Patio and Deck Vegetable Gardening Ideas

We haven’t had a good vegetable gardening video for quite some time, so here’s an excellent little intro to Paul Beaudette’s deck and patio vegetable garden. Take a moment and have a tour of the vegetable gardening containers all over his deck. Lovely and light, nothing major to think about. A perfect few minutes for a Saturday afternoon when reading is too much work.

Vegetable gardening is easy if we let it be

I think we new gardeners tend to overthink a vegetable garden if we’re not careful. If it’s too much work, it’s a lot more satisfying to do our harvesting in the Produce department of the local supermarket. If it’s too little work, it’s easier to forget it’s out there on the patio and ignore it completely. I, for one, don’t want to turn into a vegetable farmer and compete with Green Giant.

This, of course, is coming from the gal who’s an expert at slaying Roma tomato plants (or ‘vines’, as they’re called by some) and who is still glaring at the upstart green onions that would do much better if planted outdoors a few hundred miles to the west in a fertile valley.

To your garden success!
Casey – the Garden Lass

How to Grow Avocado Trees From Seeds

Avocado - not just a fruit, but an entire lifetime of weird growing experiments.

Avocado – not just a misunderstood fruit — an entire lifetime of weird growing experiments.

In the spirit of getting back on the horse that threw me (and made me give away “all” my trees), after the 2.5 day mourning-and-kicking-myself period, I’ve decided to plant a tree.

“Why!?” I hear you scream. Oh, wait… That was me again.

I take it back. I’m not planting a tree. I’m going to try to grow avocado trees from seed. I’ve tried this about a gazillion times in my life. The resulting mess usually ends up in the compost heap in a week, or in the trash in a few months. Or I forget which windowsill I put the soaking seed thingie on and find it after several months, shriveled and dead. That was, of course, before I started to Learn To Garden.

I’m doing nothing different from what thousands of fourth graders do across the nation at least once a year. Why should they have all the fun, eh?

“Good morning, class. This week, we’re going to grow avocado trees from seeds. Next month, we’ll be rewriting the Declaration of Independence on handmade paper we’ll made from the bark of our avocado trees and quill pens fashioned from feathers of the geese we raised from eggs last year in the marshes we designed in kindergarten – remember those?” (That’s Martha Stewart teaching in our elementary schools.)

How to Grow Avocado Trees in the Frozen North

I wouldn’t even attempt this again, except I found this nifty video a few minutes ago, and it inspired me to give it yet another shot. Luckily my ever-patient husband likes avocados even more than I do – not that there’s any guarantee this thing will ever produce a single fruit.

Now, he says he’s in far eastern Canada, and look how well it’s doing. But since we’re in California, I figure I should look at other people’s advice.

How to Grow Avocado Trees a bit Closer to Home

This one is from WisconsinGarden, who is … in Wisconsin. Closer!

Somehow I get the feeling I am not getting the whole picture yet. So tomorrow, before I go get avocados from the avocado store, I’ll see if I can find advice closer to home.

Frugal Gardening Despite All Odds and Inclinations

baking the old soil

“What’s for dinner, honey?” “Oh, a roast of recycled squash soil and vermiculite. Want a salad with that?”

I write elaborate shopping lists, then do my best to be frugal by striking items off one by one, identifying what can be done to replace each. What’s left is a list that contains nothing but the essentials, and each item that remains is something I’ve carefully thought through.

Frugal Delay Tactics

Right now I need to repot a few cramped little plants, set in a few more seeds, including a restart on the squash. But I’ve been avoiding this for weeks – first it was too hot, then I was too tired. Now I’m too impatient, knowing that within a month I’ll have a VegTrug. But the plants don’t care that I’m impatient, and they want to get started now if there’s any hope of being harvested for dinner in a few months.

Frugal Potting Soil Make-Your-Own

  • a bag of peat moss
  • a bag of coarse builder’s sand
  • a bag or stack of garden loam or compost
  • a large scoop (will be used to measure a “part”) – plastic juice jug, bottom and sides cut off
  • a bin to mix in – old potting soil bags – I save them because they reseal
  • garden gloves – struck from list when I found my left glove. I’m golden now.

I’m also salvaging the potting soil from the dear departed indoor yellow squash, whose heritage lives on in the Bunny Buffet. I harvested the last squash and uprooted the rest early this morning. Its leaves had been drooping and looking generally unhealthy. Better to feed the bunnies than continue to cajole this back to life.

Frugal Planting Decisions

Here comes the dilemma. Do I pot the seeds now and hope they are up by the time the VegTrug arrives, or do I wait for it to arrive so I can see the layout in person?

Or do I scratch using seeds altogether and hie down to the big box garden center and pick up real plants that are used to being outside?

Frugal Bottom Line

This will be the biggest single gardening acquisition of my gardening career (which started in March, so don’t be too impressed). I am agonizing over what it’ll take to do it right, properly, productively and frugally. I should be banned from the local garden center-slash-hardware store – at least until I calm down and see this VegTrug in person.

Reuse, Reclaim, Recycle, Reinvent, Rethink, Reimagine

My new mini watering can used to hold powdered garlic

I get a kick out of my new-to-recycling friends, and the grins as they discover uses for stuff they’d otherwise toss in the landfill. I like it especially when kids make the discovery – little Columbus clones finding new functionality for old stuff.

Last century, during the Great Depression and World War II, the message was frugal make-do – material shortages bred creativeness and savvy homemakers who moved from clothesline to assembly line and back because that’s what it took to get on with life.

Toward the end of the 20th Century, with the instant availability of knowledge and news to anyone in any corner of the globe, we have eagle eyes on post-consumer waste percentages, BPA-free, constantly improving recycling processes, conservation issues.

In between was a time of plenty – more than plenty; it was a time of acquisitiveness and lots of stuff. If you kept stuff and found purpose for it, you were “savvy.” If you kept stuff with the intention of finding a purpose for it, you were a “packrat.”  I was a savvy packrat.

I am planting seeds and seedlings in “found” containers, reusing plastic butter dishes (use two – poke holes in the bottom of one; fill with soil, add seed, water in), saving aside plastic juice bottles (cut off bottoms and set aside for water basins; use tops to cover outdoor seedlings), rescuing plastic bags from rice cakes (cut in half – use lower half to grab compostables, use upper half to tie errant vines). Twist-ties are golden, as are lengths of yarn too short to crochet or too ugly to put in a hat.

The plants don’t seem to care what they get planted in, so long as it’s cleaned first and has the nutrient-rich potting soil they crave. Sure makes more sense to me to use what’s at hand rather than running to the store for peat pots every time I get the urge to put some seed into some soil.