Sunday, April 19, 2009

Garden Party?

Mr. Sister and I decided we want a garden this year.

Last year I had experimented with an herbal container garden that was a resounding success! I loved my summer herbs and had enough to dry and store to last us through the winter months. My only failure was cilantro. It just wouldn't grow. I tried to grow them from seed. They would get about 3-4 inches high then die. This year I am planting actual cilantro plants. Hopefully they will fare much better. I did learn that they don't like "hot" roots so I will put them in partial shade. Another sort of failure was my did very well at first but went to seed awfully fast. I haven't figured out what I did wrong but will try again this year.

While at the nursery, Mr. Sister and I picked up 6 tomato plants, 6 cucumber plants, 5 slats of peppers...3 plants each of green bell, red bell, yellow bell, jalapeno and banana - probably overkill. We also picked up 3 cantaloupe and 3 watermelon plants. My son was quite upset that we chose his most despised veggies. He decided to pick up his own packets of seeds: giant pumpkin, corn and carrot. I don't mind as I will use this as the final/hands on phase of his botany class for the year. I'm also considering planting onion and garlic but will have to wait and see if we have enough space.

In addition to the fruits and veggies we also picked up our favorite herbs. My rosemary didn't make it through the winter so this year I purchased a big bushel of a plant. My sage and my oregano are having a hard time coming back so I purchased a couple of small plants of each. And, of course, I will be planting lots of basil as this is the herb we use most often. I picked up 3 healthy basil plants and will also be sowing some basil seeds, too. Fortunately my thyme is growing like gangbusters. Last year, I was talked into planting lavender. It never flowered and I had no idea how to use the leaves so out it went...I need the container and the space for the herbs we do use!

Upon our arrival home we took some leftover lumber and built a 12ft x 8ft raised bed (8 inches high). Shopping and building took up the bulk of the day. Our plans today include digging up the grass, roto-tilling the bed and, hopefully, getting the plants into the ground.

Anyway, here is where we have so far in our collection (the marigolds will be planted with the tomatoes to try and keep the critters at bay):

And this is our raised bed...It may not be pretty but here's hoping it will do the trick.

I am sure the rabbits, and other suburban wildlife, are really excited for us to move forward on this project. Any tips and helpful hints are always welcome by this novice gardener!


thamesarino said...

oh how exciting!!
I LOVE to garden!
You already have my first tip... plant marigolds to help with the bugs... also basil, tomatoes, and peppers are companion plants so if you plant the basil near the others everything grows very well..... I'm not sure why that is.. but it is something my grandma taught me and seems to make a big difference. When I garden I plant a basil in between a group of tomatoes and pepers, and they all seem to thrive. Also your hot and sweet peppers will cross pollinate so try and seperate them. I always put the hot ones on one and and the sweet on the other. I learned this the hard one when I was just starting out... I ended up with mildly spicy sweets and way to mellow jalapenos that year! : )
good luck and enjoy... there is almost nothing as satisfying to me as eating the fruits of my labor! fresh herbs are so good and the tomatoes actually taste like tomatoes instead of the ones you buy from the store!! : )

Willoughby said...

Your plants look beautiful! Don't you love going to the nursery? I always want everything I see! I had problems last year with some of my herbs going to seed, too. I think that means you're not pruning them enough (or snipping pieces to use in cooking). As well as in the garden, I also like mix herbs in with my potted flowers and hanging baskets. They look pretty and smell nice.

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

I'm so jealous of gardeners! I have zero tips, just adoration :) I can't keep a potted plant alive. Fortunately I live in a farming area where lots of fresh, organic fruits and veggies are inexepensively available year-round.

Lissaloo said...

Its to hard to only pick out a couple plants, I always end up with extras! The boxes look so nice :)


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