Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Establishing an Herb Garden

Phew! I've been playing catch-up with gardening this year. This spring left rare windows of time where gardening was a possibility and long swaths of unfriendly weather. I've been trying hard to get things in the ground before it is too late. I am finally starting to see the end of that phase.

This is our third summer in our house, but really only the second growing season we've been here for, as we moved in at the middle of June that first year. We are still working on what we would like to grow and where it would work. We are taking into account sun/shade, dogs, water access, potential temptation to passersby and level of plant need when we evaluate what to put in and where to plant it. We are taking the long term approach, picking one or two projects to focus on each year. Last year, we established the vegetable garden. This year the biggest project we are taking on in the yard is to establish an herb garden in our front yard.

We started with a lot of grass that is being slowly infiltrated by the dandelion patch in our neighbors yard. I am not sure if we converted the space from lawn to garden in the most efficient manner, but we wanted to make sure the grass wouldn't just grow back so we invested our sweat equity. We manually dug out the sod, shook the soil off and then carried it to the backyard where we spread it around the new compost area.

That change might not look like much but man was it a lot of work! We spent many hours digging out the roughly 7'x8' space and ended up with a blank slate and sore shoulders.

Then, we added tons of worm compost. As it turns out, our worms don't eat the eggshells or avocado peels.
Then, on to the fun part! I had mapped out the space before we dug. My map was based on a bit of research about companion planting, perennial herbs and annual herbs. We planted lots of herbs from plants, some from seeds and some lettuce, flowers and herbs as well.

The seeds are just starting to come up now. I look forward to seeing how it looks once everything is fully grown.

For posterity, here is the full list of what we planted in this space this year:
  • Spearmint and Chocolate Mint (potted)
  • Spinach
  • Arugula
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Red and Yellow Onions
  • Grandma's Cut Flower seed mix
  • Chives
  • Thai Basil
  • Sweet Basil
  • Tarragon
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Thyme (potted)
  • French Thyme
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • some annual flowers that I can't remember the name of

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