Saturday, June 5, 2010

How my garden grows

In the past, I've halfheartedly thrown a few vegetable seedlings in our gardens, hoping for the best. Unsurprisingly, my "survival of the fittest" theory of gardening usually resulted in weeds, bugs, and animals proving they were the fittest. So I've never actually had any vegetables to harvest.

This year, I decided to make more of a concerted effort. I read a few basic gardening books. We decided to try out a square foot garden. While our new house has a beautiful yard, it's very wooded and our best sun comes in the front yard. Rather than digging out the yard to plant a traditional garden, we just added a 4' x 4' box. It was a fun project. The kids had a lot of fun with it. For the dividers, we bought a bunch of wood paints at the craft store and let them go wild.

Cute, huh?

So what have we got going here? Onions, lettuce, rainbow chard, fairy tale eggplant, grape tomatoes, sungold tomatoes, a carrot mix (yellow, purple, and orange--N-man's pick), lima beans (B-man's pick). I had transplanted some arugula as well that I'd started indoor from seeds, but it didn't make it. The transplanted lettuce didn't work out, either, so I bought some at the nursery that's growing much better.

I also wanted an herb garden. I had a small herb garden at my last house that I loved, though it was fairly inconveniently located from the kitchen. We decided this year to put the herbs in planters on the back porch. Some of the smaller planters I'm planning to bring inside in the winter--fresh herbs all year, if it works out! Our porch is very near the kitchen, and already I find myself just popping out with a pair of scissors to harvest a few sprigs while I'm cooking. Wonderfully convenient!

This one is parsley, garlic chives, and amethyst basil (a favorite with N-man and B-man, not to mention TK and me!).

Next, we've got rosemary, chocolate mint, and chives. These are the planters I'm sure to bring in this winter.

In a big planter, I have sage, cilantro, basil, and lemon thyme. I'm worried this might be over-full, but if so, I'm sure I can use vast quantities of cilantro and basil if I need to thin this fast.

I had another planter so I threw in an extra fairy-tale eggplant and two lettuce plants. I'm going to harvest the lettuce very soon, before they grow much larger and start to crowd the eggplant. Yum, fresh baby lettuce, maybe this weekend!

My inlaws gave us a strawberry pot, so using my vast imagination, I planted it with...strawberries. We've gotten 5 yummy strawberries from it already, but mostly the strawberries are getting eaten by animals (chipmunks, I think. Do they eat strawberries?) I don't have much hope for this. I think we'll do flowers instead of strawberries next time.

Then in the last planter, I'm trying to start some herbs from seeds. There are lots of little sprouts, but I planted over a month ago and it's growing very slowly. It's a fun experiment, but I don't have hugely high hopes for this. It'll be neat to see what, if anything really comes up here.

So that's it. I tried not to go overboard since 1) we have a CSA subscription, and there are only so many vegetables even I can eat, and 2) I've never had much luck in the past with gardens, and there are ZILLIONS of wild animals around our house so I fear I'm just gardening for them :)

Do you have a garden? What are you growing this year?


  1. You are amazing! Love that "box garden" in the front yard, especially with the decorations the boys painted on the gridwork! Makes it so festive and unique. Enjoy your yield and don't be so hard on yourself ... looks to me like you have a green thumb for sure.

  2. I love the box garden! I'm totally stealing that idea for our parking pad (same issue - only place with sun!). Super rad!

  3. You almost--ALMOST--inspire me to garden myself this year. Maybe I could handle a box? I certainly can't handle a bed! Anyway, good luck, and keep us posted.......

  4. Love the blow by blow!
    I need to write a garden post. My herb garden is out of control already, 6 oregano plants made it through winter and so I have a serious oregano problem. I have to dry multiple batches every week!

  5. Adorable garden! I love the variety and is it hard to grow eggplant because i desperately want to, though might have to wait until next year.

    this year I am embarking on a balcony garden of tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, zucchini, and pole beans!

  6. I LOVE the fact that the B-man wanted to plant lima beans :). We planted a couple of varieties of heirlook tomatoes, both pickling and slicing cukees, green peppers, red onions and broccoli amidst the herbs in our garden. We also had green beans for a short while until the dog pulled them up and ate them (yes, the dog). I will have to post a photo (even though everything is looking a wee bit yellow right now due to all the rain).

    One suggestion re: your mint. I'd recommend planting that in its own pot - it's really agressive and will take over the entire pot (probably choking everything else out). Oh and chipmunks will eat strawberries.

  7. Jules, you can't tell, but the rosemary, mint, and chives are in their own pots. The mint is growing like mad...I'm going to cut it way back this week to make mint chocolate chip ice cream :)