Monday, June 27, 2011

REVISITING EYE LEVEL GARDENING

In April I posted about my experiment in eye level gardening as a way to make gardening with a bad back doable.  I tried  growing vegetables in hanging baskets.

Mostly, it worked perfectly. Sugar snap peas were a bust but every thing else did fairly well and the ease was wonderful. 

No weeds, no varmints giving my veggies a crew cut, and really easy to tend though you have to pay attention to watering and fertilizer needs as these are container plants.   

Now if you want to feed a family or wish to can, in ground is your only option.  But for one  or two people, this does work.

Roma tomatoes, which are  my favorite, doing well. I only have two baskets of these as I am not a huge tomato eater.


Ok--I don't see a mess of beans yet but it is early and I have 4 baskets of these.

My early planting was several baskets  of Romaine Lettuce and green onions which did really well. Those red strips by the shed are my raised beds which always produce and are fairly easy on the joints and bones. 

Potatoes, kale, carrots, and onions are my raised bed crops.  My onions were given a crew cut by a cute bunny with bad breath but I still  salvaged some nice Spring onions.

My first tomato and some  green onions from the hanging baskets plus some kale and Yukon Gold potatoes from the raised beds.



I have become a dehydrated kale addict. You can make kale chips in the oven in about 10 minutes but the higher heat destroys some of kale's marvelous nutrients.


Dehydrating takes much longer but oddly uses less electricity and retains the nutritional value.  Prepared the same way as the oven chips with a little olive oil, minced garlic and sea salt, they are yummy.   You just have to wait longer.  
So  was the experiment a success?  Yes and I will continue to do this.   If you have a creaky back or perhaps joint  problems, this is no strain gardening.

BON APPETIT

41 comments :

  1. Denny and I thought about doing one of those upside down hangers for a tomato plant but the logistics of where to hang it when we moved from place to place without destroying the plant or making a huge mess nipped that in the bud. We've also tried the tomato plant in a five gallon bucket but found that the movement of the trailer in transit could knock off tender green tomatoes. So we just buy what we can at farmers' markets, if the tomatoes are actually "real" tomatoes and not hothouse tomatoes.

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  2. I noticed your hanging basket of veggies in a former photo of your porch, Patti...great idea! At this point, I'm only harvesting cucumbers, basil, gr. onions and chives from my small garden, tomatoes and zucchini are forming though!

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  3. I love your creativity and gumption. Good for you!---and there is nothing like the taste of what you have grown yourself.

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  4. Such a good idea - no weeds, no varmints, and easy on the back. And obviously, you're very diligent about watering and fertilizing - your vegetables look great! Glad to see it's going well.

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  5. This is a larger version of my husband's horse trough gardens in the back yard. I have so photographs, I'll post soon. He plants only tomatoes, and peppers of several varieties. He planted a read hot cherry tomato this year. I am said to be sure and tell when these Mexican dancing tomatoes start producing (my name for them).

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  6. Congratulations, Clever One! I think I'd still need to sit on the porch with a shotgun. . . !

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  7. I never thought to dehydrate kale. I try all sorts of things to make it taste good but retain the nutrition and I rarely succeed. I will try that.

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  8. Patti,

    I just think that you are so clever. I use my dehydrator, and yes it does take forever. I'm glad that you told me that it keeps in the nutrients and uses less electricity.

    I could plant the containers in the front yard with food, but we have so many deer who stop by. Our backyard is still a mess/dog yard ... but maybe next year! I'll give some of your hanging basket ideas a try then.

    I hope that you are having a great week.

    Kathy M.

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  9. Just finding out about those kale chips was worth the visit! Thanks for sharing this. People ought to grow their own food any way they can.

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  10. Your eye-level garden looks incredibly successful and productive. I love that you are already harvesting food. Our spring/summer arrived so late, that most of our stuff is just starting to flower.

