Sunday Morning Garden Chat: Container Planting

hillary r oystermushrooms2

Commentor Hillary Rettig, now in mid-Michigan:

My first garden ever — oyster mushies in a laundry basket!

Honestly couldn’t tell the difference in a stir fry, but they were AMAZING in a soup.

hillary r oystermushroomsinbowl

hillary r oystermushrooms1

Mmmm, mushrooms… Still have some (outdoor) containers of my own to finish planting with annuals, for this afternoon’s project.

What’s going on in your gardens this week?

55 replies
  1. 1
    satby says:

    Pouring rain here in SW MI this morning, with showers expected for the rest of the day. I’m basically done with all planting but the sweet potato slips that got delivered Thursday that I had ordered last February and forgotten about. Those are going into six grow bags, a couple of oversized pots, and the rest can just be accent vines in flower pots.

    I tried mushrooms multiple times, but never had luck with anything but the white button ones, and honestly the kits to grow them were way more expensive than just buying them at the grocery store. I love mushrooms, I wish they grew for me, don’t have a clue where I go wrong.

  2. 2
    A Humble Lurker says:

    Ever since Alice in Wonderland I always thought mushrooms were neat. Thank goodness I never tried to eat any of the ones that would (very) occasionally pop up out of the lawn.

  3. 3
    raven says:

    First our tiller wouldn’t start then, suddenly, the mower won’t either! I took the tiller in but spent a couple of hours taking the carb off the mover, changing the plug and fuel, still nothing! The roses are gone but the girl has all kinds of other colors going. Crape myrtles are starting to bloom too! The bids for the sewer work are due Friday. I’ve talked to several contractors and have no idea what is going to happen. The bid documents give a range from $175-225 k for the work. One guy told me if anyone did it for that they would lose their ass. Another guy I know said they always clean up on these kinds of jobs! One bummer is that they plan to take 6 big ass trees along the street. I guess the trenching will kill them anyway but originally they said they would just take two.

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    The internet is eating my comments again.

  5. 5
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    I live in SE MI and get morels in the yard in the spring. Not a big crop but enough for a couple of omelets.
    I just got back from Germany yesterday. It’s spargel (asparagus) season in the Schwarzwald and I pigged out on the biggest white asparagus I’ve ever seen.

  6. 6
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    I will do my 2nd planting of corn today (the 1st planting only 40% came up) and with it another batch of Painted Pony beans. Some weeding. Some fertilizing. Also need to finish wiring up the tomato trellis. I have a burning bush that needs to go somewhere. I will probably use it in the center of the peonies planting. Also have some daylilies that I was going to put out by the mail box. Not sure now. I need to make up my mind about that.

    After that, back to the projects. Made some progress on the countertops yesterday, but too much of the day got eaten up by running around. Not going anywhere today so hopefully I can make good progress on them, get that window trimmed out and…. I know there was something else.

  7. 7
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    I haven’t even been out in my yard in the daytime for 2.5 weeks. I see through the window that the Siberian iris are blooming. Last time I laid eyes on them they were sprouts. And the prickly pear cactus weathered our severe Michigan winter just fine. Now has about 200 buds on it. This will be a spectacle.

  8. 8
    satby says:

    @raven: If I lived nearby you could borrow my tiller, it’s taking a rest this year ;)
    As far as always my lawn mower problems a few weeks ago, I solved them by putting the mowers in front with “for sale” signs, and I’m paying the lawn guy from the proceeds. Making us both lots happier!

  9. 9
    satby says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: do you ever harvest the pears? Prickly pear margaritas are the bomb!

  10. 10
    Tommy says:

    Only been gardening a few years. I’ve tried container planting, or even using smaller pots on my back porch with almost no success. Went to raised beds and had a ton of success (no need to buy the book it is based on — a ton of free online resources). My garden this year will be more then half the size of last year, almost a punishment to myself.

    I got so many things I need to do around the house/yard, planting less to remind me to get that shit done. Need to work on getting shrubs planted in the front right half of my house and on one side. Cleaning the gutters really well and installing those “gutter guards” (I have a ton of trees). Trimming those trees back. Power washing and staining my deck (just completed). Cleaning the paneling on the house (half is brick, half is paneling). Cleaning all the windows outside and removing and cleaning the screens (not even sure how you do this BTW). Digging up a few “weeds” that have taken root and tend to grow like a foot a day (well not really, but seems like it) and have “stumps” like a tree that I just can’t kill. Many other smaller things.

