Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Garden

My Garden as been a work in progress since I started one in 2008 and you can see the evolution on this post.  Last year we converted the garden and made raised beds with walkways and it has made a huge difference!  Here in the Midwest we get TONS of bugs and they all seem to LOVE me.  I want my garden to be as organic as possible so once the bugs come out, I stay in.  Making the beds raised has made the bug situation a lot better without having to treat my plants with pesticides.

I've had a few people ask me about my garden, so this post is going to be the grand tour.....

Let me start with a little background.  The lot that our house is built on is about 1/3 of an acre.  Even if you take out the house and the front yard, it leaves a pretty big big space.  

The garden is about 15'x17' in the South West corner of my back yard.  Behind our property is a wooded lot that I adore...  although this means more bugs, it gives an extra element of privacy and it is so pretty.

Right when you walk in you will see my herb garden.  Most of this is perennial with leeks, oregano, chives, thyme, sage and catnip.  A few of the annuals that I have to replant every year are basil, parsley, cilantro and rosemary (although our last winter was mild enough that my rosemary came back this year!)

Next to the herb box I have the asparagus box, with a few rhubarb plants in between.  The asparagus are the really tall ferny things on the right.  I usually get a nice crop in May, enough to feed the family and then they come up sporadically after that.  The sporadic stocks I just let grow, and they grow crazy!!!

Right next to the asparagus, we have the pepper box.  I plant green peppers and jalapenos and for me, the peppers do better in the shade.  So I made sure their planter was closest to the trees.  They still get a bit of sun, so I planted 2 varieties of sweet potato vine and when they start to vine out, I will trellis them over the peppers for more shade.  I also LOVE the wild honeysuckle that is filling up the back of my fence.  I have to trim it aggressively but it is well worth it and right now it is in full bloom and the garden smells amazing!!!!

In the center of the garden are my pallets.  I have 3 and last year they were full with vegetables but I had bad luck with most of them.  Our last summer was horrible for vegetables, so it may not have been my fault.  But this year I decided to limit the veggies... The front pallet is filled with mostly tomatoes, the middle pallet is mostly flowers and the last pallet is filled with Strawberries.  Here and there in the pallets I also have shallots planted, which are perennial as well as the strawberries.  (on a side note the chicken wire box on the top/left of the pic below was an enclosure for a few box turtles that we were keeping as pets.  This Spring, we let them go and I haven't decided what I will do with that space yet).

These boxes aren't too pretty and not well taken care of but the left box is filled with potatoes and the right is filled with weeds scallions.  Both of these are perennial, provided you don't dig them up :-)  We left some of our potatoes in last year.  We haven't quite figured out how to get the most out of our potato crop... until we do more research, it will probably look just like this.  The scallions are fun and easy to grow, I have learned to just trim a few of the stems/leaves at a time instead of digging them up.  This way I don't even have to replant.  Maybe I should pull a few of those weeds so that we could find said scallions :-)

A few years ago, my neighbors built a matching garden on their property and we took down the fence that separated the 2 gardens.  (I think the real reason why we wanted to do this is because our neighbor's are our best friends and this makes it a lot easier to go from side to side.)  So now we venture onto the neighbor side of the garden.  This box was originally for sweet corn, but we couldn't keep the squirrels from eating it so we turned it into a compost pile.  We have a few pallets that we are going to build into this to section off the different sides, but haven't made the time for that yet.  This is our first year for the compost pile and so far so good.

Also on the neighbor's side is the Chicken Coop.  Now, it's nothing pretty but there's a reason for that.  When we built this coop, we used the wood that we had on hand and purchased only the chicken wire.  We used every darn scrap we could find and even managed to incorporate an old dresser hutch/book shelf for the nests (which was falling apart anyway).  Given that this cost us less than $20, I say it looks pretty darn nice!  :-)

Last year a fox got into the coop and killed the chickens that we had.  So after a few adjustments to the coop, we bought more this year so they are about half grown.  I have no idea of what the varieties are but a few of them will lay colored eggs!!  How fun is that?!?  (I just fed them so clearly they have better things to do than pose for pics.

Oh wait, we have a taker!  :-)

That's pretty much the garden!  Here are a few close ups of my faves....

I planted some hens and chicks in the corners of the pallets.

I just bought this Dahlia plant a few weeks ago and I am IN LOVE! Although Dahlias in my region are annual, I can dig up the bulbs in the fall, winter them over in my garage and replant next spring!

My lilies are sooooo close to blooming!

Oh and look! I had some fresh Strawberries ready today!

I hope you like my garden!  Feel free to ask any questions and if you have any tips/tricks/advice for this garden novice, they will be greatly appreciated!  Until next time, Happy Gardening!

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