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The Hopeful Gardener

April 30, 2010

Here’s the deal – I kill plants.  I’m great with pets and children (just ask my friends) but I have trouble keeping plants alive.  While I could regale you with stories about my gardening missteps, it can be summarized by saying that I’ve been told that when it comes to plants, I should stick to silks.

Recently I’ve been motivated to plant something, anything, and see if I can sustain it.  Yesterday I had the day off so I decided it was time to start a small container garden in a blank spot where I will see it every day.  After consulting with my Momma (who can grow just about anything and who did not pass on that gene to me), I decided to plant tomatoes and herbs. A trip to my local garden supply store and $56 later, I came back with:

Everything I need - I hope - for a nice container garden

I got cherry tomatoes, basil, oregano and chives, plus all of the items I needed to get them in some dirt.  Here’s what it looks like now:

My happy little container garden

From time to time I’ll write updates on how it is going and probably ask for tips.  If anyone has any advice, please feel free to share.  I am hopeful that one day I will be able to show you photos of beautiful cherry tomatoes and herbs!

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. Morgan permalink
    April 30, 2010 1:44 pm

    Congrats and good luck! I have not been having much success with my attempts with herbs. So far this season I have managed to complete kill Cilantro, my Chives are struggling, my Parsley is questionable. The Oregano is doing awesome though.

    I purchased those gardening globes, thinking it would save me from watering. Sadly, I would not recommend them for anyone who already has trouble remembering to water. Like me, you will probably also forget to fill them as well. For those of you who can remember to water and just want to use them for periods when you will be away, they do work.

    • Melissa permalink
      May 3, 2010 10:14 am

      In the past I’ve had a problem with the whole remembering to water issue. Since this it just outside the door I enter & exit every day, there is no way I can forget! I do like the idea of water globes when I’m going to be away, though. I’m sorry about your herbs.

  2. Susie permalink
    April 30, 2010 3:28 pm

    Good luck! Be prepared, these plants will eventually die due to no fault of your own. Florida summer heat is killer for tomatoes. If you tomato plant is successful it should crowd out all your herbs.

    I hope you get a good crop!

  3. Melissa permalink
    April 30, 2010 4:52 pm

    Thanks! I’ll let you know.

  4. May 1, 2010 1:45 pm

    I’m a hopeful gardener, too! Turns out the Fl heat and lack of water tend to kill many plants. Might want to move your container from the heat island of being on concrete with the heat reflecting off the concrete wall. Learned that myself 🙂 Good luck and I’ll look forward to your updates. I’m doing the same on my blog, too!

    • Melissa permalink
      May 3, 2010 10:23 am

      Thanks for the suggestion, Kim. For me there’s no happy medium; it is either full sun or full shade. I’ll have to be diligent in my attention to the plants.

      What’s your blog? I would love to read it!

  5. May 3, 2010 12:06 pm

    You’re not the only one who has a black and brown thumb instead of a green thumb. I might have turned the corner this season. My hanging tomato plants seem to thriving, knock on wood.

    • Melissa permalink
      May 3, 2010 12:59 pm

      Congratulations! If you have any tips, please share!

  6. evan @ nerditry permalink
    May 3, 2010 1:58 pm

    I’m in the same boat, but my big issue is lack of direct sunlight in significant amounts. My house has lots of large shade trees front and back yard (it also faces East), so that direct sun is only partial during the day.

    Any recommendations on veg that will grow in such a condition? Herbs seem to be doing ok, though my sage which was thriving is starting to yellow at the base leaves.

    • Melissa permalink
      May 3, 2010 2:31 pm

      Evan, if you live in Florida, in which county do you live? I would be glad to check with a Master Gardener in that county to see what is recommended.

      The University of Florida’s “Herbs in the Florida Garden” says that herbs like full sun so it could be that your sage is tired of the shade, kind of like this past winter when it was drab and cold and we just needed to get some sun and warmth. I’ll see what I can find out and see if it truly is, forgive the pun, sage advice.

      • evan @ nerditry permalink
        May 3, 2010 2:43 pm

        Melissa, in Orlando.

        The odd thing is that the sage was thriving in comparison to everything else from seed (herbs). They get sun from afternoon to evening.

        My last effort is going to be putting (small) containers on the roof of my patio which gets more direct sun.

        • Melissa permalink
          May 5, 2010 3:34 pm

          I heard back from Ed Thralls with the Orange County Extension. He’s a really great guy and wonderful source of knowledge! Here’s what he says:

          “For the gentleman who lives in Orlando, during the cool season, most vegetables can take some shade. However, in the warm season, those vegetables that grow above ground such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, cucumbers, etc. — it is recommended that a minimum of six hours of sun be available.

          “Those vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage, collards, mustard, etc. that grow during the cooler season can adjust very well to some shade.

          “I believe water will be the problem with the sage at this time of year. Most herbs will do well with less water than vegetables, often to the point of drying out between irrigation events. When watering herbs and vegetables, keep the water off the leaves as much as possible. Once the rainy season begins, many herbs will not perform well, especially with high humidity and high temperatures at night. It would be better if the herbs could get morning sun and afternoon shading (but not full shade).”

  7. May 3, 2010 4:04 pm

    Good luck!

    I’m a total newbie at this too, also hoping that I can turn my black thumb to green this year. I’m doing weekly updates on my blog and so far so good. I’m crossing my fingers and winging it. I’m finding that the faster/better things grow, the more obsessed I am and it makes it easier to get out there and water, etc.

    • Melissa permalink
      May 3, 2010 4:28 pm

      Thanks, Karen. I feel the same way; if it goes well I’m already thinking about the other things I want to try. Good luck to you!

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