June 26, 2011

Within biting distance

Apparently, veggies can appear out of nowhere in a day! While we were exploring Maine today with Danny’s parents, the squash and peas came out. The beans are a little behind, but not by far. They have really pretty little flowers. I imagine we’ll be eating something within a week!

June 19, 2011

First Fruits and Flowers!

We are on our way! The first tomato is about the size of a golf ball. You can’t see in this photo, but in its cluster are two more that are about the size of blueberries.  You can also see additional flowers coming out on the right that will eventually be more delicious fruits! Here’s also the first squash blossom and finally, a pea blossom! The peas are getting almost as tall as the railing. I added another braided support today, but was wondering when we would see something other than vines.

June 12, 2011

Squirrels 5, Elaine 2

We finally made it to the hardware store and found this light aluminum screen material (I think it’s meant to reinforce window and door screens). It comes rolled up like wrapping paper. I cut a piece to fit around the inside edge of the bucket, temporarily moved the compost into another bucket, put the screen inside my regular bin and duck taped it down around the top so that the compost wouldn’t get between the screen and the bucket edge when I roll it around. I suppose that if the squirrels can chew through hard plastic, it would seem likely that a thin aluminum screen would be a piece of cake, but we’ll see. Maybe they won’t be able to get any traction with their gross little teeth.

June 11, 2011

Jungling out

So we’re only on Week 3, and the garden looks great. We got some great tips on how to prune and stake tomatoes from the folks over at Fine Gardening. This was really exciting, as I was left feeling really blah about the completely ugly and HUGE tomato cages out there.  Bottom line: stakes are great! I cut up some light green rags for ties and they blend right in.

June 9, 2011

They found the compost

Pretty disgusting, but did you know squirrels can and WILL chew through hard plastic?? We had a rubbermaid bin outside once for garbage, and they managed to get through that. I thought this paint bucket would be okay, but apparently when you start the holes for them, they can make them bigger. Eeeew! Pepper flakes held them off for a couple of days, but I need to figure something else out.

(FYI, this compost pail was really easy to make. Just find one that has a tight-fitting lid and drill a bunch of holes in it for air circulation. It’s sitting in a plastic plant tray, and when you need to mix, you just roll it around with the lid on. Voila!).

June 8, 2011

Waging war on squirrels

Sad, sad day. The squirrels didn’t even wait for the corn to grow corn. They just went after the apparently delicious stalks and leaves! I can’t believe it. I’ve read that cayenne pepper helps keep them away, but I didn’t have any so in a moment of desperation mixed dish soap with water and some siracha sauce (it’s all I had!). Then someone told me that the siracha sauce probably has sugar in it, which attracted the little buggers even more. So I found some red pepper flakes in my spice cabinet and sprinkled it all over the soil around the corn and even in the leaves a bit. That seemed to work for a few days. Booooooooo squirrels.

June 4, 2011

Supporting the peas

It’s Week 2, and the sugar snap peas are growing daily, but we couldn’t get them to climb the railing as planned… well it turns out that since peas have tendrils, they have to climb horizontal supports and won’t do anything with vertical ones.

This article was super helpful in describing the differences between climbing plants.

I had kitchen string and decided it was kind of ugly, so I braided it. Then we took long pieces and wove them in and out of the railing, with a normal double knot on each end. I thought they might slip, but so far so good. Climb on, little peas!

May 28, 2011

Growing fast!

Okay so perhaps not obvious in this picture, but these plants are growing really fast! The squash in particular are putting out giant new leaves, and the fennel grows from little furry nub to giant fennel feathery leaf within a day. I think the seedlings love that great organic soil from Maine. Who wouldn’t love soil that has blueberries in it??

May 21, 2011

Building the Garden

We decided to go with long cedar planters from Home Depot. I couldn’t figure out if the wood had been treated or not, but I *really* didn’t want to have to build something from scratch… The planters are cedar, which is said to last and help prevent rot, etc. They don’t seem to be constructed terribly well; we had to reinforce the corners with some nails.  Bottom line: for my impatient self, they were ready-made and good enough!

Our seedlings came from Allandale Farm in Brookline, which is convenient in terms of location and selection. We walked out with everything on the list (subbed in summer squash for zucchini) plus organic soil and large gravel. The most exciting find, though, were these little 1″ square rubber feet that go on each corner of the planter to raise it up in a completely subtle way. I was worried that bricks would look really terrible, and these little guys saved the day! We just nailed them onto the bottom of each planter corner.

And in a day, we were set. Corn, green beans, sugar snap peas, summer squash, scallions, cherry tomatoes and heirloom brandywine tomatoes. For herbs we have fennel, dill and basil. I have a feeling that the squirrels are going to give me a hard time with the corn, but we’ll see.

May 14, 2011


I was inspired to start a garden after reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal Vegetable Miracle this winter. If you need convincing, her chapter on asparagus was particularly mesmerizing. Although Barbara had a whole farm to play with, and I live in the middle of Boston, I wanted to give it a shot.

We don’t have a lot of outdoor space, but we do have a decently sized deck. One of the big trees near us fell over during one of the winter snowstorms, which was very sad! But it did give us access to more sunlight along our south-facing railing.

And our container garden was born. Not knowing much of anything about gardening, we wanted to chronicle our first attempt. Welcome to the blog!