Attempting Container Gardening

Have you seen pictures of those patio gardens with all the lush beautiful pots covering them? Little micro-garden zones that really pack a punch.  I love em. This year I'm making a second attempt at semi-serious container gardening. I tried last year and honestly, it was mostly one big fail. Part of it was my fault, and the other part I blame on my dog :).

 Summer 2016  tomato planter. 

Summer 2016  tomato planter. 

The above picture of the tomato planter was really the only container type thing that did well for me last year. Everything else, not so much. We have this little wooden ledge just off the side of our deck, that I decided I would put pots on. In my imagination I could picture plants climbing up the railing that backs it, providing us with delicious peas, while simultaneously looking all lush and fab. So I planted pea seeds in some of the 1001 terracotta pots that came with our house,  and waited for my little paradise to grow. FAT CHANCE!

 Summer 2016 with my sad little pea plants on the ledge and one sneaky basset lurking behind them.

Summer 2016 with my sad little pea plants on the ledge and one sneaky basset lurking behind them.

First of all, we have a super short growing season. Usually there's always a risk of frost up until May long weekend here, and our first frost can happen as early as the end of August. Second, our house is surrounded by big tall spruce trees. Therefore, we really don't get much sun. So planting seeds and expecting them to "lush out" before fall hit was stretching it, but I tried anyways.

Here is where Lily comes into the story.

As my little seeds struggled to grow, they finally reached about 7 or 8 inches, SO CLOSE to the railing spindles that I was able to loosely tie support strings around them. They also just happened to be the perfect nibbling height for a certain basset hound. One day I came out to find all the tops of my pea plants missing, and every time she walked by after that, I would catch her sticking her nose through the spindles, reaching for what was left of my babies. Turns out she loves peas more than I do. Can't blame her, they are good.

Well, this year things will be different... I hope.

So far it seems that Lily won't eat tomato plants. The actual tomatoes, yes, but not the plant. So today I went ahead and planted tomato plants in all of those terracotta pots on that same little ledge. I also planted some yellow pepper seedlings and sweet peas (we started them indoors in March). Yes, it's a little risky for me to plant now, since technically May long weekend is still 2 weeks away. I just had to do it though. The suffocating winter mindset was getting to me. We had the biggest dump of snow last month that has finally only recently melted from our extremely shady yard, and I just couldn't take it anymore, I NEEDED TO PLANT!

 Summer 2016 garden

Summer 2016 garden

You can see squash plants in the pots on the railings last year, that was as big as they got. Again, I planted seeds and should have planted actual plants. I know, I know. Squash and similar gourd plants need LOTS of growing time and lots of sunshine, and mine didn't get either of those. What can I say, I'm a dreamer...Our actual garden beds are pretty small, and since they're sunken below the rest of the deck they don't get quite as much sun as the rest of the deck above. So when you've got a small mostly shade garden, and a large sunny deck, it only makes sense to make the most out of that deck! If I can actually make it work this year, I may just get to experience the patio oasis thing. We'll see how that goes and I'll keep ya posted ;).

 Summer 2016 garden

Summer 2016 garden