One of the greatest joys and pastimes of the spring, summer, and fall seasons is unquestionably gardening. Planning, preparing, planting and harvesting vegetables and fruits every day is therapeutic and helps a soul stay healthy. Mother earth takes kindly to the variation of plants nestled in her soils, and there is nothing like eating a meal gathered from your backyard or walking out with the sunrise and watching the flowers and buds start to wake up.
While both of us here at Two Old Oaks grew up with gardens this is our first real one in quite a while. Last year we simply did not have the time (or equipment) with the move-in and before that we lived in a city apartment. In the apartment we kept a sun-room full of plants, (mostly herbs) and last year we planted tomatoes and herbs out on our front porch. This year we are excited to finally have the chance to have a full garden again but getting a new garden cultivated can be a hefty chore, especially if you must break new ground. But never the less a most rewarding chore it is.
Our original plan for this year’s garden was to get the planting started in early to mid April but a string of rainstorms and frosty mornings kept the ground too saturated and cold for seedlings. To top it off we had never turned any ground on this property, so we were left wanting for a tiller to help make the job a lot easier. Luckily though we got our hands on an old tiller, gave her a new motor and we are now able to get to work.
Having already mapped out where the garden and the placement of each plant back in March it was easy to know where we wanted to break ground. We placed the garden to the east, south, and west sides of the greenhouse that is being build, just enough light and just enough shade to make all the plants happy as little larks.
While we were planning the garden we of course had to make the choice of what we were going to be growing this year. We wanted plants that could thrive in our growing zone (Zone 6a) but also ones that we would actually use and eat; not to mention what we could can and store for year round enjoyment. We settled on the following plants;
- Beefsteak and Roma both good to eat raw and for canning,
- Fresh, for pickles and relish of course!
- Green Beans
- For canning and fresh Green Bean fries
- Corn on the cob anyone?? I freeze it rather than canning.
- There are so many things you can do with Zucchini; zoodles, fries, muffins, boats just to name a few! I have never tried preserving theses but I wouldn’t mine trying!
- It can’t be summer without melons!
- It’s my Hubby’s favorite and I want to try and dehydrating it. I’m told it tastes like watermelon flavored cotton candy?
- Thinking pumpkin pie! I love to bake and its always exciting for me to make as much from scratch as I can. Not to mention the seeds are yummy when roasted, the chickens love it (and it’s good for them! Shhhhh! But don’t tell them that) and it’s always a beautiful fall decoration.
- We have an amazing friend to whom we refer to as the Plant Man, who grows just about anything you could think of (Even a banana tree) all in pots in his home. Needless to say if I want a start for a plant it’s likely he has it. He’ll often gift me plants (And I won’t deny that! I ❤ Plants!) That’s how I got some beautiful purple spinach plants that will be used in mainly fresh dishes.
- Bell Pepper
- I like to usually freeze these already sliced/cubed up for a quick add in for any meal during the winter months. I might even try dehydrating them?
- Well it seems that I may have to try this next year as every seed/seedling I got this year just didn’t do a thing…..awww well I’ll look forward to planting it next year!
Along with all the typical plants that are in the garden, I’ll also have an herb garden. I started a few years ago with just two or three herbs and it has just grown from there! Here is the list of the herbs that will be in the garden this year (Not counting all the flowers and other pretties I have placed for landscaping)
- A must have in our home! I was so surprised when my sage from last year stated to grow this year!
- I lost my mother plant but of course my Plant Man has me covered and has a small start for me to have. THANK YOU PLANT MAN!
- This will be the second time that she has made her way into my garden, the first time I started it from seed but was unable to plant her in the ground as I was living in an apartment at the time. But not this year!
- Sweet Basil
- I love to use this in cooking!
- I started this last year and well it just won’t stop. This is a great one to start with because it has so many uses! It is also VERY hard to kill…..
- I had some seeds from I don’t know when so I decided that I would take the chance and see if it would grow. Well to my luck I had a few that took!
Of course I may add a few more as the season goes on as I learn more and more on how to use them in multiple applications. I also have a few natural growing herbs that I’ll take use of, one being Dandelions, (yes it not just a weed!) As well as Yarrow, a herb that has great healing qualities. I’m sure there is many more hiding right under my nose, but I’ll start with those for now.
With all these plants to put into the ground I best get to planting now! Can’t wait to watch all the little sprouts grow into thriving plants that will in turn help us to thrive.
What’s in your garden this year? Do you have a MUST HAVE plant that you grow every year? Please share in the comments! We can’t wait to hear all about your gardening adventures.