Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Deck Gardening UPDATE

A month and a half ago, I showed you the new beginnings of what I had hoped to be a thriving deck garden, when I planted carrots on Mother’s Day. (You can read that post here.) I thought it was about time that I gave you an update. Naturally, like all gardeners, the hope is that everything planted will grow and thrive like Jack’s beanstalk. That is not often the case.
Here, in the Mississippi Valley, we have been weighed down with the most intense heat I can ever remember having this early in the year. We went directly from winter right into the heat of summer. Early May brought us 90° temperatures, and with rare exception, we haven’t left them since. The upcoming week will bring us upper 90s/low 100s.
French Radishes
When you have a deck garden, one of the most important things is keeping your potted plants watered. With this intense heat, that means hand watering nearly two dozen plants (Additional plants are in the covered area, some are on the patio below, and I water those with a sprinkling can from over the side of the deck. I hate to think how that looks to the neighbors, so we won’t even go there), up to three times a day. Essentially, these past six weeks or so, I have made a career out of watering plants.
Thankfully, they are doing quite well. This week, be still my beating heart, I saw the beginnings of a zucchini. Prior to that, every day I would get a male flower (and I know the flowers are edible, but I never got enough at one time to make harvesting them worthwhile), but patience (and fertilizer) paid off, as here you can see a zucchini on the way. I cannot tell you how excited I am about this. I have a recipe for Chocolate Zucchini Cake that looks amazing, and I think that is one of the first recipes I’m going to try. (Note the tone of optimism in my voice…confident that I am going to get more.)
Cucumber and Black-eyed Susan Vine climb the bottle tree.
One of the most exciting things about my garden this year was the inclusion of a bottle tree. I have always wanted to have one of these, so was thrilled to death to be able to finally make this addition. The wine bottles I have been collecting of the course of two years. As you may have guessed, I’m not a big wine drinker. One bottle, made its way to the tree via a neighborhood party. I still need five more, and I had better get them soon because the black-eyed Susan vine that I am training up the tree is really starting to grow. In addition, at the base of the tree, I have a bush cucumber. Despite the fact that it is a “bush” variety, it, too, will climb, so, in my mind’s eye, I am going to have a beautiful, colorful bottle tree, laden with yellow blossoms and fat cucumbers, all thriving amidst a swirl of butterflies. We’ll see how that works out.
I think the birds spotted my tomatoes before I did. I wondered why they were standing along the railing staring at the tomato plant. I just know they’re waiting to punch holes in a couple of the tomatoes and take their leave. At any rate, a couple of them are on the way.
Similarly, a couple of green peppers are also on the way, and the tomatillo plant (that is shockingly spindly) is showing some blossoms as well.
Red and green peppers both grow in one pot.
This slow starter has nearly 50 blossoms! Salsa verde anyone?
While cleaning out a drawer, I found a package of multi-colored string bean seeds that were stamped “2007.” I know that seeds remain viable for quite a long time so I figured, what the heck? And I planted a couple of them. They grew! I have no idea what color string beans I’m going to end up with, but that’s half the fun.
French radishes border the edge of the pot that contains the string beans. The carrots are doing very well, at least the tops are. I have no idea what’s underneath this delicate green foliage. Truthfully, it doesn’t matter, I love the way these look.
Giant Multicolored Zinnias are doing well.
Zinnias, that attract hummingbirds, goldfinches (who love to hang onto flower stems, and pluck out the petals with their beaks in order to reach fat, fresh seeds — and because they’re so cute I let them), as well as butterflies. I planted these from seed, and I’m happy with their progress.
Lemon Grass

Italian Flat-leaf Parsley


Thai Basil
In addition to all of this, I also have herbs (not enough), and two citrus trees. Despite being laden with fragrant blossoms, neither one of my trees is showing much. I’m told that’s because they need fertilizer. So, having purchased a special citrus variety of fertilizer, I treated them early this week, we’ll just see what happens.
This is my first time ever growing Cosmos. I am happy with their progress.

This is the end of the update. I will check in next month and keep you abreast of the progress. What have you got growing?

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judee said...

this year I grew 8 different herbs on my deck. I've watered them daily in this heat, but perhaps I should have watered them more.My cilantro and mint are not doing well. Your patio garden looks amazing. Enjoy your harvest

Rustown Mom said...

That all looks amazing. I am trying to keep my fig tree alive without much success. The squirrels have decided they love the small under-ripe figs so I will likely not get any. The heat here is ridiculous, too, but we have a slight chance of rain today. I WANT IT TO RAIN LIKE HELL. Sorry, fireworks shows...

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Herbs can generally take heat and drought, but if you can get cilantro to grow then you are doing something right. Mine always bolts in the heat.

Linda said...

Pattie I am SO impressed! Your deck garden is beautiful and thriving in spite of the heat. You must have just the right amount of shade and sun.

I hated that we basically had no normal May, so my garden definitely suffered this year.

Isn't it fun when a seed actually grows? Please give us more photos of the gorgeous-ness.

Debbie - Mountain Mama said...

I have been wondering how your garden was doing - it looks amazing!!! I wish I could see it as a 'whole' to see how it all looks together - it must be like a cozy jungle out there! I missed this post, things have been insanely busy for me, not unusual for summer months in my world.