Our (Little) Garden

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Many moons ago we lived in the country on two acres on the Central Coast of California. I won’t get too nostalgic except to say that we had quite the large vegetable garden each summer. And, truth be told, while I don’t miss gravel roads, well water, and septic tanks, I do miss that garden.

It’s been quite a few years since my green thumb has faded. And one of the downsides to renting is not being able to renovate the backyard the way we would if we owned it. So when Burpee sent me a gift card to explore their catalog, I was on the hunt for something to get us back to a little homegrown goodness.

I chose this Bio Planter that holds up to 17 or 18 plants. It appears to be constructed of corrugated plastic. It’s super lightweight, but also seems to hold up well to the elements. We filled it with basil and tomatoes and a couple pepper plants. And we even have an itty-bitty tomato growing. Isn’t he cute?

We also have something eating the basil, so I’m on a mission to figure that one out. Do slugs eat basil? Any green thumbs out there have suggestions for me?

It’s been wonderful to go out in the afternoons with my little helper, FishBoy6. He’s my self-appointed gardening assistant. And while we don’t have two acres, we’re making the most of blooming where we’re planted.

How ’bout you, Mama?

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Disclosure: Burpee provided me with a gift card to explore their catalog. I was not compensated in any way for reviewing this product, nor was I required to do so. My opinions are my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

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  1. Great Idea! We live in the city and like you we don’t have the space for the beautiful garden that I dream of having some day. Also we have the samll critter problem so growing our own is out ….until we move!

    But I do have the desire to show my children how things start small and grow so I will be looking into this planter idea. Thanks!

    1. @Mrs. Mordecai, I know we have slugs on the hill, so I think I will try the beer trick. But, I also just found three tomato hornworms. Ick!

  2. My dad (the expert gardener) uses an organic product called (something like) Escar-Go! (Cute, I know.) It safely gets rid of slugs.

  3. Cool! Our apartment doesn’t even have a patio, but a few months back I bought fresh mint and basil at the grocery store, and it still had the roots and all, “Living Herbs” they were called. I planted them, and while the basil sadly did not make it, the mint is flourishing quite well in my window along with its houseplant buddies. I am thinking of getting some more basil, plus I saw a couple others-chives, dill, and thyme, maybe? So far I don’t do much with mint but the kids like to eat the leaves! 🙂

    I googled slug remedies and found a bunch of ideas at a glance. Good luck!

  4. We planted our first garden this year in raised beds. I am just starting to get lots of tomatoes, more than I know what to do with, but not enough to can yet. Bugs ate our squash and zucchini 🙁 Those were the 2 plants I really wanted. I love fried squash! BTW, I live in the south so we like everything fried! My cucumbers have been ok and I have 2 honeydew melons growing. Bell peppers aren’t doing great. It has been really fun to watch them grow and my girls have enjoyed “helping” as well.

    That container is so neat. I think it is perfect for kids!

  5. We have an old washtub turned into a garden… 2 roma tomato plants, cucumbers, onion, eggplant, peppers, spinach, and lots of lettuces. I got rid of our slug problem by sprinkling egg shells and coffee grinds around the edge of my washtub.

  6. My garden doesn’t grow. In central Florida, we only have sand for soil. Through trial and error I have found that I spend more in soil, watering, etc than my plants can produce. I just go to the farmer’s market now.

  7. We are using a Topsy Turvy to grow two types of peppers, tomatoes, and some herbs. I also made my own DIY Topsy Turvy and in that one I am growing another type of tomato. We are having a VERY humid, dry spell up here in New England right now and that is doing a number on our veggies, but we keep watering and watering hoping they will do ok!!! YAY for fresh veggies!!!

  8. We used to have a small garden, but alas we aren’t at home during the growing season these days. At the apartment where we’re living while hubby works “on the road”, we tried to do some container gardening. Unfortunately it’s been so hot, and our patio receives full afternoon sun (and heat) no amount of watering has kept them going–it’s just too hot this year, we should have planted much earlier. Lesson learned, next year if we’re not home and attempt this again, we’ll start much earlier in the spring.

  9. If you aren’t able to do what you want with your yard I definately reccomend container gardening!!

    I have done it for years even though I have a regular garden plot!!

    Its awesome for herbs even strawberries.

    We used to live in a townhouse, with no yard so I started container gardening, we did tomatoes, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, strawberries, herbs and cucumbers!! It was great!!

    Good Luck!!


  10. We’re doing a garden for the first time this year. Well, this is the first time we’re seriously trying hardcore. So far it seems to be doing great! I’ve loaded myself with tons of research in order to be able to defeat the little critters before they arrive.

