Since we still have an entire backyard of dangerous trees that threaten to come crashing down and dissect our home with every windstorm, we don’t have the full sun we need to begin our raised bed garden.
Felling the five pine trees and a crowded maple in our backyard is a huge project and our arborist is tackling the job in chunks. This summer, we may only have potted tomatoes and some baskets of herbs that hang outside the chicken coop.
We’ve had a lot of fun with color and we feel pretty good about upcycling all our tomato pots from faded, plastic pots that were left by the previous owner of our home. I’m drawn to bright colors so we gave them fresh coats of vibrant spray paint and bought red, orange and yellow tomato cages. (I ended up with more pots than tomato plants, so I’ll have to wait until next year to fill the blue pot with the yellow cage.) If you don’t want a Technicolor garden, our color choices may not be for you. But don’t miss the potential of old plastic pots that you could pick up at a yard sale on the cheap!
Our tomatoes are thriving and we already have little green fruit on our cherry and San Marzano plants. I’m really excited about the Ukrainian tomatoes our neighbors gave us, but they are a little more slow-growing.
We tried two soil blends we mixed up ourselves. The recipe I’ve seen the most growth with was the blend for my cherry and San Marzano plants in the turquoise pots with red tomato cages at the far end of the deck. We bought a yard of garden soil for the raised beds in front of our coop run where we have two more tomato plants. We also used this soil in the lime green pot in the foreground. I’m not very happy with it. It’s compact like clay and slow to drain.
Best Tomato Soil Blend:
- Old potting soil from old pots we found around our backyard to fill the bottom quarter of each pot
- Store-bought, bagged veggie soil
- Chicken poop and leaves we shoveled from the garden shed while the chickens lived there as we built our coop
- Coffee grounds I scored from Starbucks for free! TIP: Watch your local Starbucks for giant, silver bags of used coffee grounds!
Hanging Baskets of Basil, Oregano, Thyme & Chives
My best friend gave me four metal hanging pots from IKEA. Trevor drilled some holes for drainage and I filled them with store-bought, bagged veggie soil.
The basil is going crazy and we can’t help plucking a leaf or two to munch on every time we’re near the coop. It’s going to be so good on barbequed, personal pizzas we have quite often.
The thyme is very happy too. The oregano is sparse but coming along. The chives remind me of Minion hair.
If tomatoes and some fresh herbs are all we can grow this season, I’ll be thrilled!