Third Year of Gardening

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This is my third year of gardening, and I am excited to share what I’m starting with this year. This year, I envisioned something new for my garden: a clean minimalist layout, colors rich in purples and pinks, and an abundance of herbs and leafy greens.

In the two previous years, I tried to fit as many herbs, flowers, and vegetables as I could in a very small space. This led to a little bit of overcrowding and, aesthetically, the garden looked a bit overgrown. This year, I am looking to make my garden more attractive while also cultivating high yields.

Raised bed during Fall. Filled with Red Sails Lettuice, Green Oak Leaf, and others.

Cleaning Up Damage

I cleaned up my small plot, porch, and flower pots, swept up leaves, removed plants that were heavily infected with aphids, and freshened up my old potting soil with fertilizer. The aphids situation was fixed by watering the infested area with a mixture of water and neem oil. I tried to hold on to my herbs from the last two years, but the aphids decimated them. I missed the opportunity to use soap and water to eradicate them so unfortunately I had to discard the dying rosemary and thyme.

There is good news, however: the general ecosystem in my soil is healthy with loads of insects, worms, and even a garter snake! The snake surprised but delighted me since they are good for gardens, eating any destructive pests. He was, however, hiding in a pot that I needed, so unfortunately I had to disturb his home.

Bay Laurel Damage

I also had to prune and remove the damage done to my bay laurel. At first I wanted to get rid of it, but I am trying to nurse it back to health instead. I pruned off the yellow, brown, and heavily spotted leaves, and hopefully as new leaves grow, I will be able to remove more sickly leaves.

Martha Washington Geraniums, Buttercups (Ranunculus), and Stock.

Minimalist and Neat Layout

After last fall, I found that a minimalist approach to my garden beds was more beneficial for both aesthetic and health reasons. I love having a “centerpiece” in the middle of my garden bed, some taller flowers in decorative pots surrounding it, herbs along the ground, and a turned over wooden pot on the right side of the garden bed since that patch receives the least amount of sun.

This year, I bought these gorgeous Martha Washington Geraniums. I was enraptured by their deep, wine-magenta color, and silken petals. I then planted buttercups (rananculus) and stock around them; some in pots, and some in the ground. Dotting the rest of the garden are pansies, herbs, onions, and even some surprise lettuce that popped up from last year.

Marjoram and Rosemary.

This Year’s Herbs

Since more is not always better, I decided to plant mostly my favorite herbs this season: Genovese basil, marjoram, lemon thyme, sage, bouqet dill, chives, spearmint, parsley, hot and spicy oregano, barbeque rosemary, and another herb that I forgot the name of since I misplaced its sign―but that’s okay! I will plant additional herbs as space allows, since I do have more pots to fill (I know I rattled on eleven herbs).

Red Sails, Green Oak Leaf, and either Red Oak Leaf or the “Salad Mix”

This Year’s Vegetables

Growing and harvesting healthy vegetables is still a work in progress, but I am excited to share the lettuce that is exploding in the garden box this year! I planted them back in November, and they’ve grown ever since, nearly ready to be harvested. The lettuce I have this year include: Red Sails, Green Oak Leaf, and either Red Oak Leaf or the “Salad Mix” that I got from my local nursery. I don’t remember which was which since I lost its sign.

I am also growing bunching onions, which I have already harvested and used to make salmon teriyaki. This has been a nice surprise I have never grown onions before. I am excited to use them in future dishes.

Lastly, I am making another attempt to grow tomatoes: Cherokee purple. I enjoy growing lettuce in my raised bed, and since my tomato yields have been disappointing, I am only growing two tomato plants and focusing my energy on vegetables and herbs that promise higher yields.

Bird’s nest

Decorations

My garden has beautiful decorations this season.  My favorite is the bird’s nest that I found. I decided to place it next to the pansies near the wooden pot turned on its side. It adds some natural flare to the layout. Finding it was like finding treasure; it’s not every day that a city person runs into a bird’s nest or a beehive.

Lastly, isn’t my stone puppy angel just adorable? I’ve always wanted to add a stone animal to my garden. I was trying to decide if I wanted a kitten or a puppy. In the end, the puppy just melted me since I’ve had more dogs than cats in my life.

Angel Puppy

Overall

Overall, I am super satisfied with this new layout. More herbs and flowers will come, and hopefully a frost won’t ruin what I’ve planted into the ground!

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