Backyard Gardening

Hi Friends! I hope you are all having a fabulous start to your Memorial Day weekend! Everyone…please remember to be safe; don’t drink and drive! This weekend is often packed with picnics and celebrations, but one of my traditions for Memorial Day is that it is “planting weekend.” Every year, I plant flowers and veggies on Memorial Day weekend. It’s usually a pretty safe bet that the frost is done for the year (except this year I think the forecast is predicting frost!)

I used to live in a place where I had a huge garden every year, and I preserved lots of food by canning and freezing. I’ve kind of scaled back over the years. I don’t live there anymore and I kind of got away from that for awhile. I sure wish I hadn’t now, but I’m getting back to it now. However, now I live in town and our backyard is not really suitable for a garden. You can’t even put a shovel in the ground without hitting a hundred rocks…and the shade/sun/water combination is just poor here. It’s so disappointing. So this year, I’m going to take a new approach to gardening and see how far I get.

First of all, I am going to try some straw bale gardening. Please keep in mind, I understand the theory and the how-to. But can I pull it off? I’ll let you know how it goes. I’m feeling quite confident that I can make it work. I’ve got the organic, non-GMO seeds and plants ready to go – tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, spaghetti squash, zucchini, cucumbers, peas – the whole nine yards.

Secondly, I have planted several pots of herbs on my deck. Now this seems like a pretty sure thing. I planted my herbs from seed. I have cress, basil, parsley, fennel, chives, and a cotton plant (how cool is that?). My friend Barb gave me a bunch of mint – peppermint, chocolate mint, lemon balm, and pineapple mint to put in pots on the deck as well. So far, they are doing great! I also have rosemary, sage, and lavender to plant from seed too, but I just can’t make up my mind if I want them out front or out back. I’m growing cherry tomatoes on my front porch along with another variety of parsley. Do you think I’ll have enough? They are intermingled with my orchids and ferns and are making quite a lovely display. I’ve got some more empty pots too, so I may think of more potted vegetables or fruits that I can plant.

So what’s my point in all this? I am so excited about all my plants, I can hardly stand it! I am going to preserve as many veggies as I can. I have a big freezer now where I can store my own organically grown vegetables. I know exactly where they came from and what is on them and in them. I am going to get a lot of satisfaction out of this project when I am done, and I’m also saving myself some money in the winter by not having to buy all these items at the store. My family will be getting healthy, nutritious foods. My food will taste so much better because I will have fresh herbs for seasoning. I can’t wait to use them in my cooking!

I am far from being a master gardener, but I am hopeful that I can get enough beautiful produce to share with my friends and family and be able to store some for the winter. I’ve come to the conclusion that not having lots of space or perfect soil is not a legitimate reason anymore to not have a garden, not when there are so many options out there for growing at least some of my family’s vegetables and herbs. I’ll keep you updated on my little garden’s progress throughout this summer. I hope you will join me in planting at least a little bit. Even if you live in a small apartment, you can grow a pot of lettuce on your porch (or even your windowsill), or have windowboxes filled with strawberries. Get a couple of those topsy-turvy things for some nice fresh tomatoes, and you’ve grown everything you need for a nice summer salad. Put some nice pots of herbs on your kitchen countertop for a wonderful addition to your own cooking. You’ve got so many options, and just that little bit will have a surprisingly big impact on your quality of life! Please let me know if you have questions…comment below! And have a safe and fun-filled holiday weekend!

 

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