Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blooming Where You're Planted - Five Little Unusual Gardening Guidelines

My "salad crib" built from a simple wooden pallet
I have had some kind of garden in my life for the last 25 years--I'm not really counting my childhood because we always had a garden when I was growing up. The difference is, I didn't pay that much attention to it, sadly, and I didn't particularly like everything in it, except tomatoes and strawberries.
Grown from Mesclun lettuce seeds
It's more important than ever to have a garden. You are your own best source for growing fresh, organic food. If you have a pot of soil that you can throw some seeds in, let it have sun and water, then you can have a garden. Even if it's just fresh herbs. It's important. Do it. We've been dining several nights a week from our salad garden made from a wooden pallet. The flavor is amazing.
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
1-Grow what you love. That includes what you love to eat, cook or just look at! To me, the taste of a fresh sliced tomato from my own garden is a taste of heaven.
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!
3-Learn to experience your garden. I love the smells in my garden, the high-energy fragrance of rosemary and freshness of lemon thyme, and I love the stillness of the garden when I pull up a chair and sip some coffee there in the morning. It's such a great place to be--this outdoor room where I started most things from seed myself, and it's all alive, and fresh, and feeding my senses and my stomach! If you have a little kitchen garden outside, keep a chair nearby. You'll enjoy it.
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, 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!
Eat, Write, Dream, Stitch, Grow


  1. I enjoyed this post, Sandy...especially the shot of the juicy green pepper! You are so right, really it so little time to chuck a few seeds into a pot or the ground and you are rewarded by so much. Some folk seem to think its tricky but it isn't!
    I have memories of being dragged around garden centres etc when I was small. I hated it so much and now, I love being in my garden. I even talk to my plants and send them little lightning bolts of love when I pot them up. Sure it helps :-)
    I had my first sugar snap peas, lettuce and lots of herbs this week. The potatoes won't be long now and my courgettes are awash with tiny little (rather rudely shaped) babies! By the time I get back off my hols, they'll be the size of marrows probably!!!
    Jan xxxx

    1. Oh I love that Jan! And isn't it so funny how we didn't appreciate all this garden stuff when we were little? But maybe that's why we did grow up to actually be gardeners. Now I have to go look up what courgettes are! I love hearing about what you're growing in the UK!