    And the big project …..

    I live on the edge of town that wasn’t incorporated until a few years ago. We don’t have sidewalks or storm drains like the rest of town. Just a ditch that dips down a few feet then back up again to the street. Pipes running under each driveway connecting each yard. I want to put in piping and fill in the ditch to level it off. I know I could pay somebody, but seems more like just a lot of elbow grease then rocket science.

    So with all that said, happy Sunday morning gardening everybody!

  11. 11
    geg6 says:

    The vegetable garden is pretty much in and thriving. Weather has been perfect: temps in mid-70s to low 80s with days of sun and low humidity interspersed with days of light rain. Just fabulous weather for growing things. John got all my herbs potted, with the exception of thyme, which he forgot to get me for some reason.

    I’m off until Tuesday, so I’m going to be a little lazy today. Our friend Dawn, who does some cleaning for us, will be over this afternoon to do the floors and some other housework. I hope to finally finish the bonus room and be able to use it. A little laundry, too, but nothing too strenuous. Biggest chore today is figuring out what to have for dinner.

  12. 12

    @satby: there is a fantastic mushroom Meetup based in Grand Rapids; I took this workshop (and got the materials* cheap) as a member of that. they do great mushroom hunts, and the organizer, Glenn, really knows his stuff:

    this guy did the workshop (he left a programming job with Yahoo to do mushies!); he also has a CSA in Grand Rapids:

    *pasteurized hay (low nutrient, so minimizes contamination, and the pasteurization helps in this regard)
    *oyster mushroom spawn
    we provided the laundry basket

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    There are fifty bales of pine straw sitting in my driveway. I’ll move them to the back and spread them today or tomorrow. My overnight company is still sleeping. They are planning on going to the Renaissance festival today, while I stay home with the dogs.

  14. 14
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:


    do you ever harvest the pears? Prickly pear margaritas are the bomb!

    The growing season in Detroit is too short to get ripe fruit. They just wither in the fall and fall off. I think the squirrels eat some of them. Maybe once each. Prickly pear spines are really nasty.

  15. 15
    gelfling545 says:

    I finally finished planting my flower pots – then I bought more pots. Sigh. It’s a sickness.

    When the diseased old lilac had to be taken down a couple of weeks ago the climbing rose next to it also got chopped nearly to the ground. This rose is a very old (I believe) Dorothy Perkins was started with a bit from my childhood backyard. My sister started one for her yard from, as her then fiancé, now husband called it, a dead stick which is now scaling the side of their house. The hacked stump has now sprouted a nice bunch of leaves & both my daughters went home with little pieces (dead sticks) to root for their gardens. If the past is any predictor, I will see at least a few flowers on it before the end of June.

  16. 16
    OzarkHillbilly says:


    I want to put in piping and fill in the ditch to level it off.

    Be sure to check with city/county for applicable codes. That ditch is there for rainwater off the street and with out storm sewers they may not appreciate it.

  17. 17
    Raven says:

    @JPL: the orange twine on those things suck!

  18. 18
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I plan to. Plus my sump pump also runs into it. But folks have done what I planned and even more asphalt over it, and just put in their own drainage system so water from the street can get to the pipes.

  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tommy: OK, I really don’t know the applicable codes for streets and easements etc. not my line of work. Now if we were talking setbacks, or stairs, or drywall…

  20. 20
    Tommy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: No you gave good, very good advice. The person that paved over theirs I mentioned above lives directly to my left. Son owns a fair size construction company (building homes). So I know when I decide to do it I can offer to take her son out for a steak dinner and a few beers, and Matt can fell me in on the regulations, city codes, paperwork, you name it.

  21. 21
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    This just in: Denver crime falls over 10 percent in wake of pot legalization

    Who could’ve predicted that getting all the criminals stoned would reduce crime? On the other hand, the shoplifting of chips, dips, and ice cream has gone through the roof.

  22. 22
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: I was up and out early this morning, taking a friend to the 6am train.

    I fell in love with crepe myrtles on my first trip to north carolina. I so wish they were safe for my zone, which used to be 5 but is now more like 5.5. I thought maybe I could put one in at some point as the temperatures get warmer, but my master gardened friend said that temperatures will get more extreme in both directions, so even if they were warm enough in the summer the winter extremes would get them. Oh well.

    Edit: Glad things are finally moving forward on the project, very sad about the trees.

  23. 23
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:


    So 10% of the cops’ time was taken up with penny ante pot busts? All that manpower freed up should make a difference in pursuing actual crime.
    I’m not a fan of pot smoking generally*, but if it makes the streets safer it’s a net gain.

