Friday, September 27, 2013

Wintering A Container Garden

Wintering A Container Garden

Preparing A Patio Garden For Winter.

Container herbs can come indoors if needs be.
My struggling herbs just came in the house. This is a temporary spot for them until I rearrange some things outside.  I had to make a mess of my kitchen for a minute but I am looking at ways I can winter certain garden plants that are hardy enough to live on past a season. Herbs, tomatoes, and my peppers to be specific. 

Technically this way of growing plants is Bonzai. Confining them to small containers but still letting them grow big enough to produce edible items. 

My little patio does not get enough lighting to create large plants so I get to play in this miniature garden of mine. I want to secure and protect these little friends. Yes, they are my friends. I do talk to them when I have a few moments to admire them for staying with me. I'm considering using some of these in different methods but for now they can sit in my living room as house plants. That Basil plant smells really good!

Winter temperatures here in Las Vegas can get into the 20's so I need to get them ready to face cold weather. Last year I lost several pepper plants that were around 4 years old because I left them outdoors and unprotected. This year I learned my lesson. They will get blanketed over night in temperatures above freezing and brought into my home if we are having a spell of frost. 

In areas that are not as fortunate as we are with the weather, fields and garden plots have been tilled over and had straw added to them for wintering. The plant material left in the dirt will decompose and become nutrients for the next planting. In the meantime they will sit dormant.

A strawberry plant from last year that is still growing and enduring through my neglecting it. You can see it only has 4 leaves on it  at the moment. It is now in a violet pot that is self watering. 

Banana Pepper - Sept 19th 2013
My schedule gets hectic or I get distracted and this poor garden is wondering what the heck! I am so guilty of being garden lazy sometimes. If you are like most people that get that garden bug, we get jazzed about it for the first 2 weeks and then let the fascination fade away. No matter what these plants need to be tended to and watered regularly to survive, whether you are enthused or not, and even after they are not producing. Thankfully most of my plants are at least living so I didn't do too bad. I am getting better. Most of the things I grow are pretty tough. This marks the 4th year of my patio gardening in Las Vegas.

A small lavender is still with me and I think I am going to use it as a Bonsai tree. It looks the right texture and height. I have a tiny set of starters I planted from seed - a parsley, an oregano, and a set of 4 almost microscopic chive onions still clinging on to life so I want to give them a chance to live. It was time to bust them out of their peat pots, since they are still trying to stay with me. I scrubbed down the containers and ever so carefully removed them from their soil and starter pots, and set them into root starter. I am hoping the mixture will give them a good boost and help them return to a healthier state. 

I moved my larger oregano and basil to the corner of the living room after giving them a little spruce up. These are just the small plants I have. I have several other large pots I will discuss in a later post. If this looks a little odd, bare with me. There is a plan unfolding.

For lighting I have a lamp with an incandescent bulb that I will set over these plants to give them something until I secure a vita-light system. I have torn down my drip irrigation system because I am looking at ways to recapture the water used for the plants. The new neighbors gave me the eye of death when they were moving in a few months ago and the over flow from the plant containers was running down the deck dripping onto their patio. (Oops --Sorry!) I hope they don't blame me with the rain water dripping down...

Winter will give me time to remedy this issue and I am either going to move or alert my apartment manager to the issue and have them fix the deck and seal and water proof it. Now, this idea is still on the drawing board. I have a few plans drawn out, I just need to set the pieces up and see what works best. My system has been about 4 years in development and when I get all the information I need to make it work the way I want it to, I will let you know what is successful. 

I am also looking into Aquaponic gardening when I get the opportunity to secure the materials I need. This is still on my list of things to do at the moment.

The way I have arranged my garden is similar to what I would use in survival mode in a secure location after a bug out. Bringing seeds with me in my bug out bag will enable me to start this process as soon as I know the last frost is over where ever I settle. I would need to water them a bit every few days to keep them growing. 

The idea would be to keep a tomato, a pepper, and a small container of onions on hand. If needs be these can be taken with me if I keep them small enough. This is the next phase of my garden come Spring 2014...