Saturday, March 5, 2011

Spring Garden Planning & Stick-to-itiveness

In the summers before I became pregnant and had a baby, I had really awesome gardens. A huge (1000+ square-foot) vegetable garden, a smaller herb and perennial garden, an area dedicated to flowers for cutting, a “red bed” with cannas and other hummingbird attractors, perennial beds, flowering shrubs and plans in the works for a shade garden.
This was taken the first year I had my veggie garden on this property, 2007. I put the whole thing in myself, including the fencing.

My herb/perennial garden was a beautiful sight in 2008. Now it's a weedy mess I'm not sure I can fully recover.
Even when I was early in my pregnancy I had big plans and started my vegetable seeds as usual, planted the containers on my deck, cleaned out and planted my herb garden and forsythia bushes. But then it all went to hell when it got too exhausting to maintain and became overrun with weeds. (I’m surrounded by rural, unkempt land that spews ragweed and thistle seed—and it’s impossible to keep a weed-free garden here without constant work.)

The view from my deck was relaxing. Now, not so much.

After Nathan was born (silly me), I thought I would try again, but on a smaller scale. A friend helped me clear away the dead (and some live) perennials and weeds and I turned my herb garden into a kitchen garden. I ditched the veggie garden, didn’t bother with the cannas, ignored the perennial beds, and just focused on my containers, cutting garden and a portion of the herb/kitchen garden. Even that was difficult to maintain, but at least I enjoyed harvesting a few tomatoes and snipping some fresh herbs and flowers to bring in.

And yet I haven’t learned my lesson, because this year—like last year and the year before—I think I’m going to do better. But I’ve become better at scaling back and I think I have more reasonable expectations now. I might be able to recover my entire kitchen garden this year (it’s really small) and will start a handful of vegetable seeds indoors in a little heated greenhouse-looking thing. I also want to create a bigger patch for cut flowers in a portion of what used to be my vegetable garden. I feel like I can’t live without cut flowers—lots of them.

This year I plan to start from seed: two kinds of tomatoes, two kinds of summer squash (can’t live without ‘em), zinnias and Mexican sunflowers, dill, cardinal climbers and morning glories. I’ll fill in the rest with some annuals and herbs once I see what’s nice at the nursery.

Hopefully, now that Nathan’s a little older, I’ll be able to spend more time in the garden and give it more of the attention it deserves, even if I can’t give it all it deserves.

What are you planning for your garden this spring?

Sungold Tomatoes, my favorite cherry tomato variety.


  1. Your gardens and flower pots are lovely! Love the herb one, in particular. I'm sure it smelled wonderful!!

    I use to have rather large vegetable and herb gardens, but then had to take a break due to health issues. The gardens became overgrown and weedy.

    During 2010, my daughters and I uncovered and weeded the gardens. Some were successful...others were not.

    However, the successes are drawing us back. The "failures" are making us think of alternative uses for the spaces that didn't work. For example, one garden is now very shady for most of the day so we are thinking of planting shade-loving flowers and/or vegetables needing shade or cooler temperatures.

    We plan to plant some of vegetables from seed, but many of the plants will be from transplants that we get at the farmers market since Minnesota's growing season is so short.

    A favorite variety of tomatoes we like are Matt's Wild Cherries - they're tiny red cherry tomatoes. Very prolific and flavorful.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I'm so happy to visit yours as well!


  2. Thanks, Ann! I hope you'll post photos of your gardens this year -- I'd love to see them!


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