    *or other substances.

  24. 24
    Botsplainer says:

    Took the dog to get groomed at PetSmart at 8 am (he’s shedding like a hairmonster right now, and I can’t keep up or keep him still long enough to make a lot of headway). Wife was supposed to be flying a lesson today but the weather went to shit and will probably get a ground school session instead. Besides, the vacuum pump that runs gyros and compass died yesterday and they had to come about 80 miles by dead reckoning, views of the horizon for pitch and yaw, and the equivalent of a cars external dash bubble compass. Doubt they got it fixed yet today.

    Now to the gym.

  25. 25
    Scout211 says:

    We are looking at temps today and tomorrow of 106. I had to put up the shade cloth on my blueberries and give the vegetables extra water yesterday. I hope they all survive.

    Blueberry season is just about over. As is rhubarb. I was able to freeze quite a few quart bags of both.

    Beans, yellow crook and zukes are plentiful. And yummy. Tomatoes are still green, except for the one cherry tomato plant that has some ripe tomatoes ready to pick. We feed those to the chickens, who love them.

  26. 26
    scav says:

    it’s either me or the garlic mustard today. Can’t pretend I’ll be missed because it’s inevitable the GM will win.

  27. 27

    The weather wizards have been threatening South Florida with thunderstorms all weekend, but so far bupkus; there was a brief drizzle last night around dinnertime, but barely enough to wet the patio. Since I don’t have a sprinkler system other than what nature provides, the lawn is looking like granola.

    On the upside, the mangoes are getting close to ripe. Love them in a salad.

  28. 28
    HinTN says:

    Y’all make me envious. My gardening days ended two years ago when the deer became too numerous and rapacious to suffer. I refuse to put up a ten foot fence and so plant only zinnias and Mexican sunflowers, which to date they don’t seem to like. Have cages around all the young oaks and dogwoods. Vegetables come from our locally grown internet Margery market

  29. 29
    HinTN says:

    @HinTN FYWP, it’s not Margery’s market, it’s just a market. Phone, feh!

  30. 30
    satby says:

    @Hillary Rettig: Thanks! I may drive up that way!

  31. 31
    SectionH says:

    We spent some hours this past week repotting, based on getting the Stupice tomato into the largest container that’s practical, and causing almost all the herbs to end up on the balcony instead of by the west-facing windows. This meant bringing in the 2 large, extremely heavy pots of ivy geraniums. They look much nicer now in the master BR than the random collection of herbs did, and as the pots are glazed terra-cotta and weigh a ton even empty, I’m glad to get the extra weight off the balcony. The rest of our containers are plastic or fiberglass, and still weigh plenty when full of dirt.

    Result is the balcony’s much less willy-nilly, and it’s easier to reach everything for watering, feeding, trimming, etc. in spite of the additional plants out there. It’s basically a step along the way. Eventually we’ll figure out the sort of stands etc we want. We’ll undoubtedly have to get them custom built, but it will be worth it. Probably not going to tackle that until after the bathroom remodeling is finished, though. That started last Thursday, and I have no idea how many weeks it’s going to take.

  32. 32
    rikyrah says:

    I like looking at these weekly pictures. I don’t garden, but admire those that do.

  33. 33
    Josie says:

    I am growing Thai red peppers for the first time this year and suddenly I have quite a few. Does anyone have a good recipe for making a chili sauce or paste with them? I’m not sure of how many to use with other ingredients and whether to roast or cook on top of the stove, etc. TIA

  34. 34
    Elizabelle says:

    Good morning.

    DC area Balloon Juicers: Mark your calendar for a meetup this Wednesday night, June 11, in Alexandria, VA, probably near the King Street Metro station (or Old Town). Place TBC (or we could do a pub walk …)

    Dee Loralei and her son will be visiting for 2 days; she’d love your suggestions too on what attractions they (and her father) should catch.

    Anne Laurie will put up a meetup thread later.

  35. 35
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Nice looking mushrooms.

    Philly is the Land of Cheap Mushrooms [a local crop] so we get the goodies without doing the work.

    I guess summer is here now. Getting warm every day. The rest of the family is young and hot blooded and so they turn the air conditioning DOWN TO HERE and I pad through the house with layers on. you can’t please everyone.

