Thursday, May 3, 2012

Garden Notes (including herbs) Part 1

I spent a nice part of the morning out in the garden. The temperatures have been perfect lately. I love this time of year.

My focus today was getting a few herbs in. Others, the warmer weather ones like the basil starts, will go in later when I plant the "out of frost danger" things like tomatoes, the peppers, squashes, etc. That should be after Mother's Day here.

It's been almost a month since I did a major weeding and tidying of the garden boxes. I did a little bit more of that today. It's amazing how fast the weeds take over.

We are blessed to have a lot of space in our yard for gardening. The previous owners were gardeners and constructed 5 garden boxes measuring 16 feet long x 3 feet wide, with brick pavers between the beds. It's amazing how much this amount of space can produce. It was a big selling point in buying this house, after having to leave a huge picket fenced area we had just barely put in in our previous house with lots of customized square foot garden beds.

 Over the years, I've amended this soil with composted chicken manure (NutriMulch- this stuff is marvelous and I think it might just be available locally), vermiculite, sand, and peat moss. This year, as I'm getting a late start (with everything that's been taking my attentions away from gardening), I regret that I didn't do anything as far as soil preparation goes. It really does seem to make all the difference with the size, quality, and quantity of vegetables we've been able to produce.

I would say that I've become a pretty experienced gardener- trial and error, success and not so successful some years- over these last twenty years. We've always had a garden, whether it was planting a few pots of tomatoes, planting a long 2 foot wide strip  along a chain link fence (when we were apartment dwellers) and the now ever increasing the scope and magnitude of our garden as far as size goes.

But in a way, as I see my children leaving home and our family size decreasing, I'm questioning why I plant so much. I guess I do it out of love. I get so excited and cram way too much in the space that I have. We definitely use up the produce, in addition to giving away a lot (begging, sending people home with bags and arms laden) to eager family, friends, and neighbors. It's been a joy to not only our family, but so many others. Gardening is a blessing in other ways besides the food production aspect. 

One thing I haven't been good at is saving my scribbled plans to look back on year to year. It's a good idea to keep a written record; needing to rotate and remember where things were planted, how much, and evaluating things throughout the growing season and harvest. I decided this year to make some permanent notes in my new journal/notebook I organized last week (I'll be showing you more of this tomorrow.)

Above (garden box # 1- farthest west against the fence) is my beloved herb garden. No rhyme or reason here. Just a lot of "friends" planted where the urge strikes. Oh, how I love to be near this part of the garden. My favorite. Go here to see what I did with the herb harvest last September.

Box # 2- an extension of the herbs, plus the developing rhubarb plants (planted in the last couple of years) as well as some of the greens.

Box # 3 (why can't I ever remember how to spell broccoli correctly?) Yes, I can't get enough basil.

Box # 4- the onions planted from little bulbs in rows. I'll pick these throughout the season to thin, as well as use as green onions.

We grow a lot of different varieties of peppers because we love salsa at our house. Fresh when the tomatoes come on and also bottled in the fall.

That's it as far as the boxes go. When it's safe to plant the other goodies in the "big" garden, I'll give you Part 2 of my garden notes.

Until then, Happy Gardening, friends!


  1. Great garden notes! It better no to frost! I planted my tomatoes, peppers, basil and cilantro already - dare I say I planted my cucumbers and squash - I am bound to replant some of these, I am sure. I forgot the note to self not to plant more than a couple of tomato plants and some herbs. Gardening is such lure for me! I love your notes - that's teaching material for generations to come! Great work!

  2. awesome! I may steal some ideas :) I like your journal - I was out in the garden most of the weekend. Have a wonderful week.