces. Spinach was an utter failure, it bolted (which is very bad for the taste of leaves) almost immediately when we had our super warm Spring days. Swiss chard is supposed to be fool proof, but mine keeps getting attacked by leaf miners (a bug that ruins the leaves which are the whole point of growing this plant), so I've got to pull them all up and start all over. The kale doesn't appear to be doing much but growing SO slowly, and the radishes seem ok. Just slow. It's all slow.

Summer Garden

VEGGIES, veggies, and more veggies. I also try to get a lot of perennial plants, for decoration, to avoid having to repurchase plants every year. So far, the perennials I bought last year have survived. We live in the Intermountain West, and our winters get very cold and snowy.  A lot of websites say that perennial plants don't survive harsh winters if they're container-planted. Several container gardeners I've fond online beg to differ, so I gave it a shot. I don't know if it was the incredibly mild winter that helped them survive, or if the fenced-in concrete helped it stay warmer, but I'm happy they did. 

Here's what survived the winter:

+ Floribunda Showbiz Rose - super bright red blooms
+ Nelly Moser Clematis - the climbing one with the giant pink blooms at the beginning of the video below
+ Purple Salvia - a bee magnet, you need bees for fruiting plants
+ Allstar Strawberry Plant - the June-bearing plant covered in pink blooms in the video

This year I've purchased several plants that I've listed below by category.


3 ever-bearing strawberries - Quinalt and Ozark Beauty
1 Wallflower
1 Mini Rose
1 Shrub Rose
1 Baby Lilac cutting
1 Rosemary plant
1 Lemon Thyme plant
1 Sweet Mint Plant
1 Bee Balm
Japanese Maple (tree)


2 Black Beauty Zucchini plants
1 Bonnie Original Tomato plant
1 Husky Cherry Red Tomato plant
1 Orange Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Hot Banana Pepper
1 Mucho Nacho Jalapeno Pepper
6 spinach seedlings
6 kale seedlings
6 Swiss Chard Bright Lights Seedlings
6 Buttercrunch Lettuce Seedlings
6 Romaine Lettuce Seedlings

Seeds Purchased

Radish seeds
Kale seeds
Carrot seeds (bought last year)
Okra seeds (bought last year)
Fordhook Giant Swiss Chard seeds
Catnip seeds (bought last year)
Basil seeds (bought last year)
Cilantro seeds  (bought last year)
+ More to come

Check out the video below to see all of my plants and how they're doing so far. 

++ Do you garden? Do you want to? Please comment below!
If you have a garden, please share your pictures or video with me. I LOVE seeing what people are doing. I spend the majority of my online surfing time scouring gardening sites or garden boards on Pinterest.

Join the conversation!

  1. This is such a great way to bring plants into a small space. When my husband and I move, I'm planning to do a lot of container gardening too! I think it looks great, plus it's more manageable!

    1. Thanks so much! Yeah, it's pretty easy, easier than I thought. Someday maybe the plants will be large enough to cool down my patio, and make it look jungle-like, but until then I'll just keep trying new things until I find what works. Plus, homegrown tomatoes, strawberries, and peppers taste SO GOOD compared to the store-bought produce picked too early. The strawberries are so sweet they're like candy.

  2. The timing if this post is so perfect! I have a small space that I want to start filling like this. Great resource. Pinned!

    1. You should check out my Home: Yard and Garden Pinterest board. You'll love it. It's got soooo much small space gardening stuff.


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