My Beautiful Thing

After years of disappointing yields, POD is swimming (or drowning) in garden-fresh produce. What a deliciously beautiful thing.

Harvest TimeMy days as a container gardener were rewarding, for sure. I loved pushing seeds into the soil with the Hurricane’s tiny fingers assisting, we loved watching those tender shoots push through the deluxe organic-by-the-bag soil, and we loved June. We loved how healthy and vibrant the young plants looked, we loved the possibilities and the promise, and we loved having the only garden on the block. Heck, one of the only gardens in all of Pennsport.

For all the pleasure, those days were also pretty demoralizing. What I didn’t love so much? July and August. And aphids. Given the scarcity of delectable gardens in the neighborhood, each and every pest and squirrel came a’callin’ each and every year. Still, we managed to eke out enough of a harvest to come back for more, year after year, but only barely.

And on the menu for this week?

And on the shopping list? Lamb and Surryano and not much else.

Dear Aphids: POD Hates You

plants on deck aphids and waspsAs one of the only vegetable gardens in Pennsport, POD provides quite the haven for local pests. Each year POD struggles, and ultimately fails, to keep these suckers in check.

This year POD pulled out the stops with mulch, preventative organic sprays, squishing, leaf-soaking, and ultimately, chemical sprays. Can’t you tell? That is one messed up melon. One of these days, when this gardener has a garden that extends beyond pots, we’ll set some ladybugs free. (In the meantime, we’ll settle for not killing them.)

But for those gardeners just starting out, here’s an encyclopedia of aphid control options:

Cuked!

cukeattackLike kudzu, this cucumber decided the Mystery Tomato’s and the Early Girl’s cages looked more welcoming. After spending about a half an hour unwinding tendrils in 90+ degree heat and carefully applying water to the soil, everyone seems happy. Except the Endurer, who’s actually doing something useful, like cleaning, entertaining a newly-minted 3-year-old, cooking, and shopping.

Cucumbers Coming

Someday.

But Sunday was a big day. The sun was shining, the soil was warm, the time was right and Monday’s forecast called for the last of April’s showers. Given the Hurricane’s deep, deep, deep, affection for cucumbers, which rivals her love of tomatoes, it seemed important to get some things in the ground.

Step 1: Styrofoam, for drainage
Step 1: Styrofoam, for drainage.
Step 2: Dirt. Lots of dirt
Step 2: Dirt. Lots of dirt.
Step 3: Costume change + consultation with deck amis.
Step 3: Costume change + consultation with deck amis.
Step 4: Finally! Planting White Wonder, Adam F1, and Lemon Cucumbers
Step 4: Finally! Planting White Wonder, Adam F1, and Lemon Cucumbers

Seed Giveaway!

Okay, Plants on Deck is cleaning house.Wanna’ help? Volunteer to adopt some seeds!

Gardening tools have been cleaned and hidden away (for that matter, shelves have been dusted, bathroom scrubbed, kittens emptied, and kitchen cabinets scoured — but that’s all a little tangential, sorry) and pots have been stashed for the winter.

And guess what? There’s a pile of seeds that aren’t going to wind up on deck again next year. Want ’em? Just let me know.

Fire off an email to plantsondeck at gmail.com and they’ll arrive in your mailbox. Voila. It’s that easy. Just sharing the gardening love.

POD Seed Giveaway!
POD Seed Giveaway!

Parmex carrots (Cook’s Garden): Cute, little golf ball-sized sweet carrots. Great for containers and companion planting.
Not-A-Poblano (Happy Cat Organics): AKA jalapenos — produced heavily.
Isis Candy (Territorial Seed Company): Super-sweet indeterminate cherry tomato
Black Cherry (D. Landreth): Pretty, dark-skinned indeterminate cherry tomato
Mammoth Basil (Cook’s Garden): Super-huge leaves. Great for pizzas. Fairly mild.
Iznik Hybrid (Cook’s Garden)
True Lemon (Happy Cat Organics): Prolific lemon cucumber. Assertive, slightly bitter taste.
Spacemaster Cucumber
Purple Beans (who knows?)
Bambino (Cook’s Garden): Tiny purple eggplants
Filet Fin Des Bagnols (Cook’s Garden): Heirloom French bush beans
Pepper Cress (?): Spicy cool-weather accent green
Cleome Solo (Cook’s Garden): Tall white “spider flower”
Lavender Munstead (Cook’s Garden)