  36. 36
    rikyrah says:

    What Happened After Fla. Teen Was Charged With 2 Felonies for a Science Experiment

    Kiera Wilmot, now 17, is trying to move on as she preps for college after graduating from high school, but one thing still hangs over her: an arrest record

    With tensions still high on her return to Bartow High after a 10-day suspension, it was recommended at that point that she not finish the remainder of her junior year, even though there were only five weeks left. To be sure that she could keep up academically, she was sent to an alternative school with children who had discipline problems for the remainder of the school year. She would be allowed to return to Bartow High, and attend classes with her sister again, for her senior year.

    Her sister, Kayla, told The Root how lonely it was at Bartow High without Kiera and how harsh people were after the incident. The girls were often mistaken for each other, so Kayla was called a terrorist (something Kiera also had to deal with). Sometimes, even knowing that Kayla was not Kiera, peers would still taunt the older twin, saying that they “deserved what they got” and “should be in jail.”

    “They made me not want to go to school at that time. Everything was going on; it was just way too much stress,” Kiera said about her eventual return to Bartow High. “Some people are still a little mean about it. Some have forgotten about it. I’m hoping everybody forgets about it.”

    That’s not the only impact the incident has had on her. During her suspension, the A and B student saw her grades drop to D’s and F’s. Although she managed to bring them back up to par at the alternative school, she was still denied the right to graduate with honors like her sister because of the circumstances: her troubles at the school, the drop in her grades one semester, and the fact that she broke her attendance at the school to attend the alternative school.

  37. 37
    tybee says:


    plenty of recipes on the tubes for pastes and such but i like to take my excess hot peppers, smoke them on the grill/smoker for an hour or so under low heat, dry them the rest of the way in the oven on low or in a cheap dehydrator i have and then grind them into a coarse product with a coffee bean grinder that is used only for peppers. (the neighbor used his for peppers and then ran some coffee beans through it. he had a second coffee grinder within hours. said the pepper/bean coffee would certainly wake you up.)
    do NOT open the grinder for a minute or so after a grind or you’ll inhale some stuff that makes tear gas seem quite benign.
    keep them in an air tight jar and they’ll keep all year long.
    good stuff.
    due to the variety of peppers that go into the mix, each batch is different.

  38. 38
    J R in WV says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    You can use a propane torch to burn off the spines. Out west most businesses that have big cactus plantings (almost all of ’em) make them wound proof to avoid problems with clumsy customers.

    Just a hand held torch will to it, you just point it parallel to the skin, which contains lots of water anyway. The spines are dry and burn off in a flash.

    I like the oyster shroom idea, we have oak logs plugged with shitake spawn but this crop isn’t doing that well so far. But having them coming on in the woods is very sweet, when it works. You have to cut a tree, drill holes, plug in the dowels containing the spawn, and paint the plugs with paraffin. So It is some work. But they will bear fruit until the logs fall apart, usually at least 2 or 3 years.

    You can buy morel spawn kits, I think you have to bury supplied wood, maybe apple. That sounds interesting, they grow wild around here but are not thick on the ground, so you do a lot of walking after a rain.

  39. 39
    SectionH says:

    @Hillary Rettig: Growing mushrooms is an intriguing idea. Since we can only container garden now anyway, it would be Something Different. Right now, we are still getting settled.

    Meanwhile, we’re spoiled for choice at various Farmers’ Markets and local-sourcing grocery stores. Mr S bought some Creminis at the Thursday FM which were picked that morning up in the North County. We had the last of them just now at breakfast. Not quite as fresh as homegrown, but they were still very good.

    @A Humble Lurker: If you don’t know what kind of mushroom you’re looking at, obviously you shouldn’t eat it. But some lawn mushrooms (i.e. puffballs) are edible and quite tasty. Mr S is knowledgable on the subject but still very careful.

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: When we still lived back east, Mr S and I would go back to his hometown and go morel hunting every spring. They were harder to find than when he’d lived there, but it was a pleasant outing, and we never left without at least some. Oh my were they tasty.

  40. 40
    Josie says:

    @tybee: Thanks. This is an excellent idea for preserving them for longer than you can with a sauce or paste. I am realizing now that I overplanted the peppers. They are producing like crazy in our hot weather and I do not want to waste them. I have an extra little grinder that will work perfectly for this.

  41. 41
    opiejeanne says:

    Wow! Mushrooms in a laundry basket. I’ve never thought of that.

    Finally got the weeds out of three large flower beds, salvaged about 40 purple coneflowers ( from one original plant 4 years ago) and replanted them in the beds along the front of our house. Spring has been lovely in Seattle this year, uncharacteristically dry and sunny but not miserably hot.

