It has been while since my last garden recap...2 years ago to be exact. In addition to baking, cooking and photographing the food you see here on this blog, I have another passion; gardening. From growing the vegetables and flowers from seed in early spring while there is still snow on the ground, to carefully introducing the seedlings from indoors to out, planting, watering & weeding.- I love it all. Anything that involves, dirt, worms, flower and plants- you can count me in.
Gardening is a release, it has always been very therapeutic if not meditative for me.There is something about getting down on your hands and knees in the dirt that is so soothing. Maybe it is the repetition of pulling weeds, dead heading flowers or staking up tomato plants, peas and cucumbers. Whatever it may be I can find myself lost in the garden for hours at a time.
What would a garden be without a garden dog? My first pup Levi, absolutely loved being in the garden- she would pick cherry tomatoes and green beans right off the vine. Anna, adores being in the garden as well- her favorite, green peppers, I still can't figure how she gets the peppers off the pant without damaging the plant.
Growing up we always had a garden- I would consider my Dad a master gardener, he has the most beautiful gardens both vegetable and flower that I have ever seen. I only aspire to have a garden as beautiful as his, granted his garden has been a work in progress for 31 years. Being in my own garden or my Dads brings out a sense of inner peace - I simply breath easier when I am there. The sweet smell of garden air after a rainfall, to me, is one of the greatest smells in the world.
This year mother nature has blessed us with an amazing growing season so far, it was a bit cooler at the start of June, however the cold loving crops were mighty happy. For the past three weeks we have enjoyed hot & humid weather with a very predictable afternoon thunder shower each day - the perfect garden weather.
If your curious, this is what you will find growing in my veggie garden. I practice companion planting, raised bed gardening, crop rotation and a loose square foot gardening plan:
Bed #1: Tomatoes, Basil, Borage, Sunflowers
Bed # 2: Jack Kale, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Nasturtium, Beets, Radish, Leeks, Zinnia, Borage, Parsley & Sunflowers
Bed # 3: Hot Peppers, Green Peppers, Oregano, Eggplant, Basil, Marigolds, Carrots & Onions
Bed #4: Yellow Summer Squash, Royal Purple Beans, Green Beans, Gold Rush Beans, Sunflowers, Marigolds, Zinnia, Romanesco Zucchini & Nasturtium
Bed #5: Cucumbers, Zinnia, Marigolds, Peas, Chives, Spinach (fail), Winter Savory, Tarragon, Parsley, Basil, Rosemary, Thyme
Bed # 6: Lettuce- Butter head, Spotted Trout, Arugula
The garden has yet to be mulched this year, this project takes up an entire weekend and we have yet to find ourselves with a weekend free. In addition to my vegetable garden, I also adore my perennial flower gardens - they have yet to disappoint and I have not experienced any major losses. Some gardening sites tell you to pass up on the clearance plants at garden centers, I am going to tell you different- don't. Give those plants a chance, sometimes they are simply past their flowering season or have been neglected. You will be surprised how forgiving most plants are- most often than not all they need is a little love, good soil and consistent water. See that pink rose bush in the back- it is a powerhouse in the garden and I bought it 4 years ago for $5, marked down from $30 and it has done absolutely amazing each year.
Another thing to keep in mind, be patient. Sometimes, for reasons unknown to me certain flowers will take a couple of years to flower or really commit to making their permanent home your garden. The False indigo above was planted 2 years ago, this is the first year it has showed its beautiful flowers, I also have a hibiscus tree that was planted 2 years ago as well, this is the first year it has grown leaves. My point is, don't give up too easily and yank a plant out of its home if it doesn't flower the first year- it just may need time. If a plant looks really unhappy, you may need to relocate it to a different section of the garden. Soil testing is also another good idea; some plants and veggies do better at certain PH levels than others- so do a little research.
Be happy and garden, it is cheaper than therapy!
Do you have a garden or consider yourself to have a green thumb?