"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow

Lest you think nothing will grow in Wyoming (which is nearly true for the part of Wyoming we live in, at 7,175 ft. elevation) I thought I would show you what my own tiny garden looks like. Just to give you a little perspective, our lilacs around town are in full bloom - in the middle of July. When I was a kid in Nebraska, my Grandma's lilacs were in full bloom at Easter.

These are my poppies. I love poppies. I wish I had somewhere to plant them in the ground, because they will spread and come back every year. They are one hardy plant that a lot of people around here grow. But, we don't own our house, and every prospective place to plant is filled in with rock, so all my gardening is done in containers. The poppies live in an old milking container from our family dairy farm in Nebraska. I always wanted to put flowers in it, but this is the first year I've gotten around to doing it.

Most of my other plants are in containers I have picked up at yard sales. I can't make myself pay $10-$20 for a large container from Walmart, so I stick with yard sales and have found quite a fun assortment. The blue pot above with the pink geraniums is one of my favorite color combinations. I can't believe how well the geraniums have done.

This teapot is a container my 18 year old daughter had to have. It is the only store bought container we have (unless you count the $1 tins from Target that the petunias are in). She said it will match her future kitchen, so we bought it on clearance at Walmart because it has a chip in the bottom section. We planted a red geranium in it at the same time we planted the pink one, but my daughter wanted to keep the pot inside. The geranium didn't do well there, so we moved it outside, and it has yet to bloom. I do see that it finally has a cluster of flowers that should open in the next week though.

The only thing I've had die is a pot of beautiful, large pansies. They were so pretty, and then they just started turning yellow and eventually brown. I'm not sure if they didn't like all the water I was dowsing them with or if they needed more shade. Either way, I picked up the orange "Astra African Daisies" to plant into the striped pot. I need to get that done today :)

On my front porch area I have red petunias and purple petunias (along with the teapot and striped pot). I have been amazed at how well the petunias have done. They are at least a foot tall, and they are planted in tiny little tins I picked up at Target. I've counted more than 15 blooms per plant at one time or another. There haven't been as many dead heads as I have expected either. These blooms seem to last a lot longer than the petunias I remember from when my Mom had beautiful flower gardens. (I'm sure it's due to the breeding of the plants rather than skill, because my Mom has always been able to grow anything beautifully.)

Here are the purple petunias - such a rich, deep color. The camera doesn't do it justice.

This is what my porch looks like from my front door. The brick ledge is about 2 feet tall from our porch side, and about 4 or 4.5 feet tall from the other side where the rocks are. Disregard the tire in the photo. We had to use it to push a dead vehicle into a garage with our four wheeler, and it just hasn't been moved yet. I briefly ... very briefly ... considered planting flowers in it, but I decided that was definitely too tacky and very redneck. So the tire will be leaving very soon.

These petunias are in my back yard in a very large pot - maybe 7-10 gallons or so. I only put six plants in this pot, all squished together at the front edge of the pot, then planted morning glory seeds to the back side of the pot. We had a freeze right after I planted the morning glories, so once I saw that they weren't going to grow, I re-seeded. But they've been very slow to come up. Not sure we'll get morning glories at all this year. We'll see. I have been amazed by the petunias though. The picture above was taken on July 6.

This is what the petunias look like today - 9 days later! Can you believe it? The morning glory plants are a good 2 inches tall now, so I'll give them a chance. I had no idea the petunias would spread like they did, so the morning glories may be out of luck. It seems like they kind of grow like weeds if I remember right from Grandma's house when I was little, but then that was in Nebraska, where everything grows like weeds. I planted them there because right above this pot is an odd natural gas pipe and meter that is distracting, and could be a danger to my daycare kids, so this is my solution to block it off.

Along my front sidewalk, I have my vegetables, and so far, the deer haven't spotted us. My luck will be that just as soon as it is all ready to harvest, they'll find it. LOL. Wouldn't be the first time. We have deer and moose in town and they are the frustration of gardeners all through town. The pot above holds a tomato plant - I think Big Boy or Beef Steak. I can't remember and I'm too lazy right now to go out and look ;) There are a lot - maybe 30 or more - of flowers on this plant. Hopefully I'll get to reap some tomatoes.

This is another tomato plant - grape tomatoes. I love these little tomatoes, so I really hope they grow. They are my favorite variety of tomato. There are a ton of blossoms on the plant, so I think I have a good shot at getting a decent crop ... if the weather and deer cooperate.

The grape tomatoes are in a polka dotted hippopotamus container. My daughter and I found this at a yard sale for a buck and couldn't resist! My daughter did all the planting and I hadn't intended for her to use such a small pot for a tomato plant, but she thought the little red tomatoes would compliment the green polka dots, so that's where they ended up. She also planted dark purple lobelia in the same pot, but they haven't done well. I really should just pull them out so they won't compete with the tomato.

This is the overall view from the end of the sidewalk. They get full sun most of the day. I put them right next to the brick wall because I thought the radiant heat from the bricks would help them grow, and because they are far enough back to be protected by the eave of the garage. We've had four hail storms in the past month and a half and they've been protected (other than the poppy which fared the storms well, and the tomato in the hippo pot which has developed a serious lean. I'm going to have to cage the tomatoes soon, but I'll have to drive either to Jackson Hole 77 miles away or Rock Springs 100 miles away to buy the cages as nobody here sells them.

I also have a couple of pepper plants. This one is a red pepper. It has stayed shorter than my yellow pepper and seems to be more hardy than the yellow.

This is the yellow pepper, with a pepper growing on it. I've never grown peppers before, so I'm a little concerned that this pepper is green. I'm hoping yellow peppers start out as green??? Either way, I've got produce. We just figured we'd grow the yellow and red peppers since they cost more to buy at the grocery store, and the green ones are fairly reasonable. At that time I could only buy as many plants as I had pots. Both pepper plants have several peppers starting to grow.

This is the yellow pepper plant from farther back. It always looks a little wilty in the mornings before I water it. But then it perks right up after being watered. I took the pictures when I went out to water them this morning.

And finally, this is my cucumber. I thought it would be more ambitious than it has been. I've had luck with cucumbers in North Carolina in the late fall and winter, so I figured it would like our cooler weather here. It took it's time getting started but now it looks like it will take off. There used to be cantaloupe plants in the pot too, but they died right away. My daughter insisted on trying to grow them because she loves cantaloupe, but even if the plants had made it, it would be unlikely that the fruit would have matured before a freeze. That would have been even more frustrating than losing a young plant.

I didn't start anything except the morning glories from seed. I knew we didn't have a long enough growing season, and I don't have enough room in my house to start seeds inside. All of my plants are planted in Miracle Grow soil, and I water them every morning - usually around 7 am. They take a ton of water, and the only one that didn't respond well to being drowned in water was the pansies, but as I mentioned, that might be a shade issue too. Come to think of it, the problem could also have been overcrowding. She planted 3 plants in that tiny pot. I think for the fact that we are at such high elevation, and that it literally can snow on any day of the year here, this is not a bad little garden. I would LOVE to get a greenhouse, but that will have to wait ;)

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