The early spring and subsequent great weather has made this year a gardener's dream. My plants got in early (although still later than my more industrious neighbors) and many things are already starting to flower or fruit.
|Happy Buddha = Happy Garden|
When one lives in a relatively urban setting, one looks for any nook or cranny to plant in. I'm forever impressed by people who live in real cities, like NY or Chicago, and find empty lots or rooftops to cultivate. I'm lucky in that I have a pretty decent sized lot which allows me a yard for my dogs and spots to plant fruit, veg, and flowers.
My standard plantings include tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, basil (which gets its own plot), and arugula. One corner of my little plot only gets afternoon sun and I've tried for years to find the right plants to grow there. A few years ago I stumbled on the cucumber/arugula combo which seems to work fairly well. Once the cukes get high enough on the fence, they get more sun and they thrive very well. The arugula is always a bit puny but there's enough for a few meals anyway.
|Any strip of ground is fair game|
|This basil will end up 2.5 feet tall and overflow this space|
|This "weed" along the edge of the basil is edible purslane|
|It looks a mess but this is my herb garden.|
I was lucky enough to inherit two gorgeous plants when I bought the house - a prehistoric rhubarb and a likewise blackberry. Both of these plants are HUGE and prolific, keeping me in fruit for months.
I'm also lucky in that my thyme, oregano, and chives (of course) keep coming back each year so I haven't had to replant them in a while. My parsley was also perennial until this year when it inexplicably died. So, a new flat-leaf parsley went in this spring. I also decided to plant a raspberry to go along with the blackberries.
Then, for some reason, I went a little nutty. Maybe it's because, for the first time, I cultivated some items from seed. I grew things I'd never grown before - without thinking about where they might actually get planted. These actions led to this:
|Greens, greens, and more greens|
|Eggplant, chard, & zucchini|
|Beans and peas|
So, now I've got eggplant, zucchini, swiss chard, rainbow chard, two types of lettuce, spinach, two more varieties of basil (besides my normal plot), bay leaf, two more containers of arugula (because I want more than just a couple of meals out of it), green beans, yellow beans, and sweet peas. WHEW!
|My first-ever green beans!|
On top of this, I have my flower beds. Most are on autopilot now, having planted lots of perennials, but I did end up with a volunteer lupine that needed attention and I put in a few new flowers to fill in some gaps.
|Clematis in the foreground and my lily & iris bed in the back|
|I had to do something to distract from the back of the garage!|
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the garden this year. I'm excited to see how much yield I get from my vegetables and how well all these things are going to grow in pots.
I'd love to hear about our readers' gardening exploits. Do any of you have favorite plants you put in every year or a "best practice" you'd like to share? Let us know!
- Farmer Alex