Beyond the Kitchen tips

One Pot Spring Garden

One Pot Spring Garden

There are a few reasons why you should read this post.

1.  I’m no gardener, but with a team of friends and experts, I might have just created a successful one pot garden… you can too!

2.  While this post may not be filled with butter and sugar, it is still a nice distraction from work, right!?

3.  I’m drinking wine and I’ve got a mild degree of writers block.  I’m bound to get a little punchy and make you laugh at some point.  Yes?

This year’s Spring garden… ok, my first Spring garden ever… was inspired by two things: my undying adoration of summer tomatoes and my utter annoyance at the high price of said tomatoes.

So here we are, talking tomatoes. Not just any tomatoes, but peak of the season summer tomatoes.  Besides my gradual fake tanning lotion, they might just be the best thing about the summer months.

The truth is, there’s a reason that this blog isn’t called Joy the Gardener.  I kill just about everything I put in dirt.  It’s a classic case of over enthusiasm and waaaaay too much water.  I over water and kill my plants, a fact that is sad but true.

This Spring I’ve got help.  My Mom happens to be an amazing gardener… she also happens to be retired, which leaves her plenty of time for nursery trips to counsel me on which fertilizer is best and why.  Then there’s my darling friend Rachael.  She’s blonde, beautiful, hilarious, and is oh-so-generous with the crap ton of knowledge she has about growing tomatoes.  With these two on my team, my garden can’t fail!  Now I just need someone to keep the watering can away from me.

If I can grow a tomato garden on the tiny balcony of my Los Angeles apartment, you can too.  Here’s the skinny:

One Pot Spring Garden

One Pot Spring Garden

One Pot Spring Garden

I headed out to the nursery with my Mom.  It turns out… there are a TON of plants at a nursery… most of them being green.  It might have been hard for me to find what I needed, had it not been for my Mom.  It’s not that things are hard to find, it’s just that I’m not tremendously plant literate.

I had a very specific  One Pot Garden list.  If you want to play along, here’s what you’ll need

1 tomato plant  (Mine is a black cherry tomato plant.. thanks Rachael!)

1 basil plant

1 marjoram plant

1 parsley plant

1 nasturtium plant

1 giant bag of  Dr. Earth Organic Potting Soil

1 small bag of organic vegetable fertilizer of some sort.  I used GroBetter All-Purpose Organic Fertilizer.

I stake to tie your tomato plant to as it grows

1 giant pot and saucer.  Mine is about 15-inches tall and with a 15-inch diameter.  I used a plastic pot because it’s much lighter and it helps keep the moisture in the soil.

One Pot Spring Garden

One Pot Spring Garden

Here’s what I did:

Fill the pot about two thirds full with the potting soil.  Sprinkle with organic fertilizer as directed on the bag.  Water just to moisten the soil.  Fertilizer isn’t one of those things that you want to touch with your hands.  It’s just not a good idea.  Grab some gloves or use a scooper.

Arrange the plants in the pot, still in their plastic containers, just so you can see where everything will go.

Remove the plants from their tiny plastic containers and gently loosen the bottom of the soil, loosening their roots.  Set in place on top of the potting soil and fertilizer.  Using a large cup for scooping, place more potting soil around the plants.  Sprinkling with just a bit more fertilizer as you go.  Firmly press the potting soil and plants into the pot and add more potting soil.  You won’t fill the pot to the brim with potting soil.  Fill the pot with soil until you’re about three inches from the brim.  Water generously and set in a sunny spot.

Set the stake to the side and use it when the tomato plant starts to get too talk to grow up on its own.

One Pot Spring Garden

Fun facts:

Tomatoes like loads of sunlight.  Don’t be afraid to put your new garden in a spot that gets at least seven hours of direct sunlight.  Your plants will love it.

Check to see if your pot needs watering by sticking your finger into the soil.  The soil should be moist and cool.  If it feels a little dry, water away… otherwise, just leave it be.

Why put all those plants in one pot!?  It turns out that all those plants work together like a team.  Whether its keeping pests away, or replenishing the soil with nutrients, all the plants in that one pot are extremely happy.  And!  Nastrutium flowers are edible.  They’re a a great, peppery addition to a salad!

Having a little garden is unbelievably satisfying.  I sit on my otherwise uninviting balcony sometimes just to watch my plants grow.  Now my balcony is like a bonus room.   I also run my fingers through the leaves of my growing tomato plant to get that fresh tomato smell on my hands.  Yes, dorky but true.

Even if you live in a tiny apartment, as long as you have a space with loads of sunlight, you can have a coy little one pot garden!  It’s true!  It makes life better! Let’s do this together!

More tomato posts and garden updates to come.