This is our third season of gardening. And I love it. It’s one of my favorite things to do. It brings me peace and delicious meals and I long for it all winter long. The first year, we kept it simple with three boxes and planted tomatoes, peppers, peas, carrots, and spinach. Our carrots were sad. Our peas got some sort of fungus, but our tomatoes and peppers did okay.
The second year, I decided to focus on three varieties of tomatoes (black krim, jaune flamme, and black cherry) and peppers (bell, golden sunshine, and a sweet red). I also planted several herbs in two barrel pots. Everything went pretty well. Some of the herbs never grew, but I got more than I knew what to do with, so I considered that a success.
This year, we have added two beds and hopefully, a larger variety of plants. We are still deciding on the final list, but will have our plans solidified very soon. The herb pots are starting to sprout and grow on their own, which was my hope after planting several perennials in them last year. I’m all about self-sufficient gardening.
After failing at carrots and having spinach that bolted too quickly the first season, I followed some advice of friends who have more gardening experience. They suggested planting cool weather plants when the tulips and weeds started growing. Once I also noticed my herbs sprouting, I decided to plant three types of cool weather plants: spinach, carrots, and peas. I’m not sure if any of them will turn out, but I will keep you posted.
We put compost and ashes from our fire pit in the garden boxes after the last fall harvest. It broke down over the winter, so we are hoping that it helps the plants grow well. We also put a thick layer of cocoa bean mulch over the areas where we planted seed. We’ve learned over the last two seasons that plants love cocoa bean mulch–especially tomatoes. It also helps us avoid constant weeding, which I appreciate. I usually ask my boys to weed the garden for me because of chronic back pain from an old injury. Disclaimer: I cannot recommend cocoa bean mulch for anyone with a dog. Cocoa bean mulch can make a dog very sick or even kill it.
Along with our garden boxes, we’ve talked about growing various berries and establishing a bulb bed. We also have a butterfly garden in the works.
Where do I get plants and seeds?
I like to buy local when possible. We’ve participated in a CSA (community supported agriculture) share for a handful of years. I’ve honestly lost count of the number of seasons… We support a local farm, Genuine Faux Farm, that is certified organic. They have had plant sales in years past at local farmer’s markets, but started taking orders for plants this year instead. We ordered black krim tomatoes, golden treasure peppers, purple beauty peppers, macaroni red peppers, and Thai basil. If you are local and interested in signing up for a CSA share, visit their website: www.genuinefauxfarm.com.
When I cannot buy local, I prefer to get my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. You can request a free seed catalog at their website: www.rareseeds.com. They have a huge variety of fruits, veggies, herbs, and flowers. My wish list is rather large and keeps me dreaming. It’s like Christmas when the catalog arrives in the mail!
If you are a gardener, what are your favorite plants to grow? If you haven’t started a garden yet, what are you dreaming of growing? Chat with me in the comments.