Friday, April 23, 2010

My little urban garden

I'm excited to finally show off the little garden we've been working on, although part of me is sure everything will die as soon as I proclaim it a burgeoning success. See, I've only maintained one real garden before - when I had a big backyard in Albuquerque and great raised bed for veggies. Since then, my tiny patios and stoops (most of which were located in areas without shade and with extreme gusts of wind) haven't been very accommodating for keeping plants alive. We're lucky enough to have a large patio in our current apartment, and I decided I wanted one corner of it to feature a little garden of mostly herbs and maybe, maaaaaybe, a few vegetables if I got up the nerve. Here's how the corner looks now:

Cute, right? But what is that fantastic black planter in the back, you ask? Why, it's my very own Ikea hack! This brilliant idea is fully credited to my mom, who saw our old Ikea tv stand lying around (it's too wide for our current tv nook) and decided that flipped on its side with a little construction to support it, it'd make the perfect planter. As always, she was right! Let's take a closer look:

The old electronics dividers work perfectly as plant dividers. Holes were drilled into the bottom for drainage and a decorative fence was attached to the back (thanks Dad and T!). We raised it to help with drainage and nestled it right into the back corner, where it hangs out with one of two little dwarf trees we bought and a gardenia bush that I can't wait to begin blooming.

I planted herbs and veggies in the front half of the planter, and planted my very favorite flower, dahlias, in the back row. I'm just now starting to see sprouts from those dahlia bulbs, and am so excited for the gorgeous color they'll provide in time. The first morning I saw those sprouts, I was as giddy as a kid. Over dahlias! Those fantastic vintage silverware markers you'll see with the plants are from Etsy seller Monkeys Always Look.

First up, mesclun! I can't wait to nom on these greens. Reminds me of grad school when we'd chomp on greens from my friend Sandra's garden late into the night. It was grad school... weird things happen. Eagle eyes will spot the two adorable dahlia plants pushing up behind the mesclun.

Next up, dill and thyme! I've already used lots of the dill, and it's replenished really well. Check out that mega-dahlia in the back!

This is an exciting box: chives, shallots, and oregano. I think I'm going to move the shallots into their own planter - those suckers have gotten huge!

Mmmmm..... argula.

Next up, some smaller planters that are on the ground. Here's rosemary and flat-leaf parsely. It won't be long before the rosemary will need a bigger pot, too. I love how it looks like a crazy great-smelling green monster.

Here's more aromatic herbs: sage and mint.

And last but not least, basil! My mom has these enormous basil trees (they are seriously huge) in her yard, and I'd love to be a pesto-making fool come summertime. I definitely need one more basil plant to satiate my appetite for my favorite herb. I recently moved this one because it was getting a little beaten up by the wind, as you can see. Shake it off and growgrowgrow, basil!

That's the latest from my little green perch. What are you growing this year? Any tips from your own urban garden to share?


  1. I'm so jealous of your adorable little patio garden! We are growing rosemary and have 1 tomato plant, and we're struggling to keep those going... I'd love to have a garden full of fresh herbs!

  2. Wait until my next visit - we are going to add some pops of color that will make that balcony sing. What you have planted so far is food for the body. Next is a feast for the eyes. I have some new ideas churning!

  3. I want to something like this on my back patio, but it seems so overwhelming!!

  4. Looks great! I love the flattened silverware for markers - I saw that on a blog yesterday and loved the idea.

  5. Did you plant from seeds or did you buy starts for the herbs?

  6. Anon: It was a combination of both - if you're asking about a specific plant let me know and I'll tell you which it was.

  7. Now that we are about to have a giant terrace, I want to try and do something similar. HELP ME MOM!

  8. New house = new terrain. I need a season of sun tracking before I can do much. I really want veggies, but not sure if I have enough sun anywhere on my property. We have a community garden if I can't do it in my yard, though. First step is removing HUGE shrubs that choke my house - sigh.

  9. Yeah... just now catching up on my Reader... SO IN LOVE with this! I keep meaning to ask our LL if I can clear out a patch and plant, but for the moment I'm just doing basil again this year. Last year's "crop" was such a heartbreak - its always such a finicky plant for me...





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