Garden containers are expensive! And I’m not even talking about the nice Ming dynasty rip off ceramic pots. All of them! Why not scour your local thrift stores for cheap household items that not only become functional food and plant producers, but also become a stylish conversation starter?
Sure, fresh basil in your kitchen is awesome. But basil in a coffee pot is super cute as well as functional.
Many fruit producing plants can be grown in containers and most don’t need to be as big as you think. This Filius Pepper plant is going to do just fine in this blender carafe. And it cost .33c. I’m not even kidding.
Every time I go to a thrift store I see matching canisters for flour, sugar, etc and I finally grabbed a coffee canister last week. Again, .33c. And with $1 worth of seeds we will be in cilantro for months.
Save the giant cans from tomatoes (people love it when you grow tomatoes in a tomato can) and coffee. Add some pebbles for drainage and bam! You’re ready to get your garden on.
Are you sick of hearing about my little garden yet? Because I could talk about it for most of the live long day. I’ve been posting pictures of my urban garden to a local Farm & Food group (with real bona-fide farmers and gardeners and people who actually know what they are doing) and I’ve even impressed some of them with my efforts. At the beginning of the season we asked around to see if the $5 Topsy Turvy Dohickies were worth anything and got mixed reviews. Some people couldn’t get them to produce at all, while the package boasts an up to 30 pound yield per bag. We were hoping for somewhere in the middle and it seems we are doing well! Each of our 3 hangers has gone crazy and is lush and finally starting to produce (both steps further than many in the area). The heritage we chose are smaller higher production plants so we should be looking for quite a few little guys which will have time to mature before the weather turns on us yet again.
I have obviously learned a few more things to add to our ‘gardening lessons’ list and am already excited about the small yet significant changes to next year’s garden.
Lesson 7: Tomato plants require a lot of water. Like, a lot. It totally makes sense when you take into account how many leafy greens they are constantly pushing, but skipping a day of watering won’t work. The plants will wilt and fall quickly if left without water, but thankfully bounce back just as quickly when you finally get back on your game.
Lesson 8: When planted too close together with a heat wave, your beautiful radishes will bolt and form not a radish, but a long root which does you no good. We harvested a single lonely radish in our last container and had to toss the rest. Here’s hoping this latest planting (ready in 28 days) does better and we have some super sweet radishes to much on.
Compare this photo to the one taken here and you can see how much these plants have grown!
I can’t believe how excited I was to see the first little green ball on one of the tomato plants…! And after further inspection there are quite a few more starting on other plants. So. Excited.
We have been going crazy lately over my tomato soup, which, if you know me, you know I have kinda hated tomatoes with all of my being for all of ever. Tastes seem to be changing though and this soup doesn’t have that acrid, acidic tomato taste I have disliked for so long.
- Saute 1 chopped onion, 3 chopped celery stalks, 2 chopped carrots and 1 half chopped pepper in 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil for 5-10 minutes
- Add 3-4 cups of vegetable or chicken stock to your veggies (we make our own) and simmer for 10 minutes – add 1 teaspoon dried basil in this step too
- Add your 6 pound can of whole skinned tomatoes including the juice (Costco! $2.50!) and continue to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Taking an immersion blender puree your soup. Salt & pepper to taste
- We add 1/4 cup of sour cream to the mix and then finish it off with 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda mixed with 2 tablespoons of water (to cut the acidity)
- Top with chopped green onion and perhaps a little grated parm and serve!
It’s just so good….makes a big batch for 2 but can also be frozen if you aren’t going to make it through!
I made my first batch of tomato soup from scratch last night with a giant 6lb. can of whole skinned tomatoes from Costco ($2.68) and some onion, celery, milk and sour cream. It was pretty amazing but a little bitey. After a little research we found that sugar is used in most tomato products to mask the acidity (thus why it’s so hard to find ketchup, sauce, etc without sugar), but it doesn’t kill it. Welcome to the discussion a little science: add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda mixed in 2 TB of water and watch the acid and the base neutralize each other to make a purely smooth and low acid soup. Wow. I just blew my own mind.