When I dream about kitchen gardens, I imagine the lush raised beds in the film It's Complicated. It's one of those fairy tale gardens, casting a spell over all who enter. Anyone who saw that movie is still spell-bound in some way. But what if space is limited? What if you don't have 25 hours a day to pull weeds (or have a full-time gardener)? What if you have a physical infirmity, and you cannot traipse out to a garden when you need a tomato? A container garden on your back porch may be the answer.
When I decided to make a small kitchen garden, I jotted down a few ideas. I didn't want too many pots (winter may be over, but a long, hot summer is coming), and I do tend to go overboard. I made a list of vegetables that didn't require lots of horizontal space--or deep root systems. Lettuce grows nicely in a pot, though it tends to be picked and eaten rather quickly (then you'll be able to use the pot for another purpose). The other day, I read about a gardener who grew cabbages on a balcony garden. But cherry tomatoes may be the most traditional and beloved plant to grow in a pot. Just give them a nice, deep, well-drained pot, rich soil, and a stake, along with organic fertilizer, and the 'maters will keep giving and giving all summer.
I selected a large, lightweight pot that had a pre-drilled hole, which I immediately plugged with a small rock so water wouldn't immediately gush out.
This early in the year, pickings were slim at the package store, but I managed to find a delightful cultivar: Black Cherry. You can research black tomatoes HERE.
I'm also growing herbs and edible flowers from seed, which I hope to share soon.
If you're in the mood for something fresh and versatile, you might want to pot a few strawberry plants. In previous years, my mother and my husband have planted berries in the yard, but they didn't have much luck. So I thought I'd try to grow them in pots.
I found some small pots at the package store.
Planting them gave me the heebie-jeebies. The strawberry plants were way too large for the tiny outcroppings on the jar. Bandwidth encouraged me to divide the plants (there were 2 in each pot). Everbloomers went into 3 pots; All-Star blooms in June; those plants went into the 4th jar.
I don't know which one of us went into shock first--me or the berry plants.
I felt sure they'd all die, but the plants perked up in a few hours. According to my research, the flowers should be removed during the first growing season to promote a sturdy root system, but I'll have to toughen up before I can pick those dainty blooms.
I'd love to plant a red, juicy patio tomato, too. Do you have a recommendation?