February 27, 2012

Weekend Planting: Outdoor Containers

While accomplishing many things this weekend, our focus centered around outdoor container planting. We've been starting many seeds indoors and are just about getting to a temperate point here in Richmond where we can safely plant outdoors.

Still unsure of where our final plans for cultivating will end up, this year we're simply planting as much as we can in various containers to find out where our best sun falls throughout the day and just generally get an idea of what is and isn't working in our space.

Indoors we've sprouted broccoli and leeks, both of which we've transferred over to outdoor containers with a little more room to grow. The broccoli will need single containers of their own once they take root further and we can determine which to thin out.

Transferring as many varieties outdoors is also beneficial to allow for natural air flow and movement — even subtle yet steady air movement can help strengthen plants by providing the necessary resistance they need to thrive. Think of it like resistance training – the more resistance you are working against, the stronger your muscles condition; it's the same with plants!

So far, here's what we're looking like:

As you can see, all of our containers are hanging out on our upstairs landing where we know we're getting full sun. I had to makeshift a "baby-gate" of sorts to keep you know who from tearing everything up. Here he is trying his best to look innocent beyond the barrier, but we're not quite buying it...

Right now we've got the following plant varieties either in seed form or early sprouting stages: broccoli, leeks, mesclun greens, carrots, radishes, 2 different types of peas, and green onions.

I was also able to install two trough planters along the middle section of the landing for later planting:

These were much easier to install than I imagined — they hung right up after nailing supports on either side and seem to be sturdy enough to hold the weight of planting to come. We're pretty excited at the extra vertical space these trough planters provide outside the railings of our landing and hope to install more soon.

After installing the trough planters, we realized we'd need to do some heavy pruning of the trees out back to allow for more light to shine through in optimal areas. Many varieties of plants can grow in areas that don't get full sun — a good rule of thumb is leafy crops can stand some shade while fruiting crops will need full sun. We're not 100% sure what we'll plant in these planters yet so I clipped as many over hanging branches as I could reach while there.

We also had a chance to start a few indoor herb planters leftover from a kit we had from Restoration Hardware at Christmas along with a few other indoor growing projects we'll share later in the week:

While we've got dreams of beautiful edible landscaping, we're more excited to just be able to say we've got things going and moving forward here in the 17 Apart gardening department.


  1. Gardening has been our family bonding for over a year now. My wife alongside our children really love the kind of activity we do. For the next weekend what we are planning to do is to build a succulent wall that will surround our garden.

  2. Great blog! I just found you today, but will keep coming back I'm sure. I love the green onion post (I shared it on my timeline on FB) and will do it when I get back from my trip. I love the photos, very artistic. I also checked out some of your other suggestions to read. I like E.A.T. as well. Not sure what to make of Honest Food blog.... Interesting..... Different.... Anyway, thanks for sharing! I'm a blog writer as well, so I know how much time and effort it takes.
    All the best,


  3. I have a question on carrots, I'm not having any luck with them. Is there anyway to regrow them like the celery or onions. I have been having luck with the celery and even tried the same way with roman lettuce with good results.

  4. I thought I had to wait for spring, WRONG, I haven't garden for 18yrs. But I am retire now and I am ready for start growing vegetables indoors. I did grow herbs once. I love it.

    I grow the green onions already,cut and chop and freeze for cooking,especially soups.
    I am now trying to grow celery,I can't wait!!


    1. Wonderful! We wish you much success and a green thumb!


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