I love this time of year. The garden is growing lush and the summer heat hasn't had a chance to knock things back. It has been cooler this year, and our patio garden is doing better than ever. We eat wonderful food from it daily. Below is a picture of one of our salads -- everything in it came from our patio garden.
If you don't have space or fertile soil for a regular garden, consider patio gardening (otherwise known as container gardening). You would be amazed at how productive a patio garden can be. I prep my soil in the Square Foot Gardening method and water it daily. It doesn't take as much water as you would think, because rather than losing water to run-off, all the water goes to the plants. This year, I used a little organic fertilizer, but if I had been able to get my hands on some aged chicken or cow manure, I would have used that instead. Above all, we keep things organic.
We have a surprising variety in our garden. We ordered all our heirloom seeds from Baker Creek this year, and the seeds have been fabulous for our garden. Baker Creek searches all over the world for heirloom seeds that are difficult to find elsewhere. They carry exotic seeds that, besides being fun to grow, do really well in our southern climate. We have spinach, orach, swiss chard, multiple varieties of lettuce, several kinds of carrots, awesome heat tolerant cucumbers, interesting varieties of tomatoes (that are taller than my husband!!!), herbs, beets, exotic peppers, okra, figs, lemons, strawberries, beans, and flowers. All on our patio. Amazing.
And honeybees!! I grew up with honeybees everywhere, but my kids have rarely been able to find them. This year, the honeybees are back. If you plant it, they will come. (Terrible movie throwback. Sorry.) The honeybees are really enjoying the heirloom seeds we planted, and I am really enjoying the honeybees. Maybe next year I will set up a hive...
Here's a little tip: If you want to grow beans in a container, most varieties don't seem to produce very well. There is one exception. Asian Long Beans. They tolerate extreme temperatures and drought, produce well in a container and have an added bonus. Each bean grows to be about a foot long, so it takes fewer beans to feed your family. They taste like a tender green bean. I usually chop them into bite sized pieces, lightly sauté them in a little coconut oil, sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Yum. And the blooms are pretty, too:
We planted ground cherries for the first time this year, and they are prolific. I've never actually tasted them, and they aren't ready yet, so I will let you know. I have high hopes for them, though.
Our herbs have been loving the weather. I have enough herbs out there to preserve for my year's supply. I have already dried some apple mint. I have sage, lemon balm, basil and dill ready to harvest. This morning, I started some oregano drying for the winter. I can already taste the pizza, lasagna and spaghetti...
We don't limit our summer bounty to our patio garden, either. This week, my husband and kids have been picking wild red raspberries. They pick them and I wash, sort and freeze them for the winter. Some of the berries were turned into ruby red jam. (I'll try to post the recipe soon. It's easy.) Oh, and then there was the raspberry cobbler....(drool).
Now we are looking forward to wild blackberries, wild grapes and more summer bounty from our patio garden. Don't let anyone tell you that something won't grow in a container. Try it. Sure, there may be a few casualties along the way, but you'd be amazed at what will grow!
Have a great day!
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