Category Archives: vegetables

How to Grow Broccoli in Containers

broccoliBroccoli is a delicious vegetable, and it’s time to get planting! For zone 5, broccoli seeds should be planted outside on May 1. I’ve already started mine inside the house in a mini greenhouse. But in general, we want to plant the seeds two to three weeks before the last frost.

What we need:

  • Broccoli seeds or plants
  • Vegetable soil
  • A pot that is at least 12 inches wide and 12 inches deep with good drainage
  • Rocks or coffee filters
  • Fertilizer (I am using a combination of Epsom salts and sugar–1 cup each)
  • Water

How to Plant:

  1. Place your container in a sunny spot–broccoli needs at least three hours of sunlight a day.
  2. Add the rocks or coffee filters in the bottom of the container.
  3. Add in the soil. I am using an organic vegetable soil. If you want to go this route, it isn’t hard to find–I purchased mine at Target.
  4. Mix the fertilizer into the soil.
  5. Plant the seeds 1/2 inch deep or plant the small plants slightly deeper than their current growth.
  6. Space the seeds 12-24 inches to give the broccoli room to grow. Leave around 36 inches between rows, or use another container.
  7. Cover with soil.
  8. Water.

That’s it! Wasn’t that easy?! In about three weeks, you’ll want to fertilize the plants. Be sure to water the plants regularly, avoiding getting water on the broccoli heads.

When to Harvest
I wish I could give you a clear date–like eight weeks after planting–but that never works. Harvest the broccoli when the buds are firm and tight–before it flowers. If you see a yellow flower, harvest immediately! Off shoots from the main plant will continue to produce broccoli for several weeks–or all summer, depending on how hot it gets.

The Uglies
There are a few pests we have to watch out for–aphids (awful) and cabbage loopers (ick!). If you see curling leaves or small holes in the leaves, take action immediately. I generally spray with a combination of water and dish soap.

Overall, broccoli is easy to grow and will provide your family with a super food throughout the summer! Broccoli may also be planted again for a fall harvest–just keep an eye on the first frost date!

Happy Gardening!





Starting Seeds!

seedsLast weekend, we worked on starting our seeds for the spring/summer. We did this last year six weeks before the last frost, and my mini greenhouse was seriously out of control. So this year, we started them four weeks before the last frost. But right now, I’m not really sure when the last frost will be given that we just had snow yesterday.

So, I germinated the seeds over night by soaking them in a luke warm bowl, and then just planted each seed in a container. After just three days, I have broccoli, chamomile, datura, and other herbs coming up already!

I’m so looking forward to warmer weather and planting these outside!

Happy Gardening!

Prepping for Spring!

Cleaning out planting beds

Today was the first warm (53 degrees), sunny day we’ve had since last October, so my husband and I got busy prepping for spring! It was so nice to feel the sun!


We began by cleaning out planting beds–we did this last fall, but we have massive oak trees behind the house and in the yard, so keeping the beds and the yard free of oak leaves is a year round job. We only got two beds done today, but once we did, we could see flowers finally sticking up out of the ground!

Pretty flowers Arriving Soon!


tulips peeking out

The crocus are finally making an appearance. I had about given up all hope for the crocus this year, but here they are! The tulips and hyacinths are also poking their heads out after our long, brutal winter. I’m very much afraid that instead of having a gradation of blooms, everything will bloom all at once; but, better this than no blooms at all! I hope the plants are coming alive in your garden, too!



Planting Peas

We also planted our peas today. It is late; normally, we would have done this around March 17, but it’s just been too cold and snowy. I’m hoping for at least one good crop of peas, though! This time, we did add Epsom salts and sugar (1/2 cup each) into the soil instead of other types of fertilizer. As things develop, I’ll let you know what happens with this.

Happy Gardening!

The Uninvited

564When I first began growing tomato plants, one of my chief delights was to go and check on them each morning. And then I ran into this.

I’d like to tell you I remained calm and handled it like a pro. But that didn’t happen. What really happened was that I ran off through the yard screaming, which of course, attracted my family.

With everyone around, I was brave enough to take another look. I thought all he needed was a hookah and he’d be in business. He had to go.

So what can you do? I didn’t want to  spray pesticides on my plant. I was planning on eating those tomatoes!

For most bugs, I just add a tablespoon of dish soap to a gallon of water. I put it in a spray bottle and gently mist the plant.

For this guy, my husband hand picked him off of the plant. But just in case, I combined 1 1/2 cups of water, 5531 cup vegetable oil, and 2 teaspoons of dish soap for the tomato plants. That took care of my problem although I still have nightmares about that guy every once in a while.

So, dear readers, what have you used in these situations? what do you think works best?

Happy gardening!

How to Grow Peas in Containers

pea-container1If you have a big yard, great–grow your peas in the yard. If you don’t, you can still have fresh, fantastic peas for your dinner table.

What you need:

  • pea seeds (pick your kind: English, Sweet, Snow….)
  • at least a 14 inch pot (the bigger the better) with drain holes
  • Vegetable soil (it will say vegetables on the bag)
  • rocks or coffee filter
  • something for the peas to climb on (a trellis, tomato wire, sticks, hangers you bend and shape into pretty forms)
  • fertilizer
  • a sunny spot outside

In zone 5, peas should be planted on or around March 17. This is a plant that does not do well with the high heat of summer, but if you start on St. Patrick’s Day, you should have time to grow at least two rounds of peas.

The night before you plant your peas:

Place your pea seeds in a bowl of water to help them germinate. Let them soak over night.

1. Place your container outside in a sunny spot where you want it to be.

2. Place your rocks or coffee filter in the bottom of the pot.

3. Add the vegetable soil.

4. Add your choice of fertilizer and  mix it up with the dirt. (I have used blood-root, but Epsom salt seems like a good choice, too.)

5. Place your pea seeds generously all over the pot. Cover with about another inch of soil.

6. Add your trellis.

9. Water.

Now just leave it alone! Really, just keep an eye on it–if the soil becomes dry, water it. If the temperatures are predicted to fall below 20 degrees, cover it. Remember to uncover the pot when the temperature rises! As the plant begins to grow, you may need to help it curl onto your climbing support. Really, peas are super easy to grow.

Harvest your peas! Replant! Enjoy fresh peas on their own, mixed with butter, in salads, soups, and pasta meals. Yum!