porch-garden_plants

In my last post, about all the FoodieBlogroll.com giveaways, there was a picture of me on my tiny porch, here in downtown, Saint Augustine. Behind me in the photo you can see my tomato plant creeping up behind me! I love gardening. It has become increasingly important to me to be more and more conscious of where my food comes from. Therefore, I am working my way towards producing as much of the food we eat as possible. Right now, I am not even in the baby stages. For one, I have a very small porch, which is the only place for me to grow any food, and I certainly do not have the land to raise any farm animals, which is certainly on my to do list for the future. One day I plan to have a lot of land, and when I do, I am looking very much forward to starting my own kitchen garden full of vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs and flowers and raising livestock. However until that day comes, I have started my own small, but fully functional container garden on my tiny little porch. Trust me, if you put your mind to it, you can really grow a lot of stuff!

porch-garden_green-tomatoes-and-lemon-balm

We started with tomatoes, as I have heard a lot of successful stories about growing them in containers. Once we had success with a pot of tomatoes, we bought herbs – basil, oregano, mint, lemon balm, chives and oregano.

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Last year I did not fare very well in the herb growing department, even though I had a lot of success with herbs when I lived in the Northeast. So we decided to try again this year. Instead of using seeds, we started with small plants. We also got another tomato plant plus a bell pepper and a banana pepper plant…and a few strawberry plants that we are growing in a hanging basket.

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Once those were doing well, we added a Celestial (white) fig tree

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porch-garden_fig-tree-closeup

and a blueberry bush

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We also have several non- edible plants, including a small pine tree that we used last year to celebrate the winter holidays, and plan to use the same tree for many years to come.

Our local garden center was very helpful in helping us select plants for our limited space and giving us growing tips. Basically anything can be grown in a container as long as you have good soil, sunshine and some kind of fertilizer. As the plants grow, they can be transferred to larger containers. Fruit trees are a good option as they take longer to get bigger, and therefore can stay in pots for longer periods of time. I imagine it would be the same with nut trees.

We have just moved (this past weekend) to a larger house, out of downtown, and on the island side of Saint Augustine. Our new place has a very large screened in porch. Once we are more settled in here, I am looking forward to expanding our container garden to include a few varieties of citrus trees and possibly some more vegetables like lettuces and greens. I decided that although I will likely have flowers and non-edible plants too, that growing things we can eat will give me a lot more joy, and may possibly grow me enough food to start another new hobby I have been wanting to try for a long time – canning! I know that I can’t have my farmhouse with a true garden yet, but in the meantime, I can get as close to that as possible given my living situation. I think it is also a good exercise in becoming familiar with several varieties of plants so that when we do have a farm, we are comfortable with some plantings already! That will give us a nice head start!

Also, speaking of canning and being more aware of where your food, I totally want to win this from Nourished Kitchen. It is a pickle, sauerkraut and kimchi maker. I really love fermented foods, but I find the only good quality ones at the supermarket are so so expensive. So when I get these products, I don’t get to eat as much as I would like, because they are like precious gems. I would love the convenience of being able to make these things at home, and it totally fits in with my goal of making and producing more of my food at home! If this is something that interests you, you have one more day to enter!!!!