Through the Keyhole

Several weekends ago, the weather finally headed into an extended warm stretch. Saturday morning started off a little more overcast and breezy than I expected, but the clouds started to clear about 1pm, and the breeze, while still present, helped to cool down the warmer parts of the day.

Robert continued on the massive task he has set  himself — digging out the monster root system in a corner of the backyard — while I worked on