Showing posts with label Secret Garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Secret Garden. Show all posts

Monday, May 25, 2015

Companion Gardening Guide

Are you affected by the weather?  I know I am.  Today is Memorial Day and I am sitting in my dining room watching the rain come down.  I guess I could technically get in the garden but if I do I will sink down in the  mud and may cause more harm than good.  The rain along with the debilitating vertigo I have suffered from (though it is nearly gone) for the last 36 hours is preventing me from doing more than sit in my dining room and talk to myself and think....about the garden.  I welcome the rain today as I live in the South and I know that if this summer is like most, we may all be wishing for more rain all too soon.

When I sat down the idea of companion gardening came to mind.  Actually I was thinking of the 50 or so volunteer marigolds (volunteers are the plants which grew from last year's seeds) I transplanted before said vertigo hit.  I know about companion planting, have read about it, studied charts, made my own garden grid of where everything should go and then threw it all out the window.  Not that I don't think it is valid.  In fact, other than a totally organic (meaning not even one "organic" spray), it is my humble opinion that it is the only way to garden.  Unfortunately, if I were to have purely a garden blog it would be titled something like "My Messy Garden" or "My Disorganized Garden".  I tend to sort of plant everything by instinct and though part of me longs for nice neat rows like I see in books, I cannot bring  myself to plant that way.  As the garden progresses and after the sun comes out, I'll show you what I mean.  Back to companion gardening.

Last summer, several folks who came to my garden commented on the lack of bugs.  To be clear, there were bugs.  There were earthworms and bees and ants and the like, but as a general rule, there were no invasive bugs on a mission to eat my garden bounty.  Why?   Two words.  Companion Planting.  The primary insect deterrent in my garden was the very boring, we see them everywhere in the South, marigold plant.  Lots and lots of marigolds.  Below is a photo from last year's garden.  (I was a little heavy handed in the marigold seeding.)  I can see our garden outside of the kitchen window and it gave me no small pleasure, you can be sure, to look out at the sea of marigolds each day during most of the gardening season. 

This year I have added other companion plants such as chives to our little homestead garden.  Below are links to my favorite companion guides.  Hopefully they will successfully guide you as well as you move through this year's planting cycle.


My "go-to" source for all of my homestead needs.


 This link to Southern Exposure does not actually give you a guide, but is a short explanation of the Three Sisters technique learned from Native American growing practices.  In addition, Southern Exposure is a seed company I recommend. 

Another mention I had not discovered until nearly the end of this article is Renee's Garden.  Renee has a fantastic gardening site and goes into further details regarding the Three Sisters method. This is our third year for growing our own food and each year we increase the garden both in size and in variety.  I cannot wait to see what the growing season holds for us.  If you cannot grow your own garden or cannot grow enough to meet your needs, consider purchasing a share in a CSA.  We have done this for many years and this year have finally found a CSA that fits our needs to supplement while our own harvest comes in.

***These gardening tips are recommendations only.  No paid endorsements are associated with this article.    

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Benefits of the Garden

The obvious benefits of the family garden:

The not-so-obvious benefits of the family garden:

I'm from a small Tennessee town.  My parents live in the country.  These are not new to me but we certainly see more interesting specimens now that we have a lovely garden filled with flowers and vegetables.  Love that feeding ourselves means feeding the bugs, birds and other wildlife as well!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An Act of Love

June 14, 2014

I love to garden.  Ornatmentals, flowering, vegetable.  It really doesn’t matter.  We had a beautiful yard in our last home  Granted, it was less than a quarter of an acre, so it wasn’t that hard to have a beautiful yard.  But, try as I might, I never could get it quite, well, perfect.  It was never that Southern Living yard I so desperately wanted to have.  Then we moved.  Working, an adoption, the death of a mother, volunteer responsibitlities…yada, yada….we never could put the time into this yard that we put into the other.

Until now.

I’m on the countdown to the end of my work commitment, getting ready to homeschool and doing one of the things I love – gardening.  We quadrupled the size of the yard in this home which means, for me, striving for perfection is akin to insanity. I’ve known this for a long time but it wasn’t really until I was working in my new vegetable garden last week I had the time and the quiet moments to reflect upon this.

If you had wandered into that backyard during that meditative hour, you would have found me squatting among the rows, thinking of my grandfather who was a sharecropper and wondering how much of him lives in me.  I was thinking not only of him but primal nature we all have to dig in the dirt and this movement among all industrialized nations – but especially the U.S. – to create urban homesteads and to reconnect with our food source.  Victory gardens (remember your history) are popping up on postage size backyards, on rooftops in large cities, on unclaimed and abandoned lots and here in my own beautiful and less than perfect backyard.

This summer, we will be transforming this space.  It may never be perfect, unless it is perfectly wild like nature and like my own nature, but it is a source of great joy for our entire family.  Gotta go!  Nature is calling.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

May 10, 2014

I’m going full-force on the urban homestead. It’s on! After several weeks of trying to match schedules with someone who could till our garden, we finally connected with someone and we are turning the sunniest portion of our yard into a space approximately 18×12 feet. It may be larger than that, but that is my best guestimate.

As you can see in this before photo, this is not the first time we have planted in that spot. Last year my mighty men (Nathan and the Sun), hand dug four 3-foot beds which looked alarmingly like graves. We had little time and energy and more lettuce than we could shake a stick out. It’s a little late in the year for us to get started on the new garden, but we are up to the challenge.

Right now I would like to be out there digging and planting, but alas, I am sitting with a child who is suffering from a severe case of gastroenteritis. Luckily for me, Nathan is gung-hoe (get it?) on gardening and is out there right now working in the soil to get it nice and ready for the growing season. Next on the list? Consulting Jerry Baker’s (America’s Master Gardener) tips for our little homestead.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013