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11 September 2014

Container Gardening - What Worked, What Didn't

At the beginning of the summer, I bemoaned in a blog post my tiny postage stamp yard, Container Gardening Part 1 but was resolute that I would make it beautiful and make it work.

For the most part, my experiments with container gardening worked well. My tomatoes produced buckets full, my cucumbers, according to my hubby, are the best I have ever grown. My green beans and peas were adequate, but next year I will allow them more space between plants for a larger crop.


Pole Green Beans

Tomatoes and Nasturium

My zucchini and yellow summer squash, not so much!  Usually by this time of year, people are rolling up their car windows and turning on their porch lights, so I don't leave a bag full for them to “enjoy".

This year, in spite of large plants, the crop was lacking. We only had squash twice and that means, no chocolate chip zucchini bread for the freezer. 

Next year we are purchasing a horse trough to use as a raised bed.  I will plant the zucchini, yellow summer squash and Pole Beans together.  That way they will all have room to roam and produce.

courtesy of All Recipes website,

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour $
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  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups finely shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place first 3 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at low speed until well blended. Stir in applesauce.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 4 ingredients (through salt), stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating just until moist. Stir in the zucchini and chocolate chips. Spoon batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack, and remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Of course the containers of flowers were amazing, I had a lot of fun this spring finding the colors and going several new greenhouses to put them together just so. I love coleus and am thinking of trying to bring some of them in this winter for a pick me up on those drab winter days. 

(The bench is a redo of a wobbly one found in the yard)

Coral Geranium, Marigold, and Red Fire Salvia

I did purchase a bare root Charisma rose at the beginning of the season and planted it in a large pot. It has bloomed nonstop – with clusters of small fragrant bright orange roses. After a scare with sugar aphids, it rallied to bloom some more. For the sugar aphids, I used a spray bottle of water, added a few drops of dawn dish washing soap and tobasco.  I sprayed all the leaves thoroughly,  especially underneath, where they lurk.  I let that sit for a day or so, then I sprayed the roses with a hard stream of water a few times. Then I planted two chives in the pot with the roses. Aphids have an  abhorrence of garlic or onion, rather like vampires.  The aphids have not returned.

 Charisma Rose

My recycled bird bath's little succulent garden grew wonderfully and seems quite happy in the sun. All of the plants are perennials so I will move it to the back in a protected area and try to keep it over winter.

Bird Bath of Succulents

A family of barn swallows build the most incredible mud nest on the brick of our house. We, being idiots, decided to allow the nest to remain. They had 5 babies so we were able to watch as they grew into adulthood and left the nest. Just as we were about to take it down, mama swallow had another batch. So we are going through the entire process again. My husband finds it quite interesting to clean the porch daily since the little ones put their feathery behinds over the side of nest to do their business. Delightful. Next year we will be more aware and discourage them from building.

Five Baby Swallows Ready To Leave the Nest

I have begun the process of bringing the geraniums inside (make sure you repot and spray off so you don't bring their little buggie friends in also.) They will bloom in the winter and take away some of the winter gloom.
Pink Geranium

Riley enjoying the deck

So sadly summer has come to an end and with it lessons learned and a fresh approach for next year.

Written by Tanjla of the Etsy shop ZeldasCottage



NeverTooOld said...

I love this post T. I really do as it lends to me next years plans for my own "postage stamp" yard. Having yanked plants out fall 2013 I'd planned to create a backyard oasis, unfort I wasn't able to, but all things happen for a reason and the reason was to see what you've created which has inspired me and what I'd like to do next spring, so thank you! Oh and that Choco-chip Z bread, can't wait to give it a go as my neighbor just sent some Z's over yesterday!

NeverTooOld said...

Great pic of the world renowned and incomparable Riley!! I must say though, he don't look none too happy about having his pic taken, lol.

Blue Moon Attic said...

Wonderful ideas here that I can't wait to try and your zucchini bread looks delicious! I have a great recipe too so I'm going to make yours and then possibly combine them. Give Riley a hug for me. ♥

Angela Spiess said...

Thank you for the inspiration. My only gardening space is a balcony, but you gave me the encouragement I needed to make the most of my own small space. And the precious birdies! I'm in LOVE!

Anonymous said...

It's so great at the end of the summer to see the fruits of all your hard work paying off with such a lovely backyard. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. That Riley is really a handsome boy!