Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Last Season Garden Review: Windowbox Veggies

Well I'm certainly blogging slowly this spring! My last year garden review posts are about to crash into this year's activities. Ah well, sometimes life gets too hectic for regular blogging...hopefully now I can keep up :) 

Anyhow, last year's windowbox plan was a departure from pretty flowers and into pepper production. In this box we have (from left to right): dichondra 'Silver Falls', hot pepper 'Serrano Del Sol', sweet pea 'High Scent', hot pepper 'Ancho Magnifico', and dichondra 'Emerald Falls'. Along the back of the box I also sowed Italian flat leaf parsley, all was planted up June 14th (the plants were started early indoors).
In this box is a sort of "mirror image" of the other one, something I obsessively do every year with my window boxes. From left to right: dichondra 'Emerald Falls', hot pepper 'Italico', sweet pea 'High Scent', hot pepper 'Hot Portugal', and dichondra 'Silver Falls'. Again the Italian parsley was sown along the back, both for the companion planting benefits and the fact that I feel that you just can't have too much Italian parsley :) 
As for soil, I don't replace it every year in any of my planters. Instead, I add some Soil Moist crystals to aid moisture retention and amend with horse manure (or compost, bat guano,  whatever's handy).

Wow! By July 15th the peppers have really taken off! I already had to stake the plants, guess they're happy to be displayed here like flowers.
By July 29th I had peppers large enough to harvest, the first to mature being the 'Serrano Del Sol'. At this point I'd already harvested some parsley as well, with no sign of any pests. Looks like companion planting is working!
This is a glimpse of one pepper harvest, though some are from other planters around the yard. Last season was a good one for me, pepper-wise.

As the season wore on, the peppers hooked me up with 6 seperate harvests and there were three good parsley gatherings. Insects seemed to enjoy the parsley in September, but they left the peppers alone (which was the point.) As you can see, the peppers got quite tall....
...and the dicentras cascaded down the sides (though not quite as lush as I'd hoped.)
But the sweet peas did nothing! Bupkiss!! No blooms whatsoever, despite lots of sun and vigorous growth. Anybody have any ideas as to why they didn't flower?


meemsnyc said...

Wow, that window box looks so amazing! I love that you are growing veggies in it.

lisa said...

Thank you! The veggies aren't quite as colorful as the annuals I've grown in the past, but they certainly earned their keep! :)

troutbirder said...

And here I thought sweet peas were infallible. Just goes to show. I like the practical idea of peppers in the window boxes. I'be been doing amarylis in there but it time for a change. :)

lisa said...

Peas have never given me so much trouble! As a matter of fact, there are perennial peas growing less than 2 feet from both windowboxes and they flowered like crazy! All I can think of is possibly soil temp-it's a lot warmer in the windowboxes than the ground for sure. Or perhaps they were too busy fixing nitrogen because the greedy peppers were taking it all...exhausting the peas so they couldn't bloom. But the peppers really enjoyed their location, so after skipping a year I'll grow them there again.

Anonymous said...

Peppers were a good choice for a hot dry location. They're one of only a few plants that I can grow in a container here (that doesn't have to be watered 3 times a day, even with the soil moist added), most plants just can't take the heat.

One year I grew peas and they vined like crazy but no blooms. My MIL told me the soil was too rich. The next year I didn't really do anything different, but we had tons of peas. It's a mystery. :)


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Love the peppers in the windowsill box! My first guess about the peas was maybe not enough soil for pea roots systems; second guess is, as you said, soil might get too warm in small, above ground space. I don't know from peas--the groundhog eat the foliage before it can ever grow.

lisa said...

V-I think I'll try the peas here again this year and see what happens. This time they'll be paired with something different...maybe some night-blooming annuals.

Monica-I agree, so I'll try them here one more time with other companions. That way I can tell which factor may be the culprit. I hope. :)