Saturday, March 2, 2013

Container Garden 2013 Update

I went to Lowe's today and purchased a couple of new additions for my container garden. I planted six Dwarf French Marigolds and a Hot Chili Pepper Plant.I like to have a nice mixture of flowers and vegetables in the garden because it makes it more vibrant and therefore attractive and the flowers also attract pollinators. I also moved the Poinsetta plant outside just to see how it will do. 

Our little volunteer tomato is doing well.

Since the weather is warmer and watering was making the carpet wet, I decided to move the poinsetta outdoors.

I learned a couple of new things about tomatoes today, well, at least new to me.  I learned from at great YouTube video that tomato blossoms contain both the male and female reproductive parts of the plant and that you can pollinate them simply by shaking the stem near the blossom with your finger.  This will shake the pollen from the male part of the flower down into the female part of the blossom resulting in more tomatoes.  Bees pollinate the tomatoes this way by fluttering their wings near the blossoms and so what we are doing by shaking the blossom is replicating this action.  I'd like to thank Insightful Nana for this tip! Since I have a couple of blossoms that are ready to pollinate, I will give this a try today and report the results in an upcoming post. 

Giving a tomato blossom a little shake to help with pollination.

I chose the peppers because 1), they are easy to grow in Arizona and 2) because I love making my own salsa.  The variety I chose are called hot salsa peppers, let's see if they live up to their name.  Since I have a few containers remaining, I plan on planting a few more tomatoes and peppers.  I will then begin working on a wooden planter so my gardening space looks neater and I won't get any complaints from the HOA. 

One of my new transplants, A Hot Salsa Pepper from Lowe's

I chose the French Marigolds because; 1) I love their color, and 2) they are supposedly a great companion plant for vegetable gardens, especially for tomatoes. Secretions from the Marigold roots kill nemotodes, or tiny worms that live in the soil and are harmful to vegetable plant roots, especially tomatoes.  Since I reuse my soil, I will be sure to plant tomatoes next year in this year's marigold soil.  It is even better though to plant the Marigolds right next to the tomatoes for immediate protection. The scent from the Marigold's flowers also are known to repel flying insects that re a big problem in Arizona. 

Marigolds have many beneficial properties that make them a great companion plant for vegetable gardens.

So that's my update for this week, I will keep you posted in upcoming weeks as my garden matures and I make new additions.  I will also be sharing with you a teriffic recipe for salsa and a trip I made to La Paz Waterfall Garden in Costa Rica.  Until the next time, ~Happy Gardening!~