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  11. WOW, I am impressed. I gave up on tomatoes when we were overrun with them and then the next year when I planted fewer plants, we had almost none owing to bad weather. Now I stick to flowers and farmers market which always outdoes me anyway. I do like hanging baskets. I hung another one last Saturday with petunias, calitunias and calibrochia in it. They can stand the heat and look marvelous in late summer when all else is fried. Hey, you reminded me I have a mess of beans in the produce drawer. I promised David I would cook them, but you know how I am. Dianne

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  12. How terrific, Patti....I think it is wonderful that your "experiment" worked so beautifully! You are one smart Gardener....!

    Thanks for the Birthday Wishes....!
    This is the day!

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  13. You are one smart cookie. And like you said for one or two this way of gardening is great.

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  14. Patti..I'm so impressed!!! I'm on a mission for next year. My house and yard isn't really good for this, but I've got an idea or two that might work at my place. Thanks so much for the idea...

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  15. Is there no end to your talents? I tried growing a topsy turvy tomato vine and I couldn't even get the seeds to sprout! No green thumb here!

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  16. Your creative gardening just shows that when there is a will, there is a way. You obviously have found another way to do something that you love. A friend had a fungus in her garden and yard which kills many garden plants, and she has been doing gardening by pots on her deck. But your solution of hanging baskets is even better!

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  17. Looking good!! You've got a good thing going there. I have yet to see how my container gardens will go.

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  18. RV Vagabonds,
    One thing that kept me from being a full time RV'er when I retired was that I would not be able to get my hands dirty. I would have missed that terribly.

    Wanda,
    I remember your sharp eyes spotted them from another post. Doesn't the stuff you grow taste so much better?


    Clint,
    I couldn't agree more. Store veggies taste artificial after you grow your own.

    Ellen,
    I have been diligent but only because it has been so easy. I have a big lazy streak.

    Nitwit,
    Ooh, I hadn't heard about hot cherry tomatoes. Will have to look for some. Thanks.

    marylee,
    Considering your acrobatic squirrel population, you would have to hire security guards.
    My bunnies can't climb.

    islandwonder,
    Toss them with olive oil,garlic and sea salt and you may get hooked. Be sure to remove the tough center stem.

    Oregon gifts,
    If I had the choice of deer or a garden, I would chose the deer. They are so pretty.

    rosaria,
    I am obsessed with the kale chips. I no longer even think potato chips.

    robin,
    You have much more pleasant weather but we do have a longer growing season. I do miss my year round gardening that I had in Florida but I enjoy the snow and cool. Fair exchange.

    Dianne,
    Aw, a mess of beans sounds good. Our farmers market is pretty puny but I do hit it when I can. Beats the supermarket plastic veggies.

    marciamayo,
    Thanks marcia- it has proven to be a winner for me.

    OOLOH,
    Hope your are blowing out 80 candles (Phew) as we speak and are having a wonderful day.

    Patty,
    It would never do for a family but for me it is perfect.

    turquoisemoon,
    Hope you can adapt it to your situation. Fresh veggies are wonderful.

    oklhdan
    Not sure there is a beginning but thanks anyway. Keep trying, I had a bunch of failures at first.

    alwaysinthebackrow,
    I hope this might work for her. So far, I have had no bugs or disease.

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  19. You have inspired me. I have some tomato plants in pots and a few hanging plants. Next year I will forget about the flowers and go with the veggies - there is nothing like local, fresh food. My first tomatoes are green and growing-can't wait until they are ready to eat.

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  20. You do not have to worry about rabbits this way:)

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  21. Yum! I am going to try the dehydrated kale this week. Glad your hanging garden is a success! : )

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  22. I've never heard of dried kale. I long ago got rid of my dehydrator. I will have to get another one. Also, I've never grown potatoes. I'd like to try that. You are doing a great job with your gardening.

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  23. I love this gardening idea especially since bending over or kneeling on the ground is getting harder all the time! Your produce looks good. And thanks Patti for the nice comments on my blog. Have a great week.

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  24. How fun! The kale chips sound yummy.

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  25. I'm intrigued by the Kale chips - my daughter has my dehydrator right now but I want to try that! blessings, marlene

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  26. Wonderful container gardening.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I could not reply to your comment since you have no reply comment blogger...so here I am and glad I stopped by.

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  27. Pat,
    You must have come in while I was commenting. I know you are trying with herbs. Isn't it fun.

