Saturday, May 29, 2010

On deck

Too many seedlings + extra pots lying around + extra potting soil = Deck Garden. This year I'm growing about ten times as many things in pots as I usually do. It's just so easy, and it looks so nice. Right now I've got a lot of transplants hardening off outside as well, just waiting for a cool evening when I don't work to put them in the ground.

In pots I have cabbage, basil, eggplant, zinnias, peppers, daisies, geraniums, thyme, sage, rosemary, spearmint, parsley and peppermint. Plus an Easter Lilly given to me as a gift last month. Will it live if I plant it outside?

For transplants I have tomatoes (that need watering), zucchini, cantaloupe, cosmos, lemonbalm, and more basil and peppers. Plus extra cabbage, eggplant, onions and brussels sprouts that I have no more room for in the garden. My dairy farm friends told me they would take anything extra that I had. Which is great, because I hate having anything go to waste.

Quick question -- do eggplants need support? As you can see, I have part of an old baby gate propped up near my eggplants. They are a miniature variety, good for containers. I assumed that they need climbing support. Am I wrong?

I planted my wax beans last week, plus a few scarlet runner beans that I stole from a friend's garden last fall. I need to do some straw mulching under my potatoes, peas and lettuce, plus lay down black plastic mulch where I'll be planting my tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and cantaloupe.

Part of me doesn't want to use the plastic in the garden, while the other part of me wants to see if it does help keep down the weeds while warming the soil. Maybe I'll just use it until mid-summer, when the soil is plenty warm and the plants are large enough to shade the weeds out themselves. Then perhaps put in a straw mulch. Any thoughts?


Erin said...

My eggplant grew very bushy and erect on strong stems, I found they only needed a basic support once the fruit was heavy and as extra protection in wind. I used those screw type metal stakes but a simple stick with the main stem tied on would suffice, they don't "climb". They are actually really tidy looking plants, like peppers or bush beans, good luck with your deck garden!

Mama Pea said...

My eggplants have never been "climbers." As Erin said, they grow in a fairly compact bush much the same as peppers. Mine have never even needed staking (probably because the fruit never got that big up here near the frozen tundra!) but I can see if the fruit was big and heavy, staking might be a good idea because of wind damage.

That's one heck of a deck garden you got going there, lady! Looks great.

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

Beautiful deck garden--probably closer to the kitchen too for pinching off an ingredient here or there!
The black plastic works wonderfully to warm and kill weeds. Once the weeds are gone you can use black landscape fabric (some light and hydration will get through), which will still cook the soil somewhat until you are ready to plant there.
I love the thick straw for walkways and non-planted places.

Thistledog said...

Concur on the eggplant - it's a bushy grower needing only a little stake perhaps to prevent wind toppling. As for the black plastic, though it doesn't sound real "green" it does have its merits. I'm a fan of the landscape fabric, which is also probably made of petrochemicals...yeesh. Here in SoCal we have lots of slugs and snails, and I have no ducks or chickens to feast on them, so I'm careful with the mulch. Using unfinished compost on my one bed so far, working great.

The French Zucchini are flowering! My mouth is watering, it's been so long since we had fresh veggies from the garden.

Corinne said...

I love the baby gate... adds a touch of character and gives a peek into the world inside the house.

The deck garden looks great!

Anonymous said...

Seriously? Why would you want to grow an eggplant? I serve them at the Olive Garden, and they are bland, yucky things! We have to cover them with parmigan (sp?) breading and fry them for them to even be edible and even then they're tasteless! Give up on them, girl and go on to something else!

Jo said...

Hi Erin -- Thanks for the help. I'm really looking forward to seeing what actually happens with these eggplants. The fruit is so pretty!

Hey Mama Pea -- The fruit of this variety is supposed to be small, so maybe I can get away with not staking, like you do. Thanks for the advice.

Hello Liz -- I still have the silverline melons to plant, and I'm toying with the idea of just using a smallish (2'x2') square of the black plastic just around the plant. Much easier to handle, and I've heard that melons really like the extra warm soils. We'll see!

Hi Thistledog! In MN we don't have much in the realm of slugs and snails, guess it is just too dry. Good to hear the zucchini are flowering! I'd love to see some photos when they start producing!

Hello Corinne -- Yes, I thought so too! I knew keeping all these extra things (baby gates, broken totes, etc.) would come in handy. Thanks!

Hey Karen! The eggplants you serve at Olive Garden must be the bland, commercially produced kind that are grown for transportation rather than flavor. It's true they don't have a lot of bold taste, but I know a lot of people that grow them in their garden and LOVE them, so I'm willing to give it a go! It's fun to experiment!