Thursday, July 19, 2012

Garden Secrets

"Oh! The things which happened in that garden! If you have never had a garden you cannot understand, and if you have had a garden will know that it would take a whole book to describe all that came to pass there."
--Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

I myself am just a girl with a little kitchen garden...not a master gardener...and not an expert. I can tell you a few thoughts, my own little thoughts, on growing seeds and planting things. I once read that taking care of a garden is like taking care of yourself. In the end, I think that's all you need to know.

I got Martha Stewart's little book on growing seeds, a long time ago, and I love that little book. So my secret garden starts in little pots on my sunporch in February and March. I start tomatoes, flowers, squash and herbs. The healthiest plants will make it into my raised garden bed by May 3rd, the date when danger of frost has passed for my region of the country, the Ozarks.

Find a little pot, a seed, some soil, and stick it in there! Water it. Watch it grow. I have a potting bench where I do my garden work--it is mess and madness and I love it. I consider it part of my garden really. And I think every part of your garden should be a happy place.

 Never stop growing. Even after I've planted my starts in my raised bed kitchen garden, I keep planting seeds, such as herbs and flowers, all summer. I always have a little nursery growing with baby basils, dills, parsleys, and marigolds. It's fun!

Make life easy--plant perennials! I have a whole bed of nothing but Thyme. It has English Thyme and Lemon Thyme. This favorite herb of mine goes into roast chicken, homemade breads and my Lemon Lemon-Thyme Squares. I really don't have to do much to this herb bed, and it just comes back more beautiful every year.

 Grow what you love. And I LOVE rosemary. It's an energy herb...just the fragrance of it makes you feel good! Every morning when I go out to the garden, I rub a little rosemary in my fingers and the wafts of fragrance release. So nice! Who needs coffee? Well...okay...I do. I love coffee--the mug goes out to the garden with me actually, all part of my happy morning experience. But then, there's rosemary! And like thyme, it is wonderful in roast chicken and breads. It is considered a tender perennial, meaning it does come back, but it would not withstand our Ozark winters, so I keep it in big pots and move it outside for the summer only. I buy my rosemary plants at Christmas-time when they are selling them shaped like a Christmas tree and the price is way better! Just a tip! And my rosemary plants are happy on my Greenhouse sunporch all winter.

Grow what you eat! This was the very first roma tomato to ripen last week--it went right from the vine and immediately onto a juicy turkey cheese burger for dinner! Sooo yummy.

Make your garden last forever. Or, for at least a year! Honestly, canning or "fresh preserving" as we now call it, is not that difficult. Grab yourself the most recent Ball Jar Blue Book. It will have the latest instructions and recipes. I am not a fruit expert, but I do grow so many tomatoes, that I must can a lot of them. I make salsa and can it in these cute Ball Jar Elite Collection little fat jars where you can dip your chip right in. And I can whole tomatoes to cook with all winter for soups, stews and recipes. Visit my tomato canning blog here. If I am able to make enough, I also have plenty of cute salsa jars for hostess gifts and sharing with my family. There is nothing like your own amazing garden aromas when you open that jar--even in January! And by the way, I grow jalapenos and bell peppers in my garden just for my salsa making. So, grow what you eat, for sure.

If you really like it, grow a lot of it! Last year I tried wildflowers, grown from seed, in my mailbox garden. For a long time I loved how they looked. But, by September, they really got wild and overgrown. So, I re-thought that one, and this year I planted rose moss in the mailbox garden. The plants spread pretty quickly to take up the whole flowerbox area, and they constantly bloom, they don't get too tall, and they do look like little roses everywhere! So of course, I planted more of it in pots and hanging baskets all around the house. So, in other words, more is more!

Bee thankful. I love to go out to my garden, pick things, plant things, smell things, eat things, think about my garden, plan more gardens, design stitching ideas from my garden, write about my garden, and just be there. If I see a big fat bee, I'm really thankful. I actually worry about the dwindling bee population! I'm thankful for the butterflies too. Is there anything I don't like? |Well, I don't like weeding and sometimes when there's been absolutely no rain, yes, watering can get a little boring. But...that's about it! I try to multitask while I'm watering anyway, so it's all good and well worth it. A garden is a gift, and you should consider it a little glimpse of paradise...and if you have one, be very thankful. If you have nothing more than a big pot on a patio somewhere in this world, and it has herbs, flowers and-or vegetables growing in it, then you have a garden. Be thankful.

Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Grow


  1. Hi Sandy,
    I linked over from your comment to visit you, and I'm so glad I did. Yes, I think you are right, we are so much alike. I love how I am meeting people who are just like me when honestly I felt like I was an oddball. Nobody in the family really was a crafty (I don't know why I hate that word but it works) person. My mom does paint, a talent she found later in life. She also took ceramic classes for a while. Both grandmas crocheted, and one grandma taught me how to use her old black singer and how to do very basic knitting. But that's it. So now that I am meeting people from all over that are so much like me it just makes me feel so happy, and almost normal. It's nice to find someone who would get so excited about starting her seeds on the sunporch and embroidering on a pair of old pants, now shorts. I love it. I love your blog and am looking forward to having time to go through it when I get my pattern finished. I tried to follow but it wouldn't let me, so I will just subscribe to get emails for now! I'm so glad to meet you, and thanks so much for visiting my blog and introducing yourself!!!!

    1. Julie, I just saw this after the other comment. You are so sweet. That is funny because I feel like the oddball in my family, although my mom sewed clothing from patterns, and did ceramics and my aunt taught me basic knitting when I was ten. But that was it! You are right, it is so fun to meet the people that truly belong in our tribe! (Hey, I should blog about that)

  2. Ooops, I guess I was wrong. I tried again and it let me follow, so I am happy to say I am your newest follower!!

    1. Thank you so much dearest! I am sooo excited to follow your lovely blog as well!

  3. Hi Sandy...yes, I read your profile..and I could say that my life is a patchwork of creativity! I love your blog...thanks for your visit. Hope you'll come again and be inspired.

    I've been meaning to start a little herb garden on my porch...but I keep putting it off....I guess everything is about timing! xo

    ciao bella
    your newest follower

    creative carmelina

    1. I appreciate that more than you'll know! I hope you do get a pot of herbs going--they grow fast, so it's not too late. I love your blog! Crafty hugs!

  4. Lovely to read about your garden and what you grow. Love the quotation from The Secret Garden - I have just reread this as I came across it with some of my old children's books. It's a beauty!