Ah Summer

Container Gardening in a Small Space


In the winter my balcony patio is bathed in sunlight that spills into the living room and gives the benefit of passive solar heat. I appreciate the help from the sun and it is noticeably colder on cloudy days. It makes me think what a great place to grow some things in the summer. But in the summer it is a shady patio which makes it a wonderful place to be outside without being sunburned. 

Last year I planted cucumbers, bell peppers, tomatoes, basil, rosemary, and cantaloupe. The cucumbers grew up the railing and created a pleasant shade, pretty yellow flowers and maybe two cucumbers. A spider claimed the basil and it was too cool for the tomatoes to produce more than a handful of very small fruits. The cantaloupe grew but no fruit. Lesson learned. This year the plan was for maybe a tomato, and more flowers. I picked larkspurs because they grow tall and would have enough sun to create shade and privacy and produce pretty flowers, coleus because they would do well in the shadow of the larkspur and have beautiful multicolored foliage and birdhouse gourds because they could cover the railing and maybe produce some gourds I could decorate in a couple of years after they dry out. 

House plant, with coleus, two ivy plants, and the cat's favorite, a spiky plant.

For mother's day, my daughter got me a decorative pot and my son got me a hanging basket of petunias which we picked because of the color, vibrant purple with white spots. The petunia plant is quite large, especially for the small space, but we could not get that lovely variety in a smaller version. I planted a tall spiky plant, a couple of decorative ivy plants and several of the coleus in the decorative pot. It will be very pretty when the coleus plants grow bigger, and if the cat will stop trying to ruin the spiky plant. These both go very well with the flower plan. 

Purple petunias with white spots, 
Then a co-worker gave my son some acorn squash seeds that do well in container gardening. Only 10 seeds. I figured if I planted them maybe three of four would sprout, but they all sprouted. I transplanted some of them which are not doing quite as well as the direct planted ones but all of them grew. Every single seed, I should be so lucky to have that much success from seeds. I also planted two small watermelons, some peppers which I will be moving into larger pots soon. Even though I only planted 5 birdhouse gourd seeds, all of them sprouted too. Because space is limited I will have to string climbing twine and creating hammocks for the acorn squash, mini watermelons, and birdhouse gourds. In addition, I have two tomatoes that are loaded with blooms so maybe we will have tomatoes before too long.    

Acorn Squash

Tomatoes and birdhouse gourds

Yellow and Red Bell Pepper Plants

Larkspur and coleus

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