I recently wrote about how I made a compost in my apartment, even without a yard or a porch to call my own, just in a container on my window sill, and there I shared how I planned on turning my brown thumb into a green thumb, using that compost to attempt to grow vegetables in my window boxes.
Well, after two weeks I needed to show a "garden" update, which basically can be summed up with "you win some, you lose some".
Until recently I only had 4 small aloe vera plants growing in my pots, and I wasn't even doing such a good job of keeping them alive. Whenever my mom would come to visit, she'd water the plants and chastise me for not watering them; I'd kill them if I didn't water them, she'd say. But I still didn't remember. And so my aloe vera didn't die, but turned this dark brown color instead of its standard green. And part of it dried up and looked sort of dead looking.
Since I planted a bunch of new seeds and wanted them to grow, I set myself a daily reminder via email and pop up on my phone reminding me to water the plants. I didn't even need them, since I've remembered to water them even before I get the reminder!
My aloe vera now looks healthy! It's been growing better and faster, and the new growth is bright green just like it should be! That is definitely a win!
|See the bright new green in the middle? This is even a few days old- there's even more green now!|
|See how great those look, and the new leaves on some of the stalks?|
There were some mint plants that didn't looked like they survived, but at their base, new growth popped up beneath the dead looking stalks, fresh new mint plants, so I guess something did survive over there! This is super exciting!
|Look at those new mint leaves growing out of the ground!|
The other planter was the one I was more nervous about, so when I saw the first sprouts popping up from the compost, I was super excited about. I'd planted a bunch of different salad greens, and couldn't wait for them to grow.
And then the leaves got bigger and bigger and I was so eager to see which I managed to grow successfully, but finally I was able to identify the vast majority of them. The biggest leaves turned out to be mallow plants, which I have no idea how they got into there, since I didn't remember putting any mallow into the compost and I certainly never planted them...
|See the mallow in the center- the largest plants there.|
In addition to the purslane there are a few other plants that I don't know for sure what they are yet.
Some of the plants look like tomato plants, which I'm also ok with, and I understand how they got there- from my compost pile- tomatoes grow nicely from compost, and often even just start growing in random places where people dribbled seeds, and fresh tomatoes taste really wonderful.
There's still some plants that I am unsure what they are- like the one in the above picture in the middle along the top, with the leaves that look like figure eights. The ones with pointy leaves might be tomato plants, but maybe they'll turn out to be something else. We'll see. I also identify two sow thistle plants, and two that might be a vetch, which isn't edible.
I am really glad for my knowledge of foraging, because if not, the results of my window box gardening experiment would be pretty disappointing, but since I know which wild plants are edible, I see that it wasn't a fail, just a different result from what I'd been expecting, but just as good, and in fact, in many ways better, since purslane is so versatile and more nutritious than store bought plants.
In addition to what I grew, a friend is moving and when she heard I was starting a container garden, gifted me with this planter filled with kale plants, since she was moving and could no longer keep them.
We've been enjoying them, and this is exciting too because kale is very expensive to buy from the grocery store.
We've been harvesting a few of the bottom leaves from the plant, for a continual harvest without killing the plant, and so far so good- the plants are not dead or dying yet, despite the extreme heat we've been having the last few days.
I see a few of the leaves have turned yellow- not sure why. Will gladly take ideas as to what would cause that- but in the meantime, I pick any yellow leaves and eat them.
So gardening? Well, I don't know if I can say I have a green thumb yet, but this still is good practice... and maybe in the future I'll manage to actually grow what I planted.
And the kids and I are really enjoying it- Rose especially is my watering helper.
Oh- and one more update. I did pull out all the mallow plants this morning. They are very big plants, and I had enough of them in the winter; I want something else now, and if I let them grow they'd stop the other plants from growing since they can get quite bushy.
Any ideas about the identities of the plants I am not sure about or why some kale leaves are turning yellow? Ever happen that you ended up growing something other than what you'd planted? What did you do then? Did you use what grew instead or pull it up and try to start fresh? Were you disappointed?