This is the final post looking at what we are planning to do in the Demo Garden this year. From here on out, we will be looking at what’s already been growing while I’ve still been catching up on the garden planning posts.
Most years we do either flowers or herbs in the containers. This year we are planting a mixture of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in all the containers. Hopefully they will be both productive and attractive!
Most of the containers have been planted to lettuces, radishes, peas, and pansies for the spring time. Over the next several weeks, they will be giving way to the summer plantings which include tomatoes, peppers, herbs, eggplant, basils, chard, zinnias, begonias, and much more. Here’s a look at the plans for a couple of the different areas.
One thing that I think will be very interesting to see is the On the Deck Sweet Corn variety. It was developed for containers, but usually small plantings of corn do not pollinate well. It will be one of the the unique things to see for sure.
Just for fun, here’s a picture of one of the container groupings in the spring planting layout.
This picture is from a couple years ago before the renovation. This mature thyme plant was in full bloom! I miss the herb garden area, so I’m excited that we are going to have some mass plantings of herbs in a few different locations this year.
As I wrote in an earlier post, a section of Bed 1 will be basils. (The rest is tomatoes.) We will also be planting thyme as an under-planting in Bed 7, where our grape trellis will be. The grape will start small, so the thyme will take up the rest of the space to start with. We still have a bunch of perennial herbs in Bed 8, and then we are also going to do the big Smart Pot and a few smaller pots with herbs this summer.
Bed 1: Basils
- Thai Siam Queen
- Red Genovese
- Red Large Leaf Lettuce
Each of the 4′ square areas will have 3 varieties. The Thai and Corsican basils will be in the center. Then the two red basils will be planted around them. (Interestingly, we found 3 or 4 different catalogs advertising the “New” red Genovese basil, but each one had a different name for it. Same picture though…) Then the Minimum and Pistou basils will be along the edges. The ‘Minimum’ variety is supposed to have a more trailing habit, like thyme. That should be a different look for a basil!
Bed 7: Thymes
- Spicy Orange
- Variegated Lemon
We will be planting a grape at some point in the little triangular bed, once the trellis is in place. However, it won’t be using much space to start with, so we are going to have some thyme planted underneath and around the grape. A number of the varieties are your usual suspects – English, French, Lemon, Summer. The ‘Spicy Orange’ will be something a little different. (Usually we end up with the ‘Orange Balsam’ variety.) We also have 3 fairly unique varieties – Caraway, Nutmeg, and Rose-Scented. Basically, these are all thymes that have a strong scent or flavor of another herb or spice rather than just a variation on the regular thyme scent and flavor. It should be fun to have all of them in the garden!
Other Herbs for Containers:
- Sweet Aztec
- ‘Candy’ Stevia
- Ginger Mint
- Tri-color Sage
- Pineapple Sage
- Lemon Verbena
- Cinnamon Basil
- Apple Scented Geranium
- Bronze Fennel
- Summer Savory
- French Tarragon
- Anise Hyssop
- Red Rubin Basil
- Spicy Globe Basil
- Cardinal Basil
A few of these herbs will be replacing plants that didn’t make it through the winter in the perennial herb garden. The rest will be going into containers. We haven’t really done herbs in containers in the last 5 years, and they should do well because they don’t love tons of water. Our containers can get pretty dry during the heat of the summer.
That’s it for herbs this year! We still have a few miscellaneous areas to cover on planning, and then we will be getting ready to start seeds!
Yesterday, Jeremy Johnson from Johnson’s Garden Centers brought us some new toys to play with in the Demo Garden this year!
These are 3 “Smart Pots,” pots for container gardening or hydroponic gardening that are made out of a thick landscape/weed barrier type fabric rather than plastic or clay. The website touts the many benefits of these containers, including the ability to use heavier soils (cheaper potting mixes), cooler temperatures in the heat of summer (seems counter-intuitive, since they are black…), and better aeration & drainage for the roots. The fabric pots are also supposed to improve root pruning, preventing plants from becoming root bound.
The three pots you see above are 15 gallons, 30 gallons, and 100 gallons. Yeah, that’s big! The 100 gallon pot is probably about the equivalent of a 4×4 raised bed. The only thing to decide now (other than where in the garden they will be tucked in), is what to plant in them! Tomatoes…cucumbers…peppers…oh my!