Gardening, From the Ground Up

Or in my case, from the container up. Last fall when we moved from the city, we gifted all of our pots and containers to the apartment complex’s gardening efforts. While this means that I’ll have to spend a little money replacing them, I know that the old collection is getting a lot of use at the old place. Plus, shopping for new planters on a budget is fun little challenge when it’s only about forty degrees outside.

The seven gallon terra cotta-colored plastic ones that I found at the dollar store over the last two years were serviceable enough, so I’ll likely see if I can get a couple of those again. At seven bucks a piece, it’s a great price for the size. A pair of them should do it for the two tomato plants I’d like to grow. And I’ll add a third for some salad greens and scallions. I kept a small collection of my nicest glazed pottery, so those will be allocated for herbs.

But, if I can’t find the plastic pots I want again this spring, there are plenty of affordable good-looking options that I’ve come across. I particularly like  these trash bins from Ikea that are eleven gallons, especially now that they come in black –

Knodd Bin

I do have a couple in white that I’ve used in the past for soil storage, and the one drawback to them is that they do rust when exposed to the elements. One season outdoors last year really had them looking worse for wear, and they were located on a covered spot on the deck out of the weather. Another similar option would be a galvanized bin, that might hold up a little better –

Galvanized Bin

It looks small, but it’s actually six gallons, which is a great size for big, healthy tomato plant. And of course, classic copper would look great as well. I really like these Smith & Hawken copper planters, but they’re not very large so they might not be the best choice for tomatoes. They sure are good looking though –

Smith & Hawken Copper Planter

So, there are a few good options to be had, and I’m sure there will be many more to choose from as the winter progresses and retailers start to stock their spring collections. Decisions, decisions!

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A Time For Planning

As promised, I have returned. With the holidays over and the first full week of winter under our belts, it’s time to buckle down and start laying some plans for what comes next. In the big picture, my husband is job hunting for a part time job and we are apartment hunting. We saw a workable, though small, place over the weekend. We’re going to head out again next weekend to see a few more. Being a reasonable distance from the city (not too close, but closer than where we are now), walking distance to the Metra commuter train and two bedrooms are the essential requirements. The nice-to-haves are outdoor space (of course), a gas stove and a dining room. So we’re plugging along with that.

January is the time of year when I really start thinking about the stuff we own – probably because we always seem to accumulate more than we intend to over the holiday seasons. I’ve embarked upon an organizational quest for the rest of the month – I redid our bedroom closet and organized a bunch of Little Man’s things over the weekend. It’s nice to be able to open a closet and not be confronted with an avalanche of junk. The next projects on the docket are going through all of the things we have in storage and sorting out items for this summer’s garage sales and repacking stuff that will be making our next move with us. A huge project, and I have no idea when I’ll find the time to get through it, but I plan to chip away on it in little bits and pieces. So it will all get done.

But while necessary, that’s all pretty boring stuff in the grand scheme. There are fun things afoot as well, and evidenced by the rest of my to do list –

– Inventory the seed collection. Anything to do with plants in the dead of winter makes me happy.

– Plan a modest container vegetable garden. Since I have no idea where we’ll be yet and how much outdoor space we’ll have, it will be modest indeed – a pair of tomato plants, some salad greens, some herbs, maybe some scallions… but the planning is half the fun and excitement anyhow.

– Figure out how to do an excellent cassoulet in the crockpot, since it is very much crockpot season and cassoulet is one of the best things of all time to eat when it’s cold outside.

– Sew a coupon wallet from my new-ish sewing book that I got last year – Fabric-By-Fabric One Yard Wonders. I’ve been anxious to try a new pattern from it and it’s well nigh time I got around to it.

I’m excited about a new year and all of the fresh possibilities that it holds. I anticipate great things this year – getting back on our feet in the way that we want, making a new home and continuing to work toward our big picture goals are paramount. But I’m also really looking forward to some good, honest cooking, lots of gardening (even if it is back in a collection of pots) and putting some time in at the crafting table. Here’s to a great year ahead!