Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Newest Garden Bed

Dear Folks,

After allowing the wonderful Kentucky Colonel spearmint to completely overrun a bed (don't every do that!!), I decided we needed to take it back and use if for more food producing plants.

A note about the spearmint:  It is a glorious herb, I use it to flavor water, drinks, in egg, chicken or tuna salad mixes, sometimes in salads, always in tabouli and other dishes I can't think of right now.

It is just that I did not need an 8 x 10 foot bed of it :-)

Deane did all the really hard work - and I do mean HARD - as the roots had amassed to the combined size of tree trunks.  It required moving all the pavers you see to get every single root.  I then sifted the soil (you see it on the tarp at thee back of the top portion of the picture) to get all the rest of the roots out.  We then mixed back in about 50/50 good compost/soil mix and I planted - a lot.  You will notice the flowers.  If you saw my video post yesterday on setting up an container garden, I use flowers for multiple purposes.  And always edible flower options in food producing beds.

The flowers are pretty to look at while the garden gets going; they act as a soil condition and moisture level barometer; they attract pollinators to the garden and finally, you can eat them too!

You can see the chicken wire hats placed over seeded in areas.  This keeps the birds and critters out while the plants get going. After there is good growth I remove the hats.  The critters seem to forget the plants are there (although I am going to have to keep a watch for the squirrel).

The foreground part of the photo shows the crook-neck squash and just to the right you can see the lettuce seeds sprouting.  Since my tomatoes wintered over and are producing I want more lettuce for salads.

Here is what I planted in this garden.  I will try to post another update in about 45 days when much of the growth should be rolling along well.

Corn and sugar peas on the north side - running east to west.  (So the rest of the garden gets good morning to afternoon sun.

So far I have seeded in lettuce, carrots, radishes (up already and it is only at day 13), celery, two types of turnips, beets, and kale.  I transplanted a sorrel and catnip from the old bed.  I transplanted Green Zebra and a San Marzano tomato (trying the San Marzano for the first time here), a dark opal basil and Za'atar herb, purple tomatillo and orange bell pepper.  The flowers are a mix of johnny jump-up type and other violas.

A note about the celery.  I am experimenting this year with a red-stemed celery variety.  So far what happened in another bed was the realization that the bed did not get enough direct winter sun.  The plants came up, they are healthy, but not nearly as tall as I expected.  Good flavor, just not a lot of the plant.  BTW this variety called "Red-venture" is grown in part because of the lycopene in the stems, but also because you can harvest a few stems at a time working from the outside, instead of having to take out the whole bunch.

I am Very Late in trying more of the seed but this new bed has great sun exposure so I can see the kind of growth which I can expect next fall when I plant again, at least from a 'how-does-it-grow' with enough sun standpoint.  Celery is a real challenge in the desert garden because of the long growing season requirement.  I don't expect this late season experiment to produce the reputed 2 foot plants (because we will be moving into the heat), but any growth will be useable.

A note about the Za'atar herb.  I got the seeds from Bakers Nursery and it is reported to be 'the' za'atar herb native to the Middle East for which the spice mix is named.  Until the leaves are a good size, I won't know if this is a new-to-me plant or Syrian Oregano, and plant often described as za'atar (a great plant, but botanically I am not sure it is THE herb in question).

That's all for now folks,

Have a great day in the garden.

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

1 comment:

Birthday Flowers said...

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