|My "salad crib" built from a simple wooden pallet|
|Grown from Mesclun lettuce seeds|
I haven't always had big gardens, and I've had my years of starting seeds on a dining table. Now, I have written, in my mind, my own little gardening guidelines--they are not your normal gardening guidelines for sure.
|Better Boy tomato variety getting ready to ripen|
|Fresh basil - it's cut and come again!|
2-Grow with your garden. Grow your knowledge, your experience, and grow as a person. Taking care of your garden is like taking care of yourself. You will start to know what is looking healthy, what might be causing a problem, and who your plants' best friends are! Take tomato and basil--they are companion plants. Not only do they taste good together, they grow healthier when together.
|When the birds get too excited about my tomatoes we hang noisy foil and chimes to keep them away!|
|A pink zinnia growing in the middle of some green peppers and cucumbers.|
4-Grow diversity in the garden. Beyond companion planting, I've always found that mixing flowers in with herbs and veggies seems to make everything thrive even more. This year I am so focused on growing a lot of tomatoes for canning that I just didn't have as much room for a cutting garden. So I just stuck my zinnia seeds here and there wherever I could find a spot, and they seem perfectly happy! Also, marigolds are the guardians of the garden, they are full of antioxidants--plant them here and there around the corners!
5-Cut and come often! I have four Italian Parsley plants, because I make herb bouquets often and snip from this stuff every evening for pasta, salad, sauces...it just adds that incredibly fresh flavor. I'm always snipping the basil, throwing a cucumber in a salad, or slicing up a fresh green pepper. When the tomatoes start ripening--I have plans! Of course, we'll eat the cherry tomatoes right off the vine, every day, slice up those big boys for salads and dinner, and then I will can probably dozens of jars of salsa and whole tomatoes--my favorite thing. I'll have tomatoes to cook with all year, and plenty of salsa to eat and share. It really makes it worth it all to take care of your garden plot in life. Whether you have some pretty pots on a rooftop patio or a real kitchen garden, having a garden is very zen, natural and oh so good for you. It nourishes the soul.
|The first pepper of the season!|