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Monday, May 11, 2020

Not the Loveliest of Pots, but It Will Work

When my son was in the 4th grade, he had to write a report on his home state -- Washington. In investigating what Washington produces, one book he read highlighted the state's wood and paper industry. The page said, "trees grow well." This phrase took root in my mind and comes to the surface every year when I begin to plant my vegetable garden.

The sunny part of my yard is extremely limited. Each year, I try to plan where I can plant those heat and sun-loving vegetables, such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and beans. Eggplant and peppers are completely out of the question for me. I've tried and had success about 20% of the years. It's just too shady. To cap it off, in one of the sunniest portions of the yard, a wide, paved path takes up a huge amount of the sun-filled real estate. This year, I decided that I would line that path with my various pots.


While I love the look of terra cotta pots, the winter weather really beats those beauties up. Lurking in the corner of the garage are a stack of chipped, cracked, and otherwise less-than-stellar clay vessels of all sizes. Here is one of the two largest of those broken down, but still useful, pots. The upper edges of both pots have completely broken off, leaving this ragged, "who dragged that thing in" appearance. 

So, they're not pristinely beautiful. But they do have a charm of their own -- a shabby, bedraggled chic, if you will. And, they seem to be holding the soil pretty well. I planted some of my zucchini in the pots and am keeping my fingers crossed.

With no realistic way to shop for garden supplies this spring, I'm having to use what I have on hand, even if it's not my first choice. I have revived the components of a pea trellis and put it all together a week ago. I also found part of an old soaker hose running through a defunct part of a garden bed, which I've now used in one of the strawberry beds. And as I need soil for pots (such as these two), I'm looking to my own yard for soil rich enough to hold water during the hot weeks of summer. In past years, I likely would have bought pot soil. 

So, while there have been many inconveniences to staying at home during this pandemic, I think I may be saving money and giving a little extra life to some of the belongings that have lingered in corners of the garage or less-wandered parts of the yard.

13 comments:

  1. Way to work with what you have! Looks like that pot will do the job just fine. So are nurseries closed where you live? (thinking about your comment about not being able to buy potting soil.) I had seen where they were closed in some states (Michigan comes to mind) but wasn't sure if that was widespread. At the height of this, local nurseries here were doing delivery and curbside pickup options, but now that things are reopening, it's pretty much business as usual other than the masks, sneeze guards at the registers, and social distancing in the store.

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    1. Hi Cat,
      The nurseries are open, here, but I get mixed reviews on the social distancing from the ladies in our neighborhood garden club. Home Depot, which would be the least expensive for me, appears to be rather crowded, shoulder to shoulder, and from what my neighbor said, not many folks wearing masks. We still have local transmission on a daily basis, here, in my own town. I haven't been inside a store since February. I do get grocery pick-up, now, and that's working well for me. I'll be waiting until June, I think, to go into a store. It's different in every state, and in every community.

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    2. Michigan's nurseries are now open. We are doing a slow phasing in of places where we can go. What I am noticing here is that if you go to stores first thing in the morning, it's a lot quieter and much easier to practice social distancing. Every place is so different these days!

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    3. Hi Lili,
      I tried to post yesterday, but was not successful. I went to Home Depot in Redmond, WA last week. It was like the wild west, with people not observing any kind of distancing, and very few customers wearing masks. I didn't feel very safe there, and could not wait to leave. I don't plan on going back unless absolutely necessary.
      Molbaks garden center in Woodinville has timed entry that requires a reservation. I went there a couple weeks ago and the store was pretty empty. They have nice plants, but their prices are pretty high. QFC and Fred Meyer in my area have a good selection of nice plants as well, and they aren't too expensive.
      - Tina

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    4. P.S. Your well-loved pots are great! Good for you for putting them to use. :)
      - Tina

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    5. Hi Tina,
      I have heard from a couple of friends that Molbaks was much better. I think Swanson's is doing curb-side and friends have also said that worked for them. The prices are the thing that keeps me from doing either of those nurseries. I'm keeping Fred Meyer in mind, in case I really need something. One of my neighbors said she went to Fred Meyer about a half hour after the Senior's hour ended. It was after the Senior's had finished up but before the regular people were there. She said this was a sweet spot for shopping, with regards to crowds. So, I may try that if I need it. I can also just live with what I've got, if need be, for this one year. I miss just being able to go into a nursery and look at the beautiful flowers, though.
      Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  2. We reuse pots all the time for veggies and flowers, so you are in good company. I have noticed when I go shopping or to work that people are more practical and less focused on appearance these days. I suspect that will be true in terms of how their homes and yards look as well.

    I just read a very good article about transmission of the virus. It's at erinbromage.com and I found it to have practical advice from a credible source.

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    1. Hi Kris,
      well, that's good to know about people and the reduced emphasis on appearance this year. I'll fit right in, when I'm ready to venture inside a store. Ha ha!
      I'll check out that article. Thank you for the web address! I've been following CDC information, mostly.

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  3. Hi Lili.

    I reuse pots for flowers, also. I'm wondering though, does anyone have any thoughts on planting veggies in cheap plastic type pots from Dollar Stores? I'm wanting to do some container gardening. I have more of the cheap plastic pots than the clay. I can't seem to find any conclusive information online.

    We live in an area with a higher than normal rate of cancer incidence. I'm worried about the cheap plastic pots leaching something nasty into the soil. Maybe that's paranoid...

    Angie

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully, others will chime in on their thoughts, Angie. But I'll tell you what I think. I think it's better to eat lots of veggies/fruit and not worry about things like pesticides or plastics then to eat less produce. So, if growing veggies in plastic pots would give me more fruits/veggies than I'd otherwise eat, then I'd take the risk.

      Delete
  4. That is a good way to look at it. Sometimes the best we can do, has to be good enough.

    Thanks for your input.
    Angie

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  5. I, too, am worrying less about what things look like and have been sticking plants here and there. I do go into the stores but where I've been, there has been pretty good compliance with orders for social distancing, etc. But I will say that I am still anxious when I'm out.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      that's good -- where you've been there's been compliance with social distancing regulations. From what my local friends tell me, it's hit or miss here. Some stores have been chaotic, no masks, too close for comfort, etc, but others are better. The better ones tend to be the more expensive ones.

      Maybe not worrying about how things look will turn out to be a good side effect of this virus.

      Delete

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