garden time

When we were looking for a new house last fall, one of the things I looked for was a backyard that got a significant amount of sun. I wanted a garden because it is the only solution to my food dilemma that I have found. It can keep costs for organic foods down, the food doesn’t travel miles and miles to get to your tummy, and you have the satisfaction of growing it yourself.

This past weekend, I finally installed a little garden patch. It’s a 4’x4′ square because I figured I should start small and then add on if this one is successful (which I’m hoping will mean another square in the fall, and then another for next spring). I ended up going with a kit that I got at lowe’s because it was becoming obvious to me that we weren’t going to have the time or energy to build it from scratch. This kit was super easy to put together. You just slide the brackets together and you’re done. No screwing anything in, or nailing. . . The wood is cedar, which is naturally longer lasting and repels bugs. We dug a little trench about 2″ deep to set the frame into, pulled up some grass, laid down some cardboard and then put down weed barrier fabric. You can see how we wrapped the fabric up the sides and stapled it in place in the picture below. We still need to get a few more bags of compost to fill the garden up.

square foot garden

I also decided to try and sprout a few plants from seed to see if I could get anything to grow. I’m trying my hand at jalapenos, brandywine heirloom tomatoes, banana peppers, chives, bell peppers, bibb lettuce, thyme, basil, sage, squash and pickling cucumbers.We’ll see what decides to sprout and go from there!

Sprouting Veggies

A while back, Jason had sent me an article that showcased this idea of growing your herbs vertically. I thought it was a fantastic idea to maximize your gardening area! Instead of planting herbs in my square foot garden, I decided to put them in this canvas shoe organizer (the four blank ones are waiting for the chives to sprout). I love that the water just drains down from the top through each plant down to the bottom, watering each level. You can’t see it in this picture, but there’s a trough at the bottom with basil planted to catch the very last little drips. Another thing I like about it is that the awning of our house shades the top, but the rest get full sun, which means I can plant mint (part-shade) at the top and then have full sun herbs at the bottom.

hanging herbs

I have cilantro, parsley, thyme, lemon thyme, salad greens, dill, sage, mint, basil, oregano and hopefully soon, chives! So exciting that I can just grab fresh herbs from my patio now! Let’s hope that my garden will produce some vegetables to go with those herbs!

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19 Comments

  1. roadknowledge
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 8:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    I really like the herb idea. We have tomatos, celantro and peppers in so far, but couldn’t really get the celantro to do much last year. Might try the shoe rack.
    Thanks – Mike

  2. cindybabuscio
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 9:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    Hi…I LOVE this herb planter.very cool!!

  3. Sheri
    Posted March 24, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink | Reply

    I cannot wait until planting season this year! With our pending kitchen remodel, Lance basically said that he wasn’t building raised beds for me too, so this kit sounds fabulous!

    Love the herb planter – pretty too! Keep us posted on the goings on with the garden. Hopefully it’ll be a good year for us! 🙂

    • Elizabeth
      Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink | Reply

      Yeah, the kitchen remodel is one of the reasons that Jason wasn’t going to build me a raised bed. I’m not letting him get out of building me compost bin though!

  4. Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    We just bought a house this week after years of living in flats – so excited about the garden!! I’ll take any advice I can get, I’m really eager to start.

    I love the idea of the shoe hanger for herbs, do you think the canvas will last long, did you buy any specific one like one with only natural dyes etc I’m going to have a look for one of these.

    We’ve been growing chillies on our windowsill for a couple of years and they are so easy to grow.

    Good luck with the gardening.
    Jade

    • Elizabeth
      Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:26 am | Permalink | Reply

      I’m hoping the canvas will last for awhile – I guess I’ll find out! I just searched amazon for a canvas shoe hanger and it seems like it’s not dyed or anything. I’ll let you guys know how it holds up!

  5. Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:16 am | Permalink | Reply

    I still love the shoe organizer. Hopefully we’ll both have big harvests and we can swap veggies and herbs!

    • Elizabeth
      Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:26 am | Permalink | Reply

      Agreed! We’ll have to have canning parties. 🙂

  6. Posted March 24, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    i love the shoe organizer!!! i will have to remember that for the future. right now my herbs are in raised beds and containers…and doing great! but i might need to give up their space in the raised beds for planting veggies next year!

    our garden is doing so great here in houston. well, except for the basil which we didn’t know would NOT like the cold temps we just got. oh well…we’ll get more if it doesn’t come back!

    we are currently composting. my husband found a couple different inexpensive ways to compost. the way we are trying right now is by letting the black soldier flies do the composting. (you can also purchase a couple hundred earth worms by mail for about $25, the turn around is quick from them.) given all the compost i have been buying lately i am looking forward to having our compost on hand!

    do you know that potatoes are really easy to grow here in tx? sweet potatoes grow great in the heat of summer. we have two potato boxes…we don’t eat a lot of potatoes so i am pretty sure we will be sharing with the neighbors!

    good luck on your gardens! i love reading your blog.

    renee

    • Elizabeth
      Posted March 25, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Basil does fantastic in the brutal heat of our Texas summers! We had basil trees at our old house. I made so much pesto. Yum.

      I’m fascinated with the earthworm composting. . . and a little weirded out. 🙂 I’ll do some more research!

      I had no idea potatoes were easy to grow here! I’ll have to eventually add some to the garden. I adore sweet potatoes.

  7. Posted March 24, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

    VERY cool!!! i love that you did the vertical garden. i blogged about it on re-nest.com a while back and wondered if it actually worked. you’ve got living proof. hope your square foot garden goes well! my friends just built a huge raised bed…. http://www.re-nest.com/re-nest/diy/from-seed-to-garden-claire-amans-raised-bed-part-3-111882

    • Elizabeth
      Posted March 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I’m thinking I’m going to have to add some of those water retaining crystal to the soil, because, man, those pockets drain the water quickly!

      Those raised beds are amazing! Good job to them! 🙂

  8. Posted March 24, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Beth! I love the herbs in the shoe organizer! This is something I am going to plan on doing in the future.

  9. Posted March 25, 2010 at 8:41 am | Permalink | Reply

    Looks great!

  10. Posted March 27, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Beth! It all looks great. How did you plants your plants? That sounds like a funny question but did you buy them like that or buy the seeds and stick them in individually?

    Thanks

    • Elizabeth
      Posted March 28, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink | Reply

      I bought a jiffy greenhouse complete with the peat pellets (you can always buy refills of the peat pellets) and some organic seeds (and a friend gave me some of her extra seeds). You fill the bottom tray with water until the peat pellets expand and then you stick 2-4 seeds in each pellet. Then you cover it with the plastic top and wait for the seeds to sprout! Super easy!

  11. Posted April 10, 2010 at 8:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love this herb idea! Definitely book marking it to link to for GrowCookEat. I already planted my herbs, but I will for sure use this method next year. Thanks for sharing!

    • Elizabeth
      Posted April 10, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Glad that you are going to try it out – it seems to be working really well! Now if only I could get my chives to sprout. 🙂

  12. Posted April 12, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh my goodness that is the coolest way to plant herbs! I love it!!!

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] garden time « think liz.: … i love that you did the vertical garden. i blogged about it on re-nest.com a while b… http://bit.ly/bqF7c6 […]

  2. By Fresh Mint Ice Cream « think liz. on May 3, 2010 at 8:39 am

    […] a try. First up was this fresh mint ice cream. Sounds intriguing, right? I pulled the mint from my hanging herb garden and set to work following the recipe to a tee. I wish I would have remembered Cooking Light’s […]

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