The last couple summers, I’ve grown basil and other herbs in my kitchen window box (Just do a quick search in my search box, there are several posts about it). Basil, especially, has always done really well in there. This summer however, we decided to try doing bigger container gardens outside the front of our apartment. We started last January with growing all our plants from seeds–cucumbers, green peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, rosemary, cilantro, basil and parsley.
We had a couple seeds that either didn’t sprout or didn’t make it, but most of our plants did really well for the several months that they were inside. Once they outgrew their tiny little seed pots, we re-planted them in 5-gallon plastic buckets. Drew drilled several holes in the bottom of each bucket for drainage.
Once it warmed up outside, we slowly transitioned each plant outside, letting them stay for a few days underneath the small porch roof in front of our house, so that they could slowly get used to the outside environment.
Several weeks later, we ended up with our only crop of the season, this one tiny cucumber:
We made sure they got enough sun and watered them every evening or two, but after being outside for a month or so, they all just sort-of stopped growing or started to shrivel up. I know the New Orleans summer sun is pretty brutal, but other people’s plants survive here? I’m not sure exactly what the problem was. The sun was too direct? Too hot on them after being inside so long? They didn’t have adequate drainage? We didn’t fertilize them?
I was traveling a lot this summer, so I can’t say I was the absolute most attentive plant mom, but they definitely weren’t neglected and Drew looked out for them while I was out of town. I just don’t know why they weren’t at least slightly more successful. I grew up in the country and my family always planted a huge vegetable garden that I would help out with, but this was my first time trying containers. I’m used to the Illinois planting season, but still new to when to plant outside in New Orleans. Maybe I should have just gotten them outside a lot sooner, so they got used to being outside before it got so hot?
This is what they looked like as of today, right before I dumped them out:
They obviously look bad here, I hadn’t even touched them the last several months since they stopped growing/producing anything for me. But see those green peppers in the front? They weren’t even dead, but hadn’t grown even an inch the last five months they’ve spent outside!
Anyone else had success with container gardens? Any fellow New Orleanian gardeners? Any advice for me?
When I was 14, I moved to St. Louis, MO for the summer to live with my older sister and be a nanny to my baby niece, Evie. Often on Saturday mornings, we would get up and go walk around and get fresh produce from the Soulard farmers market. I have many fond memories of that summer, farmers market included.
Just a couple weekends ago, Drew and I tried out the Saturday farmers market in New Orleans. I had wanted to go for a while, we just hadn’t because it is downtown, not close to our house, and only open for a couple hours on Saturday morning. Saturday morning is Drew’s day to sleep in and then get fresh croissants from the Patisserie upon waking at 2 in the afternoon. ;) It was much smaller than I expected (not anything like I remember from St. Louis), but it was definitely worth waking up earlier for.
We ended up with a bouquet of fresh cut zinnias, creole tomatoes, fresh peaches, blueberries and several pots of fresh herbs to plant in our windowbox. Everything we bought was delicious. It so makes me miss living in the country and having a garden! For the city, it’s the next best thing.
With all the fresh blueberries we have, I’ve made blueberry walnut muffins with fresh lemon zest several times the last two weeks! So delicious! This muffin recipe is really great. My mom always uses this recipe too and it can easily be adapted for whatever kind of muffins you want to make.
blueberry walnut muffins with fresh lemon zest (or whatever kind you want to make)
-1 3/4 cup flour
-1/3 cup sugar
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp salt
-3/4 cup milk
-1/4 cup oil
-1 beaten egg
-3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I like nuts, so I usually use closer to 1 cup)
-fresh zest from 1 lemon (or less, according to taste)
-reduce milk above to 1/2 cup
-3/4 cup mashed bananas
-1/2 cup chopped walnuts or other nuts (again I use more like 1 cup)
-3/4 cup diced peaches
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups.
2. Mix dry ingredients together.
3. Mix wet ingredients together in separate bowl.
4. Add wet ingredients into dry and add in fruit/nut mix-ins. Stir just until moistened. Batter should be lumpy.
**Important–do not overmix your muffin dough or your muffins won’t be as fluffy and will have a tougher texture.
5. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
P.S. Don’t those peaches look fabulous in that yellow bowl? I love that bright sunny pop of yellow in the kitchen! That bowl, along with the rest of its set in different colors, was a wedding gift from my friend, Jessica. Love them! :)
One of the first things that I did after we moved into our apartment last summer was plant the window box outside the kitchen window. I grew flowers and herbs in it all summer and then took the herbs out and moved them inside during the winter. Although, it never actually got all that cold here this winter, they possibly could have survived out there all year long. Anyway, I still have my basil growing in a small planter on the breakfast table in the kitchen, so I decided for now just to plant some colorful flowers in my window box this spring. We are thinking about adding another window box to the other kitchen window to put herbs in.
It has been warm here in New Orleans for a while now and today seemed like the perfect day to do a little planting. I just wish we had more of a yard to actually be able to plant more things! We’ve thought about building a raised garden bed in the front yard of our apartment to grow vegetables in, but aren’t sure if we want to spend the money building it for our temporary housing here. We might though. I’ll keep you posted if we do. For now, flowers will have to suffice.
Marigolds, Vinca, Petunias, and Dahlias. So colorful and pretty! Oh and how cute is my little watering can?! I picked that little guy up from the value aisle at Target the other day for $2.50. It is the perfect size for watering the window box and the other indoor plants I have. I love spring! :)
Any of you doing any planting lately? Enjoying the warmer weather?
Oh and in case you noticed, that is just paint all over my hands. I was mural painting this morning!