Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Meet my Garden!

For the past couple years we've only had a 4'x4' raised bed and some herbs on our deck. This year we expanded to include two more raised beds and more herb planters. My parents came over a few weeks ago and helped us build everything.

We had some goals in mind when planning out our garden. Steve mainly wanted pasta sauce. I mainly wanted pickles, butternut squash for winter, and lots of herbs. I plan on drying a lot of herbs to use throughout the year. I also love having fresh herbs in our meals!

I looked into companion planting to figure out the best way to grow everything. I found the information in some gardening books I have, but Wikipedia has some good information too.

The first year we had a garden I got overly excited and planted 16 vegetable plants in our 4'x4' raised bed. A couple months later my back went out and I couldn't walk for a week. The garden was unfortunately neglected during that time, and I felt really overwhelmed when I was finally able to get back into gardening. So that is a big reason why I decided to space out the vegetable plants and have and a lot of smaller herbs in between them in the raised beds this year. I feel like it's much easier to control that way.

This year all of our vegetable plants and most of our herb plants were bought from Lowe's or Home Depot. I did buy some seed packets for herbs and tried to grow them from seedlings. Only a few grew well, and still haven't gotten that big. This year I plan to save seeds from the plants we have and grow them from seedlings next year. I'm going to try a better setup for the seedlings too, maybe with a heat lamp.

The Pickle Garden

This is our original 4'x4' raised bed. It is the pickle garden. There are two cucumber plants in the back and two bell pepper (1 red and 1 orange) plants in the front. Probably in a few days the cucumber plants will be long enough to start tying them to the trellis. There are also some small dill plants growing in the corners. I planted 3 rows of green onion seeds in between the bell pepper plants, but they haven't sprouted yet. Once we're able to tie up the cucumber plants, I might try to plant another row of green onion seeds.

The Pasta Sauce Garden

This is the pasta sauce garden. It is 4'x8' and divided down the middle. There are four tomato plants in the back and four bell pepper (2 red, 1 orange, and 1 purple) plants in the front. In the middle of each half is an oregano plant. There is a row of chives in front of the bell peppers and a row of basil in back of the tomato plants. I also planted some calendula seeds in the ends of the beds. I'm going to use that for beauty products. I planted some parsley seeds near the tomato plants but they haven't sprouted yet. I wanted to wait for the tomato plants to get big so they can give some shade to the parsley.

I had never even heard of a purple bell pepper until the saw it at Home Depot. I had to get it! I'm so excited to try this!

The Squash Garden

And this is the squash garden. It is a 4'x6' and divided down the middle. There is a butternut squash plant on the left and a zucchini plant on the right. There is an orange mint in the front left and a chocolate mint in the back right. There are also some small dill plants in the other corners. These squash plants are getting very big and bushy. If they get out of control I'll have to set up a trellis or something.

We also have a composter. My parents gave it to us for Christmas last year, and we started using it right away. It doesn't seem to have turned to compost completely yet. Steve eats a lot of peanuts, and there are still some shells that haven't decomposed. So we've stopped adding peanuts shells to the composter. Now that it's getting hotter it should start to turn to compost pretty quickly.

The Herb Garden

On the deck railing is sage, chives, oregano, and 3 basil plants. We love fresh pesto! I really love these deck railing planters. I bought 2 of them at Lowe's last year, but couldn't find them there this year. I had to order another one off Amazon. I'll probably order a few more next year. I'd love to see the whole deck lined with herbs and flowers!


On our bench I have a pot of chives, 2 pots of stevia, 2 more chives, lemon balm, 3 parsley plants, sage, rosemary, and thyme.

I really want to grow cilantro. Really, really, really, really want to grow cilantro. I could eat it on just about anything. I tried last year on the deck, but it bolted too quickly. I think I'm going to try growing it indoors this year (at least during the hot summer) then move it outdoors for fall.