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June 16, 2009

Midway through the home stretch, the Topsy-Turvy begins to wilt.

First, here's Clarence eating his special squirrel food from a bowl:

He is so cute. I love that I live in the wild outback of the Valley with our animal kingdom and free parking.

So, the Topsy-Turvy science experiment carries ever onward and downward. There are three of these planters on my back patio, one with a Roma tomato, one with a cherry tomato and one with a cucumber. You can kind of see the Roma tomato hanging limp and yellowish in the background here:


The plant in the foreground there is the cherry tomato I have in a pot. Contrast it with the topsy-turvy cherry tomato. It's doing OK, but it's really spindly:


The topsy-turvy cucumber is really looking sad and forlorn:


One of the main problems with this planter is that all the water drains out every time you water it. So even if you water three times a day (which I definitely don't have time for) the water still doesn't stay in the planter. The only one I'm having moderate success with is the cherry tomato, and that is the planter where I used a bag of that special dirt that has little water-holding thingies mixed in. But the poor Roma tomato is limp and wilty, as is the spindly cucumber. Now that you've seen the upside-down cuke, look at the cucumber plant in the raised-bed garden:


The cucumber is on the far right, thick and green and happy. It's from the same little pot of seedlings and I planted it on the same day. It gets the same amount of daylight and I water them on the same days but the difference is dramatic. Everything in the raised bed is so green and lush!

All the tomato plants have baby green tomatoes on them but the ones in the pots are doing the best this year, I'm getting pretty excited. I may get a red tomato yet!


The cornfield and pumpkin patch is luscious, too, even though something large has been sitting on the plants every few days. I don't know what it is and I don't want to know. Raccoon, big opossum, neighborhood cats, hooligans, what have you, it's something that sits on the plants and breaks the leaves and eats the baby pumpkins. But it doesn't even bother me. Every time I look outside I start laughing. I just love the look of this part of my yard, it's so funny me growing corn in my backyard!


My potted herbs and plants are my favorites, though. I love container gardening the best. Last winter I thought my Kentucky mint died, it was bare down to the sticks and it has made quite a revival:


It's a strong mint that's perfect for drinks like mint juleps, mojitos and especially mint water. I love mint water -- you just crush some fresh leaves in the bottom of a pitcher and add water over them. Refrigerate it until it's ice cold and it's more refreshing than plain water or even iced tea!

I also planted some peppermint and a bunch of other herbs in a little patch of dirt near my back gate that used to be covered in nothing. It's the most recent addition to my backyard farm. I know the peppermint will take over eventually, but I don't mind. I love peppermint tea, it's my favorite.

Above: peppermint, oregano, basil (lettuce leaf basil, globe basil and purple ruffles), chervil, chives, summer savory, thyme, Russian tarragon. Chervil! Who knew! It's so lacy and beautiful, it's on the right kind of midway up the picture.

And the patty pan squash I planted in a big pot is doing great:


You'll notice that in all these pictures of my backyard there are pots of gigantic overgrown aloe vera plants. I bought one little tiny 4-inch potted aloe from Target about ten years ago and it has turned into a farm. I can't kill an aloe to save my life and I have some that are almost five feet tall, it's nuts. I need to divide them up into new planters but they just keep growing faster than I can tend to them. Next time I have a party I might make everyone take a giant overgrown aloe home with them.

Finally, the pepper plant is even bigger and more menacing than ever, promising me loads of fire-hot peppers all summer long:


And that is how my garden grows!

Posted by laurie at June 16, 2009 10:13 AM