Exploding Egg

A mad attempt at patio gardening

Just so you know, I’m so bad at growing plants that I’ve actually killed a philodendron before – a houseplant that is so hearty you almost have to willfully try to put it out of its misery.



Not that I was trying to kill it. These things just sort of happen.

The only things I’ve been consistently good at growing are cats and despite my black thumb, catnip.

My cat, Tao

My cat, Tao

That said, I decided to once again try my hand at growing some vegetables on my patio this year. Poor plants.

This year, though, I’m hopeful – mainly because I actually asked the nice garden gal at Fred Meyer’s for advice and LISTENTED to her.

So we’ll see if this works.

First off, she told me to get bigger pots than I had been. So I guess I wasn’t giving them enough root room in the past.

Then she told me to use any kind of dirt that was on sale, because it didn’t matter. The main thing is the plant food.



This stuff called “Osmocote” – apparently it’s the shizz. And as a bonus – you toss a spoonfull of the stuff on top of the dirt around the plant once, then leave it and it takes care of business for four months.

Then I picked some plants.

First I chose a couple catmint – which is supposed to be like catnip except it hasn’t really passed the sniff test for my cats (Tao and Zoo) so far. But hey, catnip is the only successful thing I’ve grown so far, so what the heck, right?

Second, I asked her the million dollar question: “What can survive me?”

For patio gardening, she said something called “bush vegetables” are key, because they survive container gardening very well. I picked Baby Bush Zucchini and Bush Cucumber.

I also picked a couple types of small tomato plants: Juliet Grape and Sweet 100 Cherry tomatoes. She said the smaller tomatoes do just fine in containers and they’ll produce well into October.

And I picked an Italian Roaster Pepper – she said all the pepper plants do well in containers.

And finally I picked a Green Globe Artichoke, which needed a mondo massive pot and won’t produce anything but flowers in the first year, she said. I guess you can grill the flowers, though, and they’re tasty.

The artichoke plant and perhaps the catnip are the only ones that will survive the winter. And next year I should have artichokes growing on that sucker, if by chance it survives.

So, all that done, planted, and set up on my patio now, I figured I’d do a photo section, chronicling their growth (or possibly, their early demise).

Wish me luck, kids! Cheers!

Day 1: 5/4/2013

Day 1

Day 1 (2)

Day 1 (3)

Day 1 (4)

Day 2: 5/5/2013

Day 2 (3)

Day 2 (2)

catnip (old plant transplanted and still alive!)

catnip (old plant transplanted and still alive!)

bush zucchini

bush zucchini

catmint 1

catmint 1



catmint 2

catmint 2

bush cucumber

bush cucumber

Italian roaster pepper

Italian roaster pepper

Juliet tomato

Juliet tomato

Sweet 100 tomato

Sweet 100 tomato

Day 3: 5/6/2013





bush zucchini

bush zucchini




Hmm…. What do you think folks? Should I give them names? Any suggestions?

Day 4: 5/7/2013





Day 5: 5/8/2013





Day 6: 5/9/2013





So I got a little advice this week from a friend. She said watering in the morning is way better than watering at night. Helps keep the plants from getting too sun fried in the daytime.

She also said strawberries do OK on patios and are pretty easy to set up. That might be next!

Day 7: 5/10/2013





Day 8: 5/11/2013

Added some new friends to the mix today.

Got a strawberry plant, which the gal told me should last for years. Just need to keep it near the house and relatively unfrozen in winter months. They like to vine, so I’m going to try to encourage it to wind around my patio grate.

Also got some herbs. The herbs aren’t as picky about space – the gal (it was the same one as last week) said they’ll grow to whatever size your planter is.

I got another catnip, because my cats have absolutely NO interest in the catmint (although apparently you can make tea with it so it’s not completely useless). I also got peppermint, Italian parsley and basil plants and some kale.

I wanted just one kale, but they only came in five-packs, so now I have five of them growing. Should make for some good salads, at least.





Day 9: 5/12/2013





Day 10: 5/13/2013

I’m noticing that my tomato plants are starting to look way bigger than just a week and a half ago. So are the bush plants.

Keep up the good work, little plants!!!





Day 11: 5/14/2013







May 5, 2013 - Posted by | Plants, Portland | , , , ,


  1. Lottsa luck!!! Jim’s attempts sometimes work. I’m going to pass this on to him. We’re rooting (get it) for you!!!
    Love Auntie.

    Comment by Marilyn Lawlor | May 6, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks auntie!!! Hope you guys are doing great! Love you!

      Comment by SueVo | May 6, 2013 | Reply

  2. What a great diary of your patio gardening experience! I hope you keep the photos coming because I’ve bookmarked this page and I look forward to watching your container garden grow — and reading your clever writing.

    Comment by Alice Ingrahm | May 9, 2013 | Reply

    • Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying it!!

      Comment by SueVo | May 9, 2013 | Reply

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