Patio Gardening 2010: Week 1 – The Seedlings


Spring is officially here! I love looking out the window and seeing buds on the trees and flowers popping up. They’re all signs that the weather is warmer and gardening season is here.

When I lived at home, my parents had a garden every year, growing all kinds of vegetables and fruits. I always enjoyed going outside and picking fresh tomatoes or blackberries, and eating them right away. My parents always saved money on produce too.

They continue to garden, but now that I’m on my own I don’t reap the benefits of their hard work. Plus, living in the city of Chicago makes gardening a challenge.

Since I moved here for college six years ago, there have been various experiments and successes with house plants and kitchen windowsill herb pots, but we’ve never really much made an effort to grow vegetables. I think I just always thought it was impossible to have a garden without a yard.

Last summer, when we moved into our new building, I saw one of our neighbors had several large and healthy tomato and basil plants growing on their balcony. I was very envious of their patio gardening success, and knew that come next spring, I wanted the same.

This year, the boyfriend and I will make our first serious attempt at patio gardening, and we honestly have absolutely no clue what we’re doing. It’s actually pretty fun and exciting and we just plan to jump in feet first and learn a lot.

We’re one week into our gardening adventure, so let me quickly bring you up to speed.

Basically, we’re starting out with seeds we have left over from previous planting attempts (they’ve been stored in the refrigerator) combined with seeds recently purchased from Family Dollar, some local Asian grocery stores, and Jewel.

We bought a bag of potting soil and are using small pots we already have and and some seed trays from the dollar store.

The veggies and herbs we’re attempting to grow this year are:

  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Green Onions
  • Zuchinni Squash
  • Yellow Squash
  • Peppers
  • Pumpkin (this is a long shot, I know)
  • Green Beans
  • Cucumber (spacemaster)
  • Cucumber (pickler)
  • String Beans
  • Lettuce

Our total expenses so far are $3 for potting soil, $1 for seed trays, and $6 for seeds. That’s a $10 investment. We’ll still need to buy more soil and pots for when we transfer the seedlings.

We planted the seeds on April 11th, and currently we’re keeping them indoors on our windowsill until the weather warms up a little more.

There are little seedlings for everything (including the pumpkin!) except for the peppers. No sign of life from them, but we’re not giving up yet. The zucchinis were the most enthusiastic and started to sprout after just a few days. The picture of the seedlings is from Sunday (the 18th).

So far, so good. We’re reading and researching and looking into what size pots we should get for our plants and shopping around for good prices (I was eying some pots at the thrift store yesterday. I probably should have grabbed them and expect they’re all gone now). I’m going to try to update each week on how our plants are doing and what we’re learning while we grow our first patio garden.

Update: Here are the subsequent posts:


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