My Organic Garden In Great Big Pots

I live in an apartment and my landlord isn’t too keen on renters digging up the landscape for gardens. So I got around that by gardening in big 20″ and 18″ tall plastic flower pots that sit just outside my front door on the sidewalk and down the edge of the driveway. That first plant up close is a Jalapeno pepper,  you can just make out some of the peppers which are just about ready to pick.20180819_193132 (2)I have a cast-iron arbor for vine-type  things to climb up on.20180819_193050 (2)Right now this Red stemmed  Malabar spinach, which I planted from seeds on June 5th,  is growing up and up. Malabar spinach likes hot weather but is very slow growing.  I have two pots of zinnias which I’ve made supports for and tethered to the arbor to help keep the flowers from falling over. This variety, in the picture below,  is “Exquisite”, which I got from Burpee.com. The blooms are from 4-5″ big. They start out as bright red and shift to rosy-red and then mellow to a soft pink. They are an annual and they get 36″ tall. This variety is very drought tolerant. I started these from seeds that I planted on June 5th and now they are about 40″ tall and that’s without counting the height of the pot! So they are coming along nicely.IMG_20180819_201313_393 (2)Everyday pretty butterflies like to visit and sip nectar from the zinnias, which makes me very happy cause I picked this color flower to attract them and hummingbirds.20180810_123712 (3)He/she didn’t like me pointing my phone at him/her and kept flying off and looping around to get a better position on the flower that was furthest from where I was standing.20180819_193157 (2)This is a white flowered vinca that came up on its own from compost that I used from my father-in-law’s compost pile. Free flowers!20180819_193208 (2)This is a Habanero pepper plant that is peppering away and at the base of it is a tiny viola that came up from a seed left from one of the violas that I grew this last winter.20180715_203517 (2)This is a Havasu pepper, which is a medium-heat stuffing pepper and it is doing very well.

So, even though I don’t have a “traditional” in the ground garden I have plants in containers that I can shift around to catch the best sun or to move into the shade if they need less sun. I use a moisture meter when I water so I don’t over-water and drown the plants. I feed them once a month with an organic liquid kelp fertilizer. I use a cypress mulch to help keep down weed growth and to help keep the plants from drying out too much during hot weather. So far from my pepper plants I’ve harvested seven gallon size full bags of organic grown peppers which I give away to friends and family. I’ve been very lucky this year, there hasn’t been a major hurricane come through yet and tear up my plants. Other years haven’t been so lucky, though the plants usually survive major wind events pretty well. I pull them all up close to the building so they get some shelter from the winds and heavy rains.  So, this is this summer’s garden so far, other than some minor leaf-miner damage to some of the zinnia leaves, which I picked off and destroyed, things are doing pretty well. A female hummingbird comes every morning and evening and visits the zinnia flowers, I watch her from my living room window, she is very pretty. This winter I will grow more violas and probably some kale and maybe some snow peas. So, I hope you liked my garden pictures, please excuse some of them being a little blurry, I’ve only had a smart phone for a year and I need more practice holding very still while I take pictures while fighting off hungry biting bugs! So, happy organic container gardening!

Papier-mache’ Squirrel in the works

While the Celluclay is drying on the Zomkins, I’ve started working on a papier-mache’ squirrel and trying out a new (to me) way to build my shapes.20180827_174831 (2)While I was on Pinterest the other day looking at papier-mache’ “pins”,  I saw some people were using aluminum foil to build up their forms for the different projects they were making. I thought it was a great idea, foil is washable,  so instead of throwing it away after use, why not wash it and save it for craft projects! A great way to recycle and to keep reusable things out of the landfill!  So, with this guy, his body is two old styrofoam balls and I used foil to make his arms and legs…20180827_174851 (2)and for his tail. His “ears” are bits left over from carving the face on my white Zomkin. I’ve used straight pins to hold the arms, legs and tail in place while I work on the basic shape I’m going for. I’ve been auditioning “noses”…20180827_185039 (2)I think this one, above, is too big!20180827_192357 (2)I think this one, above,  is probably what I’m going to use.  The eyes and the nose are “holly berries”, from an old silk flower arrangement. I scribbled on “eyes” with a pencil so he/she wouldn’t look totally mindless while I work on him/her. So, this is what I’ve got so far. As I do more to this guy/gal, I’ll post pictures of this squirrel in progress! If you’ve never tried using aluminum foil in your papier-mache’ projects you might want to give it a go. It is light-weight, very easy to shape, and once formed and compacted holds its shape very well. I think it would work very well for making small pieces of papier-mache’ jewelry items! Anything that keeps from putting more reusable stuff into the landfill is a good thing to try out! Happy crafting!