Trying something new – gardening in containers

One of the biggest lifestyle changes we’ve made lately is gardening in containers. After all those years having a big truck garden and so many tomatoes we needed to get an additional freezer for the sauce, we find water has become too expensive to garden in Chico anymore. So we potted them up and moved them to our camp site in the hills. 

They get noticeably bigger every day.

Here we share a well with neighbors, paying about $200 a year for our share of the electricity bill for the pump. Our summertime Cal Water bills in Chico were over $100 a month.

GFY Cal Water!

So far they are growing like crazy and getting good, fat blossoms.

These look healthy and viable – last year they were small and gray.

At this time last year, the heat had already hit the valley, and I learned that blossoms will not “set” in temperatures over 94 F. They just withered and fell off. Many of our gorgeous plants, which I’d started from seed, never had any fruit. They sat mummified in the heat.  We pulled many rather than waste the water.  We only got about three dozen tomatoes all summer.

I had used the last of our seed store. So this year we bought cheap plants at Home Depot. We got an interesting cherry tomato from a neighbor. We bought dirt in the bag at Walmart. And we gathered some old black plastic tree pots we’d saved for recycling bins. 

My son also found several of these “grow bags” around the corner in our neighbor’s “free” pile.

This is a Geopot. I’ve seen them online for about $6. We’ll see how it works. It could hold a lot more dirt but I ran out.

They’re light and have handles, so you can move your garden if you need to. 

I also brought my potted flowers – echinacea and selvia. While my echinacea is taking off nicely in the ground in Chico (as long as I run a sprinkler on it every few days), the selvia was getting pushed out by an outrageous crop of feverfew. So I potted up a few selvia and grabbed my collection of echinacea pots. My husband, bless his heart, heave-ho’d them into the F-150. 

Selvia is loving it here – the first day it was here, ants raided the pot and ate all the pill bugs.

In Chico I had to water these every day, here they only need a quick squirt every other morning, and they’re going to town. 

I know my husband wants me to spend more time up here, cause he loaded up over half my cactus pots and quite a few of my big rocks. We’ve arranged those around our little patio, just in time for blossoms.

I’ll keep you posted, next time, on “This Old Lady! with Juanita!”

 

 

 

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I got so far out of my comfort zone I think I lost it!

Like Jerry always said, “What a long, strange trip it’s been…”

Sometimes I’m not even sure where I been.  It’s been over a year since my husband and I mounted our plan to drastically downsize our lifestyle. We sold our biggest, most expensive, most time-consuming rental – leaving our son and his longtime girlfriend scrambling to find a place to live. We solved that and our tax problems by using the proceeds to buy them a house – in another town.

We’ve spent the last year getting them settled, and getting ourselves unsettled. We decided to rent space in our house, so we could spend more time on the road, and at our little camp site in the hills. 

Sounded so simple, swear to Goddess!

I worked for months whittling down the hoard we’d assembled, given too much living space. It was like the end of “The Jerk” – I was wandering around my place with a lamp in one hand, a chair in the other, trying to let go.  The lamp went, I kept the chair. Allllll the chairs!

I threw out stuff I’d adored for years, and then some stuff I’ve only bought recently. I thought I’d finally found the perfect dish rack, for example – it won’t fit my new sink. So it went.

I boxed up other stuff, including pots and pans I can’t use on my tiny new stove. Good thing I kept all that camp gear – those little Texsport pots are perfect!

And we have a much smaller refrigerator – that’s been interesting. Yes, people need refrigerators, it’s impossible to keep fresh produce without one. But yeah, they eat a lot of electricity, which is a concern, so we’re saving up for a propane fridge we found at Lowe’s. For now we supplement with an old Igloo lunch box we use to bring our stuff home from the grocery store in hot weather. The little freezer on the tiny refrigerator is just big enough to hold a few of those freezer bags. 

So we’ve finally emptied out the rental part of the house, we’ve got it cleaned and painted over the old nail holes, getting ready to call Ray in to do the floors. We’ve posted it online and we’ve already got a couple of interesting prospects, have to wait and see. 

I forgot how interesting it is to meet new people. That’s the upside of Landlady. For every doofus you deal with you meet a couple of interesting people. 

I’ll have to post some pics of what I’ve done to the lawn – we came upon a bonanza of free wood chips, so I’m goin’ for it! 

Just checking in, because it’s been so long since I posted last, I’ve been getting the sweetest little “you okay?” notes from the WordPress robot.

I’m okay. Just remember, that which does not kill you, will only make you stronger. I know, I’m not the first person who said that, but I’m living proof.