    Worked in the greenhouse on seedlings, new plantings and repotting seedlings that had outgrown the tiny 1″ X 1″ seed trays. Rabbits have eaten most of our peas before the plants were six inches tall, and we think crows have been digging up most of the peas after we plant them, but I have no proof.

  42. 42
    J R in WV says:


    The scroungy deer won’t eat helleboros if you want a low ground cover plant that blooms very early but hold the blooms for weeks.

    They get about a foot tall and stay green all year. You can cut back the old growth come spring, but we never bother. They look ratty for a week or two, then the new growth covers the old growth and blooms. Deer won’t touch them. No matter how hungry they get.

  43. 43
    tybee says:


    I am realizing now that I overplanted the peppers.

    no such thing as too many peppers. :)

  44. 44
    jeffreyw says:

    Nervous as hell. Trying to teach the housekeeper’s son how to mow with my big machine, the ground is just a tad too wet but the forecast is rain so we have to go today. There is a fair amount of skill required to do the mowing efficiently and without damaging the turf and you just have to learn by doing. I try to point out errors in his technique and am doing some show and tell. I’d be better off not watching, I think.

  45. 45
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    Trolling for fun. A co-worker is quitting to go back to school for a Doctorate. He’s picked a school in Florida. This guy is a straight arrow non-partier and generally a stand up guy. So every time something like this shows up I post it on his Facebook page.
    Enjoy Florida, Pat.

    Florida man calls 911 over missing beer so many times he gets arrested

    With very little effort I could fill his FB account with Florida shenanigans but I hold out for something really stupid. “Pantsless Man Stops Miami Traffic With Rubber Snake” or suchlike. The opportunities are numerous.

  46. 46
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:
    “It’s as if the East Coast was tilted up and all of the loose nuts rolled down to Florida.”

    I don’t know whose quote that it is, but it sure seems apropos.

  47. 47
    raven says:

    @jeffreyw: Bushog ain’t it?

  48. 48
    jeffreyw says:

    @raven: 30 horse Grasshopper with the 6 foot deck

  49. 49
    Ferdzy says:


    Josie, here’s my recipe for chile-garlic sauce. It keeps for a year, but you do have to can it. Oddly, sometimes it comes out really hot and other times it’s just hot, even though I use the same peppers each year. It can even vary from jar to jar in the same batch.


  50. 50
    worriedman says:

    @WaterGirl: Look for anything
    with a scientific name Lagerstroemia ‘Gamad ‘ This is a low growing,
    disease resistant cultivar developed by Micheal Dirr (hollowed be thy name) Common names include Cherry, Ruby or Rasberry Dazzzle.
    These will always be a shrub, not a tree and out of zone they will act like a perennial and die back to the ground each year. That’s pretty common growing CP’s out of zone and with most it is a crap shoot whether they will bloom in any given year. The “Dazzle” series seems to be a more dependable bloomer.You lose that amazing exfoliating bark, but the blooms are so awesome it’s worth a try for that alone. If you have a well protected south facing location, you could probably give just about any of the zone 6 varieties a try, especially if you are willing to get obsessive about it (i.e wrap them with Christmas lights during a hard freeze kind of obsessive) They also make excellent container plants especially if you have a dark garage or basement you can drag them into to overwinter.

  51. 51
    WaterGirl says:

    @SectionH: Prediction: bathroom will take 3 times as long as you think it possibly could.

    Just keep your eye on the prize, it will be beautiful when you are done!

  52. 52
    Yutsano says:

    @Ferdzy: Peppers have a natural variation in capsaicin levels, even within subtypes. So there will always be some variation depending on the pepper and amount of seeds and ribs used.

  53. 53
    WaterGirl says:

    @worriedman: Thanks! I will check out the dazzles.

  54. 54
    Josie says:

    @Ferdzy: Thanks for the recipe. It looks good. I have been wanting to try canning. This would be a good way to dip my toes in the water.

  55. 55
    Talentless Hack says:

    I’ll find out tomorrow about the garden. Today was spent finishing up the kitchen cabinet install, which included leveling the floor cabinets (loads of fun). Found out that particular chore was a lot easier if you join the cabinets together with screws first. Let them perform as a team instead of fail as individuals. Now it’s 1/4 inch plywood standing in for countertops until the people with my new composite countertop arrive.

    We are getting a few dozen plums on one of our plum trees this year. Really looking forward to that.

Comments are closed.