Starting a Small Veg Garden… starts with a few pots

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Miserable hail storm that coated the deck with ice on April 21st

I’m not sure if it was just me, but April seems to have been colder, and definitely wetter, than March. To avoid the miserable weather, I spent a few days indoors researching and planning what I could plant in a small vegetable garden.

Here in Ontario the garden centres were not open which was my first problem. In fact, I didn’t have many containers or any potting soil (or seeds, for that matter) and so my adventures in veg gardening began.

As of this past weekend, the garden centres are now open. In the meantime, you might find this helpful if you find yourself in the same boat, so I will tell you what I did through the cold weeks of April.

The collection of pots. They are circling the pond in an attempt to keep the blue heron away from the goldfish!

I went through the garden shed and looked for any containers and pots I could find, which I’m afraid wasn’t too many. I have a few large urns to decorate the front door and the back deck. I usually plant flowers in them, but I have decided, for this year, I will see what vegetables can grow in them. This gave me a few urns and a few pots, but not nearly enough to set up a vegetable garden.

In these stay-at-home days, my husband, daughter and I go for a walk every day to get some fresh air and exercise, and much to their dismay, I’m not above garbage picking! I take the mantra Reduce – Reuse – Recycle seriously, and adhere to the saying “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.” In fact, I love a good roadside find! Anyway, it seems once I had this garden idea in my head I couldn’t let it go and I needed more containers, so I set about finding them wherever I could!

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The black storage bin on the front lawn might not be so attractive.

One day, a man was cleaning out his garage and had dragged a large black storage bin on wheels to the end of his driveway. He saw me sizing it up and said he didn’t need it anymore and that I was welcome to take it. I happily thanked him and wheeled that puppy home! I thought, with this bin I could set up a small version of square-foot gardening, which I had read about. Combined with my own urns and pots, I figured it could work and I could grow a few plants. So I thought, I was all set.

A few days later, on another daily walk with my husband, we found a pile of ten large, black 12″ plastic nursery pots at the end of someone’s driveway – perfect! And so we each walked home with our hands full. Later that same day, someone put out an old white coffee table, which when flipped over could hold six of the black pots. My husband added four wheels to the bottom in order for us to be able to wheel it into the best position in the sun. I have been watching the yard to figure out where it can catch at least 6-8 hours of sunshin-y goodness. The cold, overcast weather sure hasn’t helped, but the best place seems to be in our front yard. The table with six pots and the storage bin on wheels are now placed out front (though I’m not sure I’m very happy with how it looks…).

I plan to have a climbing plant, like peas or beans, grow and climb up the fence. I have moved the two urns to either side of the gate leading to the back yard. Plus, added one black pot close to the fence in the front flower bed .

The urns for flowers will be potted with veg this year.

In the backyard there are three urns on the deck. The rest of the black pots are in the perennial beds, positioned  wherever they can fit and still get the most sun. The backyard is shady and gets less sun, approximately 5-7 hours.  In April we have had more cloudy days then sunny.  I am not sure if I have the number of hours of sunlight correct, but I do know that the backyard has more shade than the front.  So another part of this experiment will be to see which part of the property grows vegetables best.

Not bad, I have now cobbled together enough containers between what I had on hand and found items to create a container vegetable garden. Perfect!

Now all I need to do is to find some soil and some seeds. Stay tuned and stay safe!


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