    Mercyn,
    I usually did the flower routine but this year went a bit different. I find them quite attractive if not as colorful. Good luck.

    Dee,
    That is one of the big plusses.

    Jewels,
    You are the one who got me hooked on kale crisps in the first place. Good luck.

    Retired English Teacher.
    I was surprised how easy the potatoes are. I am also growing sweet potatoes for the first time in Ar. Used to do them all the time in Florida.

    Cheryl,
    I think you will like it. It is so incredibly easy on the joints and muscles. Just limited harvests but for one or two people, just right with no waste.

    Barry,
    Careful Barry, they are addictive. You should be able to grow kale all summer.

    Stichinbythelake,
    Like I told Barry, these are very addictive but so good for you. Enjoy.

    Gail,
    Thanks for making the trip. I am not sure what "no reply comment blogger" is.

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  28. Kale chips? Wow that's worth trying out! You are so inventive!
    I have got some tomato plants in pots in my garden.I hope they survived the hailstones of this afternoon.

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  29. Great looking veggies! Kale Krisps sure all the rage, I don't like it cooked, wondering if I would like it? I do have a dehydrator used mostly for catnip, lol, but no kale planted but I am sure I could pick up a bunch and give it a try.

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  30. Your hanging baskets have done great. Mine tend to dry out too much since I often forget to water them. I love kale but have never had kale chips. They sound good.

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  31. Kale chips? Never heard of 'em--might be the only way I'd be interested in eating kale.

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  32. I am so impressed, Patti! That kale idea looks really good. I tried some in the oven once but it didn't turn out very well. I shall have to try again. I do love your hanging gardens.

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  33. I have been threatening to do something similar for years. Since yours are so successful, I just might try it next season!!

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  34. my neighbor has started doing this for the very same reason
    maybe I'll try next season

    your baskets look great

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  35. I am trying strawberries in a large pot this year and I always do a couple of tomato plants in pots ....sometimes they produce enough for our needs in salads for the summer...other times only a couple of fruit!!! ...not sure why. Like the idea of the hanging baskets.
    Loved your previous post ...no idea why ...must be your smile. The only time I experienced anything close was my first visit to where my Mum was brought up ...a small seaside town in Scotland. I was usd to big city life so when I went for a morning stroll and was greeted by smiles and 'Lovely morning'and elderly gentlemen doffed their hats, I was bemused ...I wondered if the elerly men had known my mum and saw a resemblence but I think it was just the small town way.xx

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  36. Reader Wil,
    Think you will love them. Hope you survive the hail. That is rough on tender plants.

    Iowa Garden Lady,
    I never ate Kale till I discovered chips. Now I eat it at least 3 times a week either as crisps or sauted. I sure wasted a lot of years not eating it.

    Sweet Virginia Breeze,
    They do need a lot of water. Mine are on the porch so it is easy to keep up.

    Patricia K. Lichen,
    Try it. It was how I got started.

    Kay,
    In the oven, you really have to watch them closely. Just a few extra minutes can ruin a batch. That is why I like the dehydrater.

    kenju,
    Give it a shot Judy. It really is easy.

    Dianne,
    So glad it is working for her. Hope it works for you also.

    Angie,
    I do believe small towns are just nicer. The people aren't overwhelmed and stressed out like the big city folks.

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  37. We have tried the container garden this year with herbs and strawberries (and tomatoes which are slow to bloom). Watering is a daily must do. For us it's just a trial to see if anything does grow.

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  38. KleinsteMotte,
    Yes, containers do require a lot of water and also fertilizer as it washes out so quickly, at least on my hanging baskets. Hope your experiment is successful.

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  39. So happy that your gardening in baskets turned out such a success.
    After reading your first post about it I decided to plant veggies in my big clay pots. It was fun watching everything grow and Christi and I have enjoyed a few bell peppers, lettuce and only a couple tomatos.
    Thanks for giving me this neat idea. More plans for next year
    Love
    Maggie

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  40. Grandma Yellow Hair,
    Oh, I am so glad you tried container planting. It does work and is such fun to pick your lunch.

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