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how does your garden grow ...

my current obsession:

see that - teeny tiny baby basil and thyme!!! it's true. i can't stop peeking to see what's happening in our little herb world. i'm pretty sure i checked on them 4x before i left for work this am. and once more during my lunch break. which is beginning to make me seriously doubt that i'll be able to hold off on finding out the gender of our future babies as planned.

this will be our first attempt at a munday family garden - well container garden!

last night we picked up a few plants: romaine lettuce, spinach, 2 varieties of cucumber, a cherry tomato vine and okra (i'll need your help to use this! definitely a request from wade!). did you know that okra can grow to be 5ft TALL!?! yeeks - might need to re-pot that little fella.

i'm creating my own idiot's guide to container gardening:

romaine lettuce:
container // depth 6-8". shallow roots - perfect for window box!
sunlight // move containers to shade to avoid too much heat. warm temperatures cause crop to stop making leaves and become woody or leathery ("bolt"). the result - bitter greens. ick! keep cool.
soil // rich + well-drained. add lime to keep soil from drying out.
water // consistently. keep soil moist but not wet. luckily lettuce doesn't require a lot of fuss! :) my kind of plant.
do // plant w/ carrots, cucumbers, radishes + strawberries
harvest // 80 to 85 days. harvest when leaves have grown to approx 4-6". cut leaves 1-2" above the base from the outside, letting the inside continue to develop. or you can take the whole plant, cutting it off about an inch above the ground, and letting it re-grow.

container // depth at least 8" and 10-12" wide. shallow roots. you can prolong your harvest by moving them into the shade in the afternoons
sunlight // partial shade. again, move to shade to avoid too much heat.
soil // rich and well-drained. fertilize w/ high-nitrogen fertilizer.
water // regularly. 2-3x a week so that they don't dry out (and bolt!)
do // plant w/ strawberries.
don't // plant w/ corn or beans.
harvest // 45 to 50 days. harvest spinach once each plant has a few full-sized leaves about 1" from the base. the plant will just keep growing new leaves.

container // depth 18". large root system needs at least an 18 to 24 inch diameter pot. you'll need a 12-18" trellis or bamboo to support the plant.
sunlight // full - 6 hours
soil // fertilize often.
water // cumbers are about 95% water - so they require regular water!
do // plant w/ beans and peas.
don't // plant w/ potatoes or herbs.
harvest // harvest 55 to 65 days. when they are fairly small or they will become bitter. also vines w/ too many cucumbers will stop producing!

cherry tomato:
container // depth 18". 4-6 plants per 20 inch pot. you'll need a trellis or bamboo to support the plant.
sunlight // full - 6 hours
soil // fertilize often. every 2-3 weeks (even w/ each watering!)
water // very substantial amount of water. keep soil evenly moist. water at base of the stem avoiding the leaves.
do // plant w/ asparagus, carrots, chives, onions and parsley.
harvest // 60 to 80 days once they've turned color from their original green. twist the fruit instead of pulling on the vine

container // choose a small variety. can grow 4-6 feet tall and will need at least a 5 gallon pot! a dark container will keep the soil warm. also - as a warning, okra pods & leaves are covered in fine spines that irritate skin. keep this in mind when placing the pot and when harvesting.
sunlight // full - 6 hours. thrives in hot weather - that's why it's a true southerner!
soil // well-drained
do // plant with basil, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers and peas.
water // regular. can be kept on the dry side as the stems rot when wet or cold.
harvest // 60 days. harvest when pods are a few inches long and about as thick as your finger.

overwhelmed!?! oh just a little bit. actually i'm only nervous about the okra. we should have done our research. 1 // it's gonna be huge! 2 // it needs to be dry - while the cucumber we planted it with needs to be WET. definitely our first transplant in the near future. and i am starting to think that raising lettuce and spinach will be much like having a puppy. will i be dedicated enough to run home at lunch to move them into the shade? we'll see! :) thankfully i live about 5 blocks from the office. i'm crazy enough to want to add green beans to the mix too!

much more too come.

sources: gardeningblog.net, sunset.com, gardennaturallynow.com


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