Veggies in a Pot

Over my cup of tea this morning I was reading some of the Blogs I’m following, when a photograph of Danny’s  freshly planted baby basil just leapt off the screen at me.  It wasn’t just that my brain sent immediate messages to my nose – oh the tangy, peppery smell of fresh basil, almost wearable, in my opinion – or to my taste buds, but that I was overcome with a terrible nostalgia to be planting out seedlings for a herb and veggie garden of my own.

Nostalgia for a Veggie Garden? you ask.  If you want one so much, why haven’t you planted one?  Laziness, basically.  Without some chill in the air, herbs and vegetables grow so quickly they tend to get leggy – they can become a bit tough, and taste a little bitter – and before you know it, they’ve gone to seed and exhausted themselves.  Along the way, they fall prey to any number of  fungal diseases, are ravaged overnight by giant snails, and a sudden downpour can wash them out or inflict a terminal  battering in just a few minutes.   Given this scenario,  I had given in to the ultimate excuse:  not enough sunshine.   Truth to tell, I had failed to use my imagination to find, or create,  a sunny spot to grow some herbs, never mind a lone tomato plant, or a small cucumber vine, and lettuce, I thought: no way.

The Salad Pot Experiment at the back door. Herbs in the upper pot - they can manage with less water, and salad greens - single-head lettuces and perpetual picking lettuces - in the pot below.


Now, I’m not a seasoned vegetable grower, like my Papa, but I did learn from him, and took over his beloved patch when it became impossible for him to continue cultivating it himself.   When time became too scarce for that, I did, for a few years, conduct a salad experiment in a pot near the back door.

Danny obviously had a problem finding a sunny spot in his garden – or perhaps he has only a balcony garden – because he was seeking advice about whether, in addition to his herb pots,  he could also grow veggies in a pot.  I was galvanised.  I had to answer his question – immediately, and in as much detail as I could so he might achieve success.

And that excitement got me questioning myself, why not?.   Now, you wouldn’t think that finding a sunny spot would be a problem in the tropics, but sunshine is anathema, and our houses are designed wherever possible, to avoid letting even a ray of sunshine in.  The architect of my present house has scored an almost perfect ten, including siting the house on the block so that the garden too is shady.  It is an oasis of relative cool, which presents its problems for the budding veggie grower.

Undeterred now, and fired with enthusiasm to overcome this obstacle,  I made a pact with myself:  I will be eating my own basil, and parsley, at least, within three months.  Seeds?  I brought a dozen or so packets with me from Australia – so I have a wide choice to suit several situations.  And now I’ve completed my examination of  the house and surrounds, and I’ve  identified  exactly which patches – a few square inches here, a little more there – will receive  sufficient sun to allow for at least some success.  I reckon I might even  manage a tomato, though I’m not too sure about the cucumber, but I’ll give it a go.


21 thoughts on “Veggies in a Pot

  1. What a great plant setup you have! I love it!!!!! You are definitely my expert when it comes to planting. BTW, I do have lot of sunny spots to plant in my backyard, I’ve just learned to scale back after some massive undertakings to garden directly into the earth and now want to try container gardening for a bit. I am glad I inspired you in my own little way 🙂

  2. I grow tomatoes, herbs, beets, lettuce, strawberries, beans, sugar snap peas, and corn on my deck. I have a south side garden, but the deck is a place where the slugs can’t get at the veggies, and the cats can’t soil the soil. It is beautiful to look at, and right off the kitchen for easy harvesting. You’d be surprised how much you can grow in pots, and it is very satisfying. Go for it!

    • Ttry a cherry tomato first – they’re very forgiving and you’ll be reaping the abundant harvest for months. Just keep it sort of tied up so it’s airy, not collapsing on itself – that goes for all varieties in fact., and go for it!

  3. aloha TWG – i too continue to try to grow things i can eat. my original goal was to be able to eat something (fresh) that i’ve grown, every day of the year. i can do that now. altho i dont always and sometimes it is just herbs. still…

    one of the things i’ve discovered for me is to look around and see what is indigenous to the area i live in. growing those things works better for me than bringing things in from places i’ve been – or where i grew up – local plants grow where they are and do well because they are suited to that environment – sometimes even micro environment. it seems to me they have better bug resistance and climate acceptance because they have adapted over a longer period of time. i still occasionally try seeds from packets – still… cuttings from local plants (or local seeds) seem to do much better for me where ever i am. and that’s fun. aloha

    • Now Rick, that’s a formidable challenge, especially if you only use plants native to your environment – hearty congratulations are in order. I couldn’t do it. Well, perhaps I mean I couldn’t be bothered to do it if all I’m going to get out of it in the end is a bit of bush tucker. Me, I’m always craving lettuce, and paesley, and basil. Not to have them, or tomatoes? Too much a creature of habit, and lazy you already know …

  4. I have sunshine to spare here where we live in the Central Valley of Northern California…I’ve never really tried to grow veggies, other than one failed tomato fiasco. Maybe I’ll try again this year.

  5. Any Indian home is incomplete without the Holy Basil Plant (called tulsi in local language). Only a few years ago our plants were looking healthy and tulsi plants were growing all over the place – uncontrollable. But then all of a sudden all of them dried up. Our attempts to plant them back have been short lived. Reading your post reminded me about our plant.

    I’m not sure which variety it is that you’re growing. But I’m sure you won’t have to worry about how to use them 🙂

    • Kasturika, it’s great to hear from you. I’ve often wondered what Tulsi is, what a serendipitous way to find out. Back to your tulsi plantings. It was probably some sort of nematodes that killed off your plants. Have you tried again recently, in different soil, or a different part of the garden?

      • Actually, we grow them in pots. We live on the second floor of the building complex and don’t have a garden. None of the other plants were affected, so I don’t think it was an infestation. Frankly, I think it was a little bit of negligence that killed them off.

        We have always believed that plants are like children. They need affection and respect. The moment you stop caring for them, they wilt…

        Tulsi is considered sacred in Indian culture and worshipped. My mother would insist that the plant be watered only after we’ve had bath. Hopefully we haven’t angered any goddesses 🙂

  6. We used to grow our own vegetables – cabbage, brinjal, carrot et al – when we lived in the hills! Find it so much harder in this furnace of a city and yes I have also gotten a lot lazier 🙂 Good luck with your veggie pot!

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