Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gardening in the 'Burbs.

Spouse and I met through mutual friends, in a series of unfortunately fortunate events 14.5 years ago, but at the time we were both seeing other people. 

Fast forward 6-8 months, we weren't seeing other people and, while he was more "Hubba hubba, let's do this thing!", I was more "You seem like a nice chap, let's be friends". And then he kissed me. In the immortal words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper, "BAZINGA!" That was 1999. 

In 2003, we got married and in June, 2004, we bought our home. 

Quick back story: I grew up in a more urban area (Spouse refers to it as The Ghetto <le sigh>) and he grew up in the suburbs (I refer to where he grew up as Suburban Hell). Needless to say, when it came time to find a homestead to call our own, there were negotiations involved. 

The area we chose was closer to his work place but still only a 15-20 minute drive to campus and about that same distance to the areas of our city that I frequent. It is not a starter home but large enough that when his brothers (and their families) come to town we have sleeping accommodations for all, and for entertaining purposes, max capacity is 40 inside. 

Some might think of my next statement about our Chez is a negative but it's really fine by us: we don't have a ton of yard space. The front yard is nicely sized but the back is wider than it is deep and with a grade of about 3 feet in the middle, so odd. 

We like it because it's not as much maintenance but it does create a few issues, like gardening. We just don't really have a good space for an in-ground, flat garden. 

And thus, my patio container garden was born. I've done it before but, well, in a half-a$$ed fashion. This year, I was determined to get some good plants, and good results out of it and I've been rewarded already. 

The school I went to for middle and high schools holds a fundraising plant sale each year so I bought:
  • Beefsteak tomato plant
  • Jalapeno plant
  • Two lead lettuce mix plants
  • Shallot plant
  • Dill, cilantro, basil, oregano, thyme, and spearmint plants
This is photo of everything newly planted in mid-May.

Much to Spouse's dismay, I went to our local home improvement store's garden area and picked up:
  • Roma tomato plant
  • Red pepper plant
  • Sweet mint plant
  • Pickling cucumber plant
This is what my garden looked like in mid-June:

I've already harvested a nice bowl full of lettuce and a decent wad of all the herbs. Still growing are:
  • about 8 shallots
  • 3 beefsteak tomatoes 
  • 3-4 Roma tomatoes
  • 3 jalapenos
  • 1 red pepper
Something to keep in mind, is we as of Thursday, broke a 19 day streak of days featuring at least a bit of rain. A few of those days were downright stormy all <freaking> day. At this point, some of my little plants are looking a wee water-logged. Poor dears. Hope we have a few days to dry out. 
Aren't these the cutest little jalapenos in the world?!?
Since the lettuce plants are leaf lettuce, I'll see what they do next. I may or may not have done my research before I harvested so I may or may not get more lettuce. Heh heh heh. Derp.

I'm super pumped!!! I think I'm going to do more next year. We go through a lot of garlic, so it might behoove me to try that. Might even have to claim some landscape room....we'll see. Spouse may flip out on that one. But there is only so much room on the deck and we do entertain, so........

But what am I try to accomplish with this post? That you don't have to have a ton of acreage, especially if you are new to gardening or just have modest plans, like me. So long as you have room for some pots and space to pot, re-pot, etc., it's possible! Even if you get a modest harvest, the investment is worth it. AND you get to play in the dirt. 

I'll keep y'all posted on what the remaining warm months bring to me & Spouse!

Smell ya later, peeps. 


  1. Love your garden goods, Jen & your fab blog! I'll tell the Culinary Adventure Club (which is still going strong) gals about it! We have a plot in the Co-op community garden & have harvested lettuce, onions & jalapenos. Hope to have some tomatoes soon. Will send pix. Here's to continued good harvests! Lisa :) We miss you!

  2. Congats on your lovely container garden, Weedhoppa! I have a certain cred to maintain (being an MG and all), but I really prefer to grow veggies & herbs in pots rather than in the ground. We have a large container where we grow a 'Salsa Garden' that has 3-4 Sweet 100 tomato plants, a jalapeno plant, and cilantro. I never used fresh herbs in cooking before we had our extensive container garden, but we go out regularly now and snip off basil, oregano, sage, mint, lemon balm, etc, and use them in various dishes for great flavor. Check out my favorite source for container supplies: You may expand your operation to a point where you will get into CANNING your own produce! Ahhhhh, yeah. Good job Jen - I'm proud of your efforts.

  3. Oh Lisa - I miss you guys too but am thrilled the CAC continues. The next time you gals gather, do a toast for me and I'll be there in spirit! I have to say, actually my time in the UV is what has really inspired this bourgeois homesteading period for me. So much great food, readily at hand. Makes you really appreciate what it takes for it to get to you.

    Irene, that is awesome - thank you for the resource. I do think canning is the next (slippery slope) step but we'll see. Our freezer is quickly running out of room from me freezing all the yummy summer fruits. Coming from a MG, I take the compliment highly!

    I'm glad you are enjoying it both. More to come.... :)