Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Patio Garden

As you might remember, our new apartment has a fabulous patio.  The view is...of the building next door.  BUT, it is spacious and sun-lit, and is really quite lovely.  We've made quite a little transformation to it since moving in, and I figured it was time to share.  :)

Before we moved in (as landlords were moving out)
Working on a little dead-root-excavation project.
That thing was intense.

The patio garden as it currently stands.
Ignore the lanterns on the ground because
I haven't figured out how to hang them yet.

Tomatoes (were already growing in this pot)
and yellow squash (starter plant bought at Whole Foods).
They can live together, right?

The zucchini plants I started from seeds.  Just a couple weeks
and they're as big as the starter squash plant!  Hope they don't
outgrow the pot too soon...

Just for fun, a little houseplant progress. I've moved this dude
outside for now, because I don't know where to put him in
the apartment, and I think he likes the sunshine for now.

Remember when he was only this big?

So yes.  On our patio we have:

  • 1 Dwarf Meyer Lemon Tree
  • 4 basil plants (one good, three clippings from a dying plant that I'm trying to rejuvenate)
  • 1 mint plant, 1 oregano plant, 1 parsley plant (all sort of not liking the recent heat wave)
  • 2 tomato plants (left by the landlords, sort of dying, trying to save them)
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 pot full of zucchini.  
We also have two houseplants, a dusty miller that somehow perseveres though it is constantly threatening death, and a little pot in which I've planted one of those "this business card is embedded with seeds. plant it and have pretty flowers" cards - so far, no blooms.  Maybe it's too old?

And lastly, a plea for aid: Today I noticed these weird little bugs hanging out on one of the tomato plants.  Does anyone out there know what they are and how to get rid of them without harmful chemicals?

Please don't eat my tomatoes!


  1. Man, I'm AWFUL at gardening, but I think a lot of it is just that I've never learned. My goal this winter is to research and learn more so that I can hopefully grow some plants next summer. How did you learn?

  2. Hmm I don't know. We always planted stuff when I was growing up, though it was mostly flowers. I do remember lots of fun trips to the nursery when I was a kid - I guess I just always liked planting things. By no means am I some sort of Accomplished Gardener.

    I don't really know what I'm doing...honestly, a lot of my plants end up dying. It's some sort of miracle that the IKEA plant has lasted so long, I swear. Mostly, I just decide what I want to grow and then read about it a little and figure out if it will work. Ask a lot of questions when you go to a nursery/garden center (the lady I talked to at OSH yesterday was super helpful), and take notes. I'm still learning! :)

  3. My tomato plants got bugs too--if they're black bugs, they're probably mites or fruit flies. If they're green, they're probably aphids or greenfly. You could try getting ahold of some ladybugs, but barring that you may need to use an insecticidal soap. Make sure the plants are healthy--give them a high potash tomato fertilizer every 2 weeks. If the leaves begin to yellow give them a magnesium foliar feed--quite literally, mix up a tablespoon of epsom salts (from the pharmacy) in a pint of water and spritz it on the leaves. I repeated this twice over three weeks and it has really helped. The yellowed leaves died and fell off, but the yellowing did not spread, and there is new healthy growth all over the plants. In any case, healthy plants are better at defending themselves from attack and infestation, and can actually kill bugs with certain peptides. Cool, huh?

    My mom told me that when you water plants in pots some of the soil's nutrients drain off every time, so it's a good idea to put a couple of drops of plant food into your can every time you water. My tomatoes in the ground are much much bigger and happier than the ones in pots (Though the ones in pots have more sunshine and their fruits have matured faster.) As in, the ones in pots are 3' tall. The ones in the ground are 10' tall.

  4. OH COOL. I've been reading up on systemin, a peptide that is released when tomato leaves are bitten into by bugs, and apparently it causes the release of proteins which:

    1. slow larval development
    2. kill bacteria
    3. attract carnivorous insects

    yes. that is kinda the awesome-est thing Ive ever heard. How do I get these little bugs off of me? Get big bugs to eat them.

  5. thanks for all the good tips for bug removal

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