Sunday, April 3, 2011

V is for Victory Garden

Well spring is officially here in Texas and I have finally gotten my porch garden in good working order. This year I am dubbing my porch the "Victory Garden" not because I have the idea that we're going to go into a food shortage or that it's a great throwback to older times, it's going to be a Victory Garden because this year I am determined to overcome my arch nemesis - the mealybug....

For those not familiar with the mealybug it is an evil white little fuzzy creature that can infest plants and multiply rather rapidly. They're a huge problem in container gardening here in Texas and this year I am determined to keep them at bay with constant pruning, checking of the leaves, and spraying with a natural repellent when they do appear. Anyways enough talk about awful bugs on to garden photos and discussion of what I have planted!

Gardening is a very personal thing. Everyone has their own method, secrets, and ideas on how to achieve success. I by no means am an expert gardener, but I have kept a garden in this space for the past 5 years and will continue to until we move. Over the years I've learned my lessons on what areas get more shade and which get more heat in the summer. 

Our Porch!
As you can see from this photo, I've only got about 40 square feet to work with which can be a challenge. When planning out what I wanted to grow this year I decided to focus on three specific things.
  • Production Level
    • I chose certain vegetable plants based on how high of a yield I expected from the crop. For instance our two Black Beauty Eggplant will hopefully be high yielding. I also have three varieties of tomatoes right now with two more varieties on the way. The hanging tomatoes I purchased because they were already in steady production of small red cherry tomatoes and should continue to yield a crop throughout the rest of the summer. Even though we do not have an ideal space for a hanging plant, I was able to attach it to the trellis we will hopefully be using for cucumber (that are yet to be planted... whoops!) Our two other tomatoes which I planted last weekend are also already producing fruit which is very exciting because I have not tried these varieties before. 
    • Sometime this week we should have Green Zebra and Black Cherry tomato plants as well as Nepalese Bell Chili Pepper plants arriving from JBF Farms on Etsy. This is the first time I have ordered live tomatoes from a farm on Etsy before so I am quite excited for them to arrive. JBF has had a great selection of tomato starts as well as unusual varieties of peppers and eggplant. 
    • In addition to the tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers, I have also planted tomatillo plants. For those not familiar with tomatillos they are one of the main ingredients used in many salsa recipes. The easiest way to describe them is a cross between a tomato and a pepper. They have round fruit with thin husks surrounding it and have a unique flavor. I have planted two this year, hoping that they will be enough for harvesting to make some home made salsa this summer. This is the first time I have grown tomatillos in a container so it should be pretty entertaining.
    Black Beauty Eggplant
    Mi Roma Italian Tomato
    Rambling Boy Striped Tomato
    Blooms of the Tomatillo
    • We also have a large start of rosemary, oregano, basil (which is still inside), and mint for our kitchen garden. I am hoping to start some more seeds for a kitchen herb garden sometime this week. I would really love to make home made pesto some time this summer! My goal is to avoid purchasing as many herbs from the store as possible due to the high cost these days.
  • Color
    • I love color. When plotting out my garden this year I wanted to choose some brightly colored floral plants that would accent the rest of the vegetables while also being able to cope with the extreme heat here in Texas. Below are just a few of what I have planted, I will do more posts later featuring individual plants (when I get good photos of course).
    Lantana are great for attracting butterflies
    Mr. Flamingo and the Bougainvillea
  • Family Favorites
  • Maybe we will get Strawberries this year?
    • These include some of my favorite things to grow each year like strawberries, mint, "shrimp plants" (will post photos once he blooms so you can get a better idea of what that means) as well as unusual varieties of peppers for my husband. 
This is all for now! I have so many other blog posts to catch up on too. Yesterday we went to the Round Top Antiques Festival and a blast! Will hopefully do a post on all the goodies I purchased there soon. Hope all of you lovely readers have had a great weekend, I'm now off to get some stuff for work done! Feel free to share some of your summertime favorites in your garden as well. I'm always looking for new ideas.


  1. this has me so raring to get to work on my garden this year. Just a few more weeks and then the ground will be thawed! Those black beauty eggplants sound intriguing! my goals are to have a kitchen garden this year (we only had tomatoes and strawberries. I want peppers, eggplants, maybe some zucchinis, peas, beans, who knows what else) and to work on more of an English flower garden feel at the front and sides of the house. May try my hand at growing roses! Lots to research first, I'm sure!

  2. Great post! This is my first year gardening and I already have a whole front and back yard to contend with. I think this year I might have to just keep with the plants my mom helped me with, and other than that just try to get the grass to grow right. The people before had some funky stuff going on that we had to rip out (cement circles and giant rocky areas???) Anyhoo, GO VICTORY GARDEN!!

  3. YAY this looks great! I need to totally get in on this container gardening thing! WAY to Go!

  4. oh I love so much garden pictures. Your plants and flowers seem quite happy and healthy in your little place.

  5. Your garden looks great! I also have problems with mealybugs. They infested all my broccoli and brussle sprouts a few years back so bad we had to rip the plants out and throw them away. They already managed to some how get in our greenhouse this year but I am armed with a spray bottle of organic bug spray and ready to battle! Oh how I hate those little buggers.