Gardening: Year 1


After 13 years of living together, Tiner and I have never had our own outdoor space, so we’ve never planted anything. This year, we had the opportunity to experiment with the planters in the front, as well as build our own mini garden on the back deck with various herbs, flowers, and veggies.

Two planters in the front

I’ll start with the front, we have two of these 15 inch planters on the steps entering our front door:

We headed to the local flower shop Gethsemane in Andersonville, not really knowing what to purchase. Luckily, a worker there guided us in the right direction.

A few weeks later, you can see more colors and blooming:

By the end of June, it’s really looking good:

I don’t seem to have any more photos of the front from this year, but those long skinny green vines kept getting longer and longer. We did water these plants at least once a day after walking the dog.

Next year, I think we’ll probably keep the front simple with some long grasses, and a few colorful flowers.

Let’s head to the back deck now.

The back deck

The previous owners of our condo were kind enough to leave us three row planters in the back, and we definitely took advantage.

On May 22nd, we headed to Urhausen Greenhouse in Lincolnwood and picked out the following:

We have two planters facing the east and we put flowers in those.

And then we used the south-facing planter for herbs.

A few weeks later and the kale is really growing fast. I ended up pulling a few leaves each week for salads.

One mistake we made right away was putting the patio tomatoes in the planter with the other herbs. They need a lot more room.

So we decided to get some new pots to be placed on the ground (Sam approves).

From left: relocated tomatoes, new flowers in a slightly larger pot, and peppers (we relocated a sport pepper from the row planter, and bought a new red pepper).

On most days when we were hanging out on the deck, Sam enjoyed sitting near these.

Bonus: we found this indoor plant at Whole Foods for our living room:

Okay, back outside now, and on June 28th, we were amazed to see a baby green pepper sprouting!

Literally two days later, it’s bigger:

July 4th comes and goes and a few days later we have a green tomato.

Let’s check in on the basil too:

It was time to make pesto with 3 types of basil, mint, and kale.

It’s been a while since we checked in on the flowers. July 20th and we’re seeing yellow flowers blooming from the silver strands. In July & August, we were watering these twice a day.

What about those sport peppers? On July 22, it was time for a harvest.

Another peek at the progress from the patio tomatoes:

Some time goes by and it’s already September, where did the summer go?

Let’s check in on those “red” peppers… wow!

I felt the need to take a selfie.


After the first year, we learned a lot. We’ll probably only have one floor planter in the back next summer so that we can have room for our patio furniture. We’ll definitely do kale and basil again, and maybe one more herb.

I’ll leave you with a final photo of a salad that I made with kale and tomatoes are from the garden.

Stay tuned for next year’s update!