Plant Collection & Earth Day Plant Haul

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The best way to spend a morning is on the patio drinking coffee, basking in the sunshine and enjoying the company of my plant babies.

I recently got ahead of myself and started planting my little patio garden. It was the first nice day in Chicago so you could probably understand my excitement. I just couldn’t wait anymore!

We have two patios at our apartment. In the front (facing the building’s garden), we plant the flowers and other plants, and we grow our veggies on the back patio. (Sometimes if we have a plant that requires more sun I will move it from patio to patio, though.) I’ve read that it’s smart to have flowers in your vegetable garden to attract bees, so I plan to move at least some flowers to the back.

We kept most of our plants alive over the winter with the help of a grow light. We moved all the non-veggie plants inside into a corner of our living room. The only plants we lost: an avocado plant, a succulent that was accidentally ripped out, and morning glories.

These were most of the plants we started with, including a bonsai tree, bamboo and succulents.

Lowe’s Plant Haul

Our first additions this year were Dianthus plants, tulips and pansies.

Our veggie seedling choices were red, yellow and green peppers; jalapenos; lettuce; spinach; strawberries; and tomatoes.We grow these, with the exception of the tomatoes and strawberries, in the Patio Pickers garden bed** (ours doesn’t have the wheels). I decided not to grow basil and oregano this year because last year I ended up with excess amounts of them and I don’t really need that much of either.

The strawberries are in the container they came in for now.
We use two of the Patio Pickers containers.

Edible Plant Sale Haul

After my initial veggie seedling shopping trip in early April, I wanted to add more. The first weekend of the Peterson Garden Project’s Edible Plant Sale took place on Earth Day weekend, so we paid it a visit to see what we could find. The line was already snaked around the one-room sale when we arrived just after opening time, so we quickly grabbed a few plants: chives, garlic chives, red onion and cilantro. I would have grabbed more, but we are limited on space. What was important to us was supporting a local organization that gives back to the community.

We reused small pots we already had to plant them.

Gethsemane Garden Center, Chicago

We next headed to our favorite garden shop in Chicago to find more flowers and other plants. Gethsemane Garden Center is a magical place.

Their greenhouse has an amazing selection of succulents and bonsai trees, two of our favorites. When we walked into the greenhouse, Graham said, “I could spend all my money here.” He was in heaven. After much deliberation, Graham decided on a water jasmine pre-bonsai tree and a bamboo palm.

I decided to put together more potted succulents like I did last summer. I grabbed four of the bigger succulents and a pretty blue/green pot to be their new home. Victoria picked out yellow snapdragons and I loved some red Ranunculus. I also picked up more mini potted plants to replace what was killed over the winter.

I still need to find cute pots for these.

Victoria loved shopping for plants. She gravitated toward yellow flowers.

These orchids were beautiful, but Graham recently bought me some.

Potting your own succulents

Instead of paying a ton of money for potted succulents or terrariums at farmers market, I use what I see an inspiration to make my own. You can find succulents at any garden shop for about $3-8 each depending on the size. Then find a nice pot you love and plant them yourself. Planting advice is plentiful on Pinterest, though I question some ideas I saw recently, like placing them on a shelf where it looked like they didn’t get much light. I love most of the ideas as long as the babies are getting the sun they need.

My humble advice on transferring succulents to a new pot:

  • Wear gloves, duh!
  • Plant the largest succulent first.
  • Place your largest succulent first and work around it.
  • If it helps, draw out where you want them to go.
  • Spray the soil with water first. Then place, add more soil and spray with water again.
  • It may also be a good idea to keep the succulent in the pot it came in and place that in a larger pot. You can then top with soil or pebbles.

What are you growing this year? 

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