This is our third take on container gardening. You’d think we’d learn to start early, but no. We just never seem to get around to planning ahead when it comes to gardening. This season we tried a variety of techniques.

In February, I had a craving for La Madeleine’s tomato basil soup. I tried to make it myself so I went off to find some fresh basil. By the way, it just doesn’t make sense to buy a tub of basil leaves for a recipe. Why not go for the plant if it’s available? For the same price or cheaper, you can get a little basil plant even at the grocery store nowadays and maintain it to last all season! We got this little plant at Whole Foods for $1.99 and after picking enough for the recipe, and waiting until it stayed warm for at least a week, we planted it. (The soup was terrible, by the way, probably because I was lazy and used canned tomatoes and still added salt. Oops).

Now if we can just be proactive and remember to prune it correctly so it won’t be so top-heavy…

As we were pulling out our planters from the shed, I remembered I had all these from last year. Again, we’ve been lazy about pre-ordering heirloom seeds this year.  We scored these packets at Walgreens when they went on sale 5/$1 last year, and they worked pretty well in our last place.

I never updated on our last gardening endeavor since we moved a few months later.  While the pumpkins, melons, carrots and peppers were well on their way by mid summer, we came home one day to find that the landlord had covered our “garden” with one of those ugly, weed-controlling carpet looking pieces. The nerve! The bucket of carrots and peppers we left for the new neighbors. I wonder if they ever harvested them…

Since it was the first week of March, and we had plenty of time to do a trial run (in case the seeds are too old and none of them sprout) we gathered all the supplies. Yes, those are egg cartons with eggshells. I had a huge stack I’d been saving after seeing this on pinterest.

I tried to follow the instructions about spacing the seeds properly, but sometimes I went a little crazy since it often happens that many don’t sprout. This is an experiment  anyway, right? Isn’t this quote from the Book of Psalms on the egg carton great?

I did one carton of parsley and two of cilantro. I LOVE cilantro and we use it so often in the summer, especially for Tommy’s salsa.

Then I decided I wanted flowers for Easter and that I could decorate with cute potted flowers inside our home.

So this was probably not the right way at all to go about garden planning. For all I know we weren’t frost-cleared yet, but it had been so warm since February that I just couldn’t help myself!

Fast forward a month or so. . .

Yeah… that’s supposed to be all my cilantro… and as far as the parsley, there’s nothing to show. I kept finding gnats around my little seedlings and I ought to have poked holes with a needle on the bottom so the water could drain rather than sit and invite those pesky gnats to breed. Eew. I justify my lack of action by believing that the seeds were probably too old to sprout, especially since those bags had been opened last year.

Come on little one! Grooooooow! (I cheered so much for that boy for two weeks!). 

I had to save the babies… so I planted them in bigger pots. Only one survived the transplant. The eggshells didn’t give much room for long roots. Duly noted.

They’re reaching out now! There’s my one baby cilantro in the front, and a jalapeno pepper (Tommy’s- he planted it straight in the pot the first time) in the back. Only one of each to show for the sweat of our brow this year… On the flower front, however, there’s been more success. It probably has to do with those packets having been unopened unlike the herb and vegetable ones. Here are my booming morning glories! I’m trying to train them to wrap around that post for now until I decide where I want them permanently. Now don’t be deceived by the picture. That herb back there is store-bought cilantro. We needed some right away. I’m impatient, so I decided to have a backup and we bought a little plant. Also, I can’t claim the glory for the little “impatients” (perfect for me, right?)  back there. I bought those babies for $0.88 each and transplanted them to brighten up our porch and inside our home.

This is more like my actual progress: slow but steady! I know it says aloe on there but those are something else- cosmos? I forgot. The one next to it has zero growth. Ditto for a few other pots which shall remain unseen…

Soon we will need to transplant again. We want to garden in the little patch between our side of the duplex house and the neighbor’s.

If I’m feeling generous I may plant the Easter hydrangeas right on there, but I’m not sure about that. I might just place the pot there once I transplant them. I want to bring those with me to the next place (oh in 2-3 years or so?).

I got the OK from the landlord to use that area and clear the weeds. Maybe this summer (if we’re not lazy) we’ll do it. Plus we’ve got to put our amazing compost to put to good use. We have a large designated area in the woods where we’ve been composting since we moved in. We keep a giant pyrex close by at all times to catch all our stuff (like coffee grounds, orange peels, uneaten salad or shreds from my carrot cake baking). You can seriously compost from stuff all around the house!

All in all you get what you put in, right? Now that I’m putting in more pre-grown store plants maybe I can play catch up. So there you have it: container gardening the wrong way. Too bad I didn’t read this before I started. At least my lazy way still yields some results!