    As for the basil. If they are tiny holes all over the leaves, it could be flea beetles. Flea beetles are tiny black bugs that jump like fleas. You can spray the plants with a pepper spray (about 1 Tbspn hot sauce and 32 ounces water in a spray bottle). Make sure you spray the tops and bottoms of the leaves. This will actually deter quite a few pests. I believe slugs will take out a whole leaf, not just leave holes in the leaf.

    From your picture it looks like your pepper plant is getting eaten as well. If it were my garden, I’d just use the pepper spray, which is exactly what I did when my plants were starting to take off. Thankfully, the plants can withstand a lot of damage and still produce. My tomato seedlings really got eaten up, but they’re huge now and have tons of tomatoes on them. Actually, a groundhog ate all of my tomato plant and left just a little stem. That tomato plant still grew. I was quite shocked!

    Good luck!

    1. @Alex Hall, I will definitely try the pepper spray, in addition to the beer trick, and the hand picking of lovely hornworms like the three I just found. Eww!

  11. Love that planter! Such a great way to garden in a small space. I came across an interesting bug spray. I haven’t tried it, yet, but I plan to very soon in what’s left of our garden. Crush several cloves of garlic. Fill a bucket with water and put the garlic in it. Let it soak overnight. The next morning, take the garlic out and pour the water into a spray bottle. Spray on the leaves of your plants. (Source: The MAILBOX Magic Moments: Exploring Nature with Your Kids page 49)
    Hope I haven’t broken any copyright laws or anything by posting that!

  12. An easy way to catch slugs is to half-fill a small bowl with beer. The slugs are attracted to the stuff, crawl in, get intoxicated and die. I’m always amazed at how many slugs my beer traps catch. And it means you don’t have to spray anything on your plants, which can sometimes kill the other helpful bugs.

  13. I just picked my 6th Zucchini of the season. Made a batch of Chocolate Zucchini Bread. Yum! And my daughter has picked 4 grape tomatoes that were ripe enough to eat. We have 6 tomato plants, 2 zucchini, an eggplant (I’m the only one who likes eggplant), green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower and watermelon for good measure.

    There will hopefully be a lot of tomato canning going on in about a month.

    We moved our garden to a new spot this year. It loves it. Tons and tons of sun and this is by far our best garden since being in our home 11 years.

  14. Two tomato plants, basil, chives, sage and mint growing in containers on the deck. Plus marigolds for some natural pest control — if they survive my gardening helper’s decision that it would be a good idea to water them with bubble solution.

  15. Hey Jess
    I had that same problem with basil when I planted it next to some tomato plants. There would be huge chunks of the leaves missing. I was going crazy trying to figure it out. I would even go outside at night with the flashlight examining the leaves looking for the culprit. Then one day as I was about to throw basil leaves in the food processor, I found a big green tomato worm( the ugly ones with the big horn) I finally found the problem. He blended in so well on the bottom of those basil leaves. Now I just wonder, how many I never saw and accidentally ground up in my pesto. Ewww!

  16. Good for you. I really think everyone can be growing something no matter what their situation. It’s yummy food, often cheaper (depending on how you go about it,) and a great activity for a family. See my garden at heathersbackyardgarden.com

  17. We usually grow tomatoes and pumkins. But this year, my daughters and I started from seed in a container the following: basil, tomato, sugar snap peas, baby watermelon, peppers, pumpkin, and strawberries. The strawberries never came up at all. The rest are growing and we have already eaten a handful of sugar snap peas and some basil. The money we invested in it will probably be more than we get to eat but it’s been a fun, learning experience.

  18. I looked on the Burpee site and all over the web, but can’t find the Bio Planter. Do you have a link? It looks perfect for planting strawberries!

    1. I contacted them when I was writing the post. The planter is currently unavailable. I’ll share a link when they put it back up.

  19. We have a 4×4 garden in our backyard. This is our 2nd year. The first year we didn’t get anything…literally nothing. We moved the location, added some cheap soil (hubby works @ Lowes & got broken bags), & changed what we planted…I think we’ve easily gotten 50+ tomatoes and the plants are still going strong. We also have peppers that are doing pretty well. The onions, carrots, and pumpkins are growing, but don’t seem to be doing much as far as producing veggies. Next year we plan to do all tomatoes & peppers. Love the ‘beer trap’ idea..definately have to try that. Hubby goes out pretty much everyday and pulls the green horned things off the plants by hand.

  20. We’ve been doing square foot gardening for the first time this year and it has been going pretty well. I don’t think we will make back the cost of materials until next year but it has been wonderful to go outside and pick home-grown produce. We have two 4’x4′ beds and have grown spinach, lettuce, radishes, several herbs, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash and zucchini. I have a history of killing plants so I’ve been amazed at how well these are doing. Our tomatoes and basil in particular have just taken off and we’ve had fresh squash and/or zucchini once or twice a week for the past month. Next year I will tweak my layout a bit and plant more of some and less of others but I’ve been very happy with the SFG technique.