Maybe I just used to think that only old people had gardens, or maybe just recently with the whole Real food, eat local movement gardening has becoming more “in”, or maybe when you’re in high school gardens just aren’t cool or something? I don’t really know, but I think they are awesome! It is so rewarding to grow a large portion of the food you eat all year round. I love popping open a jar of pickles mid winter and dram about the fresh dill that lined the garden. After all, your backyard is as local as you can get!
Welp, summer is in full swing! I honestly can’t even believe it is already July…mid-July, holy crap! We went on a trip to the Adirondaks and Burlington Vermont and came back to a jungle in the garden. I’ve gotten a couple of e-mails asking about the garden after I’ve featured some recipes from ingredients found in it! (And there are more to come) I’ve been meaning to do a post about it anyway so that I can compare to what it looks like in late summer, so I know what to do or not do next year, and so that I can show you guys! Sooo here we go. The lower part is mostly herbs and stuff that I wanted to plant. The upper portion is more of a joint effort from my finance (accent on the e) and I. (no longer boyfriend—eek!!)
This year the garlic is growing much better since I didn’t insist on leaving the volunteer sunflowers growing up from the middle of it. I also planted five different flavors of basil this year! I didn’t even know that many existed, and one of them is purple! Which is why my basil lemonade was is a little funky colored this year.
Then in the upper half we have more of the larger vegetables and some companion herbs. I planted parsley with the onions, basil with the tomatoes.Then in the very back we have the tomatoes, and a couple of rows of beets. We also have the big vine-y vegetables, like the zucchini’s, squashes, pumpkins, and maybe a watermelon here and there? This is the first year we have used the tomato cages, usually we just let them run free and they take over the entire garden. Last year we planted them all around the perimeter…not a good idea.Here are some great quick tips for gardening. I am by no means an expert..at all! My dad kept a garden my whole life and I learned a lot from watching and helping him. My fiance has also always kept a garden, last year was pretty much the first year I helped through the entire process and had more of our own garden. So I really don’t know too much of what I’m doing, I just learn a bit more each year.
1. Plant according to the seed package. If it says to plant 1 inch deep, 6 inches apart follow those measurements. I mean, you don’t have to get a ruler out or anything, but don’t go throwing the seeds all around the place.
2. Keep weeds away! Weeding is a pain in the butt, I know it sucks. Plants need to be able to receive the water and nutrients from the soil. And weeds are very good competitors, they will steal those precious resources from your veggies!
This year we totally accidentally planted the rows the exact distance of our small rototiller. So we just run through the rows and all of the weeds get torn up from their roots. Great weed control. We have also tried using paper feed bags under the vined plants. That way the vines can reach out without being over grown by weeds. It also helps stop the squash, or pumpkin, or whatever from getting rotten so quickly.
3. Try companion planting. Just like when foods are cooked together they complement one another, the same can happen while they are growing. This chart, from afristar is amazing for comparing which plants are friends, and which are enemies.
4. Use compost! We compost our organic scraps, and this year we just rototilled the whole contents of the bin into the garden prior to planting. You can also add compost after the plants have become established. I try to stay away from chemical laden plant foods and go for a more natural approach- leaf litter, fruit and vegetable food scraps, manure (oh ya!).
5. Water your garden! I’m really bad at following this advice. Luckily, this year hasn’t been too dry here, but last year our garden did not fair too well, and I definitely think the lack of rain/ lack of us watering it was a huge factor.
Even though we are well into the growing season the planting stage is not totally over with. These vegetables can be planted in mid summer for a fall harvest. Some root crops, greens and other vegetables can be successfully grown from late July or even August plantings. It’s important to know the average first frost date in your area, in order to calculate when to plant these late vegetables so they’ll mature before being killed by cold weather. Some plants can tolerate cold weather better than others, so it’s good to consider those characteristics as well. I found this information here.
How is your garden doing?! I would love to see, send me a picture through e-mail, twitter, or tag me on instagram and I will share them here! Are you planning on planting any vegetables this summer for fall harvest?