Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A 'No Cactus' Post


Until this year, my only attempt ever at vegetable gardening has been one or two tomato plants every spring. But, I suppose to be technical, tomatoes don't even qualify as a vegetable, so this is truly my first veggie experiment! I got the idea to try my hand at vegetable gardening after I read an Arizona newspaper article about growing vegetables in containers. That seemed a lot easier and simpler than having a whole garden. I purchased a few types of squash and sweet pepper bedding plants in March, and placed them in large containers with potting soil. I also planted some carrots and radishes from seed. It's going to take a lot of effort keeping the containers moist enough in the coming heat, but I'm like a kid, watching the tiny vegetables forming. The most interesting to me is the Pattypan squash, identifiable even at thumbnail size.

Pattypan Squash

Cherry Tomato

Usually I buy the 'Early Girl' variety of tomato, but I couldn't find one this year, so I settled for a cherry tomato. As far as I'm concerned any tomato, if homegrown, is good!

Zonal Geranium

I always have a few Zonal Geraniums in pots around my garden. Each year, I get a different color, and this is what I chose for 2009. Normally I go for the hot, bright colors, but I found these pale pink flowers quite pretty and got them for a change. My maternal grandmother always kept geraniums in pots on her window sill. I loved the fragrance of the leaves when she watered them. I only visited her three or four times as a child, but to this day, the scent of geraniums still reminds me of her.

Callistemon 'Little John'

In very early spring I gave all my Dwarf Bottlebrush bushes a dose of chelated iron. This is something occasionally necessary as bottlebrush becomes chlorotic in our alkaline soil. Iron chlorosis is a condition more common with these plants in areas with highly alkaline soils, high soil temperatures, and high light intensity. The leaves really greened very quickly, and now the bushes are covered with dozens of the bright red "bottlebrush" flowers.

Tecoma stans 'Yellow Bells'

Finally, my Yellow Bells shrub is established and is growing rapidly. I was concerned that it wasn't going to make it as its growth really lagged for months. This is a popular landscape plant in Arizona, as well in many other states in the Southwest. It doesn't get as large as the Tecoma stans 'Orange Jubilee', but it will provide some needed afternoon shade for several cacti as it matures.


verobirdie said...

Lovely pictures.
I have a few veg in my garden too, mostly tomatoes. I love coming home at night, touring the garden and eating the veg as I go. For the moments, they are just seedlings, and I watch them several times a day, just as a kid.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Aiyana .. isn't it amazing how that sense of smell can place us so strongly in a memory .. as your grandmother and the geraniums.
I love that soft pink !
I try to do a few veggies in a pot .. last year that whole raccoon episode runied a few of them .. so it put me off a bit.
I do herbs though .. I can't imagine not doing them .. funny how we have our "must haves"?

Lancashire rose said...

Those squash are beautiful and healthy. I usually grow pattypan but a problem here is the squash vine borer. Last year I had better success by checking every morning for the eggs and removing them.
The bottlebrush is a gorgeous plant in bloom. I have seen a couple in out neighborhood and they are show stoppers. We have the same problem with chlorosis. Do you drench the ground or foliar spray.

Anonymous said...

Your veggies look fabulous Aiyana! I've grown them in large containers for years & they do well. The miniature Bottlebrush is a treat, wish we could grow those here. :)

Phoenix C. said...

Lovely photos. I love the name 'Pattypan Squash'! So whimsical and fun!

Suzanne said...

I love the variety this week. Your veggie plants look so healthy. I love squashes of all kind, so these look wonderful! That pale pink geranium is a winner -- just beautiful. The bottlebrush reminds me of my childhood home in California. We had a line of them along our property -- so beautiful!

Darla said...

Congrats on your veggies.. I agree about the tomatoes for sure! All of your blooms look great!

Ginger said...

Wow. I live the deep southeast and you are way ahead of us with those large, blooming and fruiting veggies!

I have never heard of Yellow Bells but it is beautiful!

Johnice said...

Your zucchini and tomatoes are looking fabulous! I love container gardening. Of course most of my stuff is in the ground, but I love to do cherry tomatoes, lettuces, and spinach in containers. They seem to do better for me in containers.

Teri C said...

Your veggies are really coming along beautifully!

Yellow is my favorite color also. :)

Thanks for your help yesterday in iding that cactus bloom. I KNOW who to ask!


Carla said...

Love your dwf bottlebrush (wow)
and yellow bells (I think mine died, its hasn't showed any signs of life so far this year)!
Woohoo on the baby veggies!! They are fun to watch aren't they?
I, too, wanted geraniums in memory of my grandma. I think my new fancy ones are zonal, my other three are just the regular ones. Have a great week!!

Linda M. Verardi said...

Hey Neighbor,


I just attended a container garden class over the weekend and she provided several veggies to use in the pots we made at class. I am in year number three of growing a vegetable garden here in the desert. I never heard of 'Pattypan Squash' the name does sound fun!

Lots of good info...thanks.

Aiyana said...


Pattypan Squash is also called Button Squash, White Squash, and Scalloped Squash. They are fairly flat little scalloped summer squash with a wonderful flavor that's best when picked immature. This has always been my favorite squash, and I'm just tickled to be growing my own for the first time.


Jean said...

What fun to watch your vegetables grow! Looks like they are coming along nicely. The color of your geranium is very pretty and I love the yellow bells. They most be gorgeous against your sandy soil. Great post! Jean

Julie said...

I love that you are able to grow all those great vegies in pots! I know you are having so much fun with this! Best part to come...eating!!!

WiseAcre said...

I don't know why you planted Zucchini when so many gardeners would have gladly paid the shipping to send you theirs.

We grow a number of cherry tomatoes in pots by the main door so as we come and go they can be picked and eaten like fruit. Technicality, tomatoes become vegetables after being made into ketchup.

Paula said...

I am always so amazed at how far ahead you are on growing things there. I can't even plant squash until the end of May - MIne will look like yours do now about the 4th of July!
Love your geraniums - mine are coming out of the basement next week from being overwintered.
I always look forward to your Blooming Tuesday posts! SO interesting. Thanks for sharing! Paula in Idaho

Claude said...

I'm growing tomatoes and squash in straw bales this year... the tomatoes are just starting to grow good, with the first burst of heat we're having... just now getting up to the 90's during the day... But I'm not sure about the zucchini... they're just sitting ther pouting...
Love the bottlebush.

Dee said...

My little bottlebrush just won't bloom- maybe it needs iron. I'll see about getting that added and hopefully mine will bloom. I loved all your pictures- the garden ones are wonderful! I have little tomatoes, peppers, sugar snap peas, carrots and corn growing- so far so good!