Today I planted a few more cool weather veggies: radishes and carrots and lettuce and turnips and such. I feel a bit foolish, if truth be told. I feel like I’m battening down the hatches against a winter storm while wearing shorts and listening to the refrigerated air kick on again. I have to remind myself that everything is relative at times like this. The laughably mild winter we get is our gift for not dying from heat stroke over the summer. I’m also reminded that I have to make notes for next spring.
Some of the good things I’ll need to repeat next season:
- Plant more natives… like cowpeas and okra.
- Easy on the high nitrogen fertilizer. Lush foliage is beautiful, but not always the goal. Veggies are the goal! Also, aphids love chewing on fast growing, but not necessarily healthy, plants.
- Plant flowers and herbs and anything else that looks yummy to bees and butterflies. I saved some seed from a beautiful flower that attracted tons of butterflies. I don’t know what it is, but it is now labelled “Butterfly Noms.” Maybe I should look into that. 🙂
- Replace more of the smaller containers with the largest containers I can find.
- Utilize companion planting.
- No chemical pesticides! I have a family of anoles and a lot of red wigglers I’ve grown very fond of.
- Fertilizer. Containers leach nutrients quickly, especially in the heat. I must remember to regularly and frequently fertilize my plants. Organic fertilizers would be best, but we have to remember the rabbit poop incident of 2014. My fellow apartment dwellers were not happy about that! No harm in light applications of a “complete,” slow-release granular fertilizer…
- On the subject of fertilizer, compost is a wonderful thing, but it is heavy and can reduce drainage in potted plants. Think I’ll be looking for some perlite or something to help lighten things up a bit and improve drainage.
- Watering. This year I figured I could skip two-a-days during the summer because I had larger containers. Yes… and no. The plants did not seem any worse for wear and I did not have any issues with blossom end rot this year. Funny thing, though, when I pulled some spent plants recently, the roots had grown through the drainage holes and into the ground below, and the soil in the container seemed strangely dry. I thought only worm castings dried to stone. Next season: two-a-days.
- Focus. I’m thrilled that I’ve gone from killing all my tomato plants to having moderate success with a few. Next season, I want lots of tomatoes! I don’t want to ever buy another tomato at the grocery store, at least not during the summer. Next season: production!