by Lydia Krupinski

It’s August and all of the seeding, germination, and planting efforts are paying off! We’ve had our fair share of tasty harvests, bitter greens, and downright mysteries – so I thought it was high time to share an update on my great urban container veggie garden experiment.

Everything is in full bloom and abundance in our garden! Our basil seed from last year suddenly gave sprout so now we have three plants total – each a different variety. The green onion seeds finally took hold and bursted forth about a month ago as well – growing nicely beside our torpedo onions. The lettuces were all lovely, although they did bolt before I could take notice, and so now they are simply serving as lovely decorational fillers between the other plants (way to bitter to eat now).

The broccoli is having a hoot beside our sage plants, and the tomatoes are growing and spreading like wild fire. Though the plants we seeded ourselves haven’t produced fruit, yet, our Gethsemene tomato plant is pumping them out like there’s no tomorrow. We also went back into the garden and added some rosemary beside our stevia plant and filled in other gaps with our home grown lavender. The bean plant that was demolished by construction crews earlier in the season unexpectedly resurrected and is also bringing forth abundant edibles.

Of all the plants the ones that have surprised us most are the Rainbow Chard and Stevia. Both of these were started by us in the early early Spring straight from seeds. Come May though, we were both wondering, “hmm, will this actually grow?” The seedlings were small and feeble, and we didn’t have much hope that they would ever be productive enough for harvesting. So we humbly planted the wee sprigs in with the rest, and waited. Though the two are not our most abundant plants they have had a change of heart! The chard is bursting in rainbow colors while the stevia has grown so large it billows beyond its planter! We still have to research how to harvest and save the stevia, but now that we have Irena’s dehydrator, we have new avenues for exploration.

The most disappointing plant of the year has been the zucchini. From the onset, this was the plant that grew the fastest, had the largest, strongest leaves and deep green hue. Up to two weeks ago it was doing just fine, despite its inability to open its buds for pollination. This perplexed us so we did some digging and found that it could have been a mineral deficiency or lack of bees in our garden. Our quick fix was to pop in some natural plant food and purchase petunias to hopefully attract the bees. Perhaps it was just then that the zucchini grew offended and decided, quite hastily I would say, to stop producing flowers and begin to shrivel up and sulk. Disheartened as I was (and still am) I continue to try to pin point exactly what went wrong and where. Maybe it was the plant food. Maybe it was a lack of bee vibration. Perhaps they don’t like our water or they’re getting too much sun. In any case, my dreams of a fall filled to the brim with zucchini has quickly faded and I’ll just have to relegate us to patty pans from the farmer’s market.