Monday, October 25, 2010

My Happy Birthday Herb Garden

Got home this evening and my wonderful husband surprised me by planting an herb garden outside our back porch as his belated birthday gift to me. As my Dad would say "It is a thing of beauty and joy forever." I LOVE IT and was totally surprised! Just what I wanted. I am so excited.

Silly Wabbit

Some people complain about rabbits in their garden. They might even put up a
scarecrow in their garden. Not us. We got us a big ole "Wacky" lookin rabbit
peeking out of the lavender, basil and chives.

I think "Wacky" would scare a snake with this look. "Wacky" rabbit is one of
the many interesting finds I discovered in my newly planted birthday gift herb garden.

Welcome in Mosaic

Mosaic Bird Bath

It begins with a nice mosaic "Welcome" sign high enough to still be seen once all the herbs start growing in and filling up this herb garden room. A miniature mosaic bird bath may serve more for a water bowl unless "Wacky" rabbit scares all the four legged creatures away.

Still checking what herb plant surprises are included.

Red Ruben Basil - This and Purple Ruffle Basil
are one of my favorites on fresh sliced garden tomatoes
sprinkled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and goat cheese.

Yummy Oregano

 "Wacky" rabbit looks well fed in this garden, doesn't he?
Newly mulched Red Veined Sorrel
Herbs like salad burnet, savory, sage, sorrel, different basils, thyme, oreganos,
chives, anise hyssop, lavender and rosemary nestle among the winding
mulched raised garden bed and walkway.

I've already harvested fresh herbs from my new garden in our dinner this evening.
Thank you Donny for the best gift ever!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Garden Basics for Newbie Gardeners

I am so proud of you as a gardening newbie! Remember it’s about having fun and trial and error. Some of the best learning times in gardens is just going through different experiences trying different things. What’s the fun if everything comes out perfect? It’s especially fun for you if you have children or grandchildren to make memories together in the garden now that they will remember all the rest of their lives.

My dad grew tomatoes when I was little and I always think of him when I eat homegrown tomatoes. I always think of my mom when I taste and smell honeysuckle. I wish we’d had an herb garden back then cause the wonderful fragrances would trigger all kinds of memories of them.

Basic Gardening Tips
As a new gardener, I’m going to give you some basic gardening tips in addition to answering your question. I hope I do not overwhelm you – that is not my intention. Take some of the info or all of it – whatever you do will be good.

Mulching and Watering Tips
It’s good to keep herbs & veggies watered and mulched. Mulching your garden keeps the soil from getting so hot and drying out quickly (conserving water). Mulching also helps keep the weeds down and if they do come up they are easier to pull through the mulch. You can buy mulch at your local nursery or garden center. I like the cedar mulch myself. You open the bag and spread it several inches deep around the base of your plants and throughout the flower bed but not right up against the plant – leave several inches clear of the plant stems. It’s not a big deal if some is touching but do not pile in on top of the plant as bugs will get in there and start eating the stems that are covered with the mulch.

You don’t want to over water your plants because if you do, oxygen won’t get to the roots and too much water will smother and drown them which kills the plant. When watering, water slowly and deeply and before you water again check how wet they are by poking one of your fingers in the soil next to the plant before watering again. If the soil feels soggy or real muddy, you don’t need to water. If it’s starting to feel dried out, water. Plants always look much better after a nice rain as rain helps to wash away the salts that build up in the soil. So rainwater tops hose or irrigation water every time. We usually get rain all at once or not at all.

Raised beds shown above before mulching.

Raised Beds
Raised beds also make for a better herb and veggie garden which allows good drainage for plants to grow. That’s important in our soils and in other places as well.

Every year you can add compost to the soil in your beds turning with a shovel or pitchfork or tilling the top 12 inches and the soil will get better and better and easier to work. Don’t expect it to be perfect the first year.

You can tell in our garden which are the older beds as they are a lot easier to work in compared to the newer ones. You wouldn’t believe how much time my husband will spend on preparing the bed but when he does the payoff is really good. As you improve your beds, the improved soil will be able to retain water much better and the healthier the soil the healthier your plants.
Now to answer your question…

Flowering Basil?
Use basil often as pruning encourages it to grow bushier and this prolongs the plant’s life. Basil will sometimes start blooming as soon as it starts growing, but keep the bloom stalks cut off as much as possible. The plants will get woody the older they get and leaves a bit sparser. It’s good to plant basil at different times throughout the growing season to keep a fresh supply. Where we live it grows a lot longer before needing replacement.

So it’s not bad that basil flowers but it’s good to keep them cut – I like to cut the flowers and bring them in and fill containers with water and the fresh cut herbs – it smells so nice and looks pretty.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Ten in Life

10-10-10 Whoa, that’s got to be an amazing number and date today. Ten being the highest rating – Remembering Bo Derek – for those who are old enough to remember. What a great day to start new beginnings as it’s the all time highest rating monthwise, daywise and yearwise all aligned today. Which in itself makes me ten times more inspired as I began my day trying to devote 30 minutes to myself with 10 minutes of meditation, 10 minutes of journaling, 10 + 5 minutes of yoga for exercise and 1/2 of 10 minutes playing keep the dog skunk toy away from Herbie & Daisy. I’ve made some sporadic attempts to get into a “me” routine. I seem to get sidetracked easily.

My dreams of a cleaned up fully planted garden may be too idealistic as a garden is always evolving, like we are. If it’s a reflection of what I need to be doing than I have some weeding to take care of both outside and inside. I am continuously cultivating to bring in what will work for me and “weeding” out what doesn’t. Sometimes I lament more on what I need to tackle rather than the goal of what it will free up for me and allow me to do once I get it done.

I hope you take today expecting and experiencing “Ten” in everything you do on this momentous date.