Newbie Gardening Lessons Learned

Carrots need to be thinned early and aggressively. I didn’t do this early enough and my carrots grew twisted around each other. The few carrots that did manage to grow without being completely misshapen, didn’t taste very good. I have been most disappointed with my carrots.

Even Cherry tomatoes need a cage. I assumed the plants would be small enough not to require any special rig to hold it up. I could not have been more wrong. My tomato plants grew so large so quickly that by the time I realized they needed a cage to hold them up they were growing toward the ground and I was risking breaking them if I tried to get a cage around them.

Dogs will eat cherry tomatoes right off of the vine. My bassets seem to have developed a taste for cherry tomatoes. I can’t keep them away from my plants.
Don’t attempt to plant basil with tomatoes. I read a gardening blog that suggested planting basil with tomatoes would sweeten the flavor of the tomatoes so I attempted it. My sweet basil plants were dwarfed by my tomato plants and died very quickly. The purple basil I planted, however, thrived. I have discovered I do not like the texture or flavor of purple basil but it is beautiful in a pot, especially when it flowers. It has kept bees in my little container garden all through the summer.

Herbs left alone will grow like CRAZY. I planted a few types of Thyme, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena and Oregano together in a pot and I didn’t cut the plants a lot. I left them alone and picked whatever herbs I was going to use that particular day. These herbs have grown like weeds. I am going to harvest a lot of them before the end of summer and freeze them in olive oil for use throughout fall and winter.

Lettuce needs sun. My lettuce crop was great. I will definitely plant it again but likely in a pot to itself. I planted it with my carrots but the carrots blocked all of the sun from the lettuce and it died much sooner than expected.

All in all I think the herbs and tomatoes were my biggest hits of container gardening. I have definitely learned some lessons and I’ll be sure to plan earlier for 2015. I didn’t make plans for a fall or winter garden mostly because I am not supposed to be gardening with my arm in the state it is in but I hope to have some next year. I might make some adjustments and actually set aside some yard space for a garden rather than shoving everything into containers.