It's been a while since I posted an update on our herb and veggie situation but I know I have picked up some new readers lately who may be interested to see our progress, as well as our friends and family who have been reading all along. I thought I would just show you where we started and where we are now, what worked and what didn't.
First of all we decided to use raised planter boxes this year and I highly recommend this technique. Last year we tried a container garden and nothing survived but we live in a rental house and didn't exactly want to dig up the yard to plant. Eric made these boxes himself and they are wonderful. We are hoping they hold up for years and years to come. Just a basic of how we created ours for anyone who is interested. They are pressure treated wood which is great for wear and tear; however, you do not want pressure treated wood directly touching your soil so our boxes are lined with sheet metal boxes. We are fortunate because Eric works for an HVAC company and works closely with a sheet metal shop that made the sheet metal liners for us. Really the boxes are sheet metal boxes surrounded on all sides, but the bottom, with the pressure treated wood. The bottoms of the sheet metal boxes have large drainage holes drilled in them. In order to insure that the boxes drained well we placed a layer of pond stone in the bottom of each prior to dirt. Then we used a mix of different potting soil to fill them up prior to planting. You can see our planter boxes in the early stages here. This was about 2 months ago.
Now they look like this...
You can see we have 3 varieties of tomatoes - roma, beefsteak & I can't remember the third. (A sidenote here is that all these veggies were labeled with tags written in sharpie which was gone in a few weeks due to sun and rain...next year I obviously need a better labeling system.). We have jalapenos and a salsa pepper variety growing, as well as zucchini and squash. Our zucchini and squash started in the boxes but then was moved to the ground once it started to get too big for the box. It has been very successful and we have more zucchini than we know what to do with. We also planted herbs - cilantro, parsley, dill, basil, oregano and lemon thyme. All were successful but all that is left at this point is parsley, basil, and a little oregano. We are going to replant the others soon. We also planted 2 types of lettuce and spinach which were very, very successful but we used it all and it's a little too hot to plant a second batch now. We plan to replant as soon as the weather cools down a little so we will have a fall lettuce crop.
Now for what didn't work. We planted cantaloupe which grew like crazy but never sprouted any melons. We planted watermelon in the ground which never came up. We planted bell peppers and the plants are in the box and look lovely but no bell peppers ever sprouted on them. Well also planted green onions which have grown and are still there but they just don't look quite right and we haven't used them as of yet.
So overall our herbs and vegetables were fairly successful and definitely way better than last year when we ended up with nothing. We have learned some things for next year about what to plant when, how we need to space things, what to plant near what, and that we need a new labeling system. Hopefully this is the first of many years of growing our own herbs and vegetables.