May 13, 2016
I’ve done gardening in the past. When I was younger I had a garden underneath our old swing set. But let’s face it, I was more interested in picking flowers to go in the garden than actually maintaining it. As I got older I went through many apartments that kind-of made gardening something unmanageable. I’ve always lived on the 2nd floor, making the only plant option indoor ones. I also lived in Philadelphia for a few years, and if plants went outside I risked someone kicking and breaking the pots. When I moved back to the burbs, I was still on the second floor and the rules of gardening was really murky, so I chose to avoid it.
So when we bought our row home, it was the first time we had a small plot of land to grow things in. The problem was that the previous owners wanted more patio space and filled the soil with rocks and stepping stones. At first I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, just pick out the big stepping stones and then pick out the smaller rocks. In fact my bosses took the stepping stones to use in their own gardens, so I just had to pick out the smaller rocks in-between the stones. I think my tip off that it would be hard was the fact that there wasn’t any weeds. So. Many. Stones. There was a layer of pretty store bought stones, and then just a foot of stone filled soil. It took about 2 months of random rock picking with my husband to get the stone situation to an controllable state. Even still, there are a good amount of rocks in our soil.
Aside from that we have had a few challenges- mostly squirrels. I brought out my amaryllis plant that I got this Christmas. I also tried starting seeds for a few flowers and herbs, starting them inside but putting them outside on warmer days. Well, it turns out that the squirrels were still pretty hungry from the winter and kept digging through my plants. I pretty much gave up hope for the flowers and herbs, but a few of the Black Hollyhocks have lived, though I still need to transplant them. None of the Purple Perilla have lasted, they seeds got washed away.
As for the herbs… I don’t know what is growing. Well, I do know some of the cilantro is growing. I know this because I saw some of the seeds stuck the sprouts and because the leaves are starting to get all cilantro-y. I am excited because it is one of the herbs at my CSA that gets cut down fast. I also planted mint and basil, but squirrels pushed the dirt around so much that I think some seeds got buried too deep. Everything got moved all over the place.
There are two more edibles that I planted, lettuce and hops. I planted two types of lettuces, one I can’t remember the name of (oops) and the other is arugula (or rocket). Again I planted these because my CSA isn’t the best suppliers of lettuce. We might a head or two in the spring and another 2 heads in the summer, then that’s it. So I figured it would be nice to have more.
I have no idea what I am doing with hops. I am taking a chance and trying to grow it on our fence, and I think a neighbor is using the community fences, so I think it is allowed (technically we own the inside of the house, and not the outside, so it makes things a little weird). I picked the Cascade Hops plant because it sounded like it might do well with my soil and it sounded like it would be nice and fragrant. We have no plans on using the hops for brewing, though maybe we can get some extra cash on the side. Where’s the dollar sign emoji face when you need it? Anyways, after a lot of waiting I THINK I see the the hops starting the grow. Either that, or it is a weed. So fingers crossed.
Other things? Well, we got a beautiful gnome for the garden, with a golden cone hat. And he is planted to a bush that I got on sale at Lowe’s. Sadly I can’t remember what the bush is. Womp womp. It was really pathetic when I bought it, all dried out. Now it looks like there are fresh shoots coming out, so that’s reassuring. Maybe at some point I will be able to tell what it is by searching the flowers.
There also two stepping stones jointing out porch area to the sidewalk, and I bought these cute succulents that looks like some sort of stonecrop/sedum. Again, I am an idiot who forgot to save or label the plant. It will hopefully crawl and fill in the spaces over time, might not happen for a few years though. I might have to ask my boss if I can steal some of his succulent plants to help fill in the gaps.
Speaking of my boss, I’ve been getting some other freebies from him. See he LOVES gardening, and all the companies he orders from tend to give out free bulbs and the like. (for example I got free dill seeds when I ordered from Thyme Garden Herb Co.) So I planted some Balloon Flowers and Gladiolus. So it looks like we will have a fairly full garden for the first year.
So that is what is going on with my garden right now. Hopefully I will try and post updates ever month or so as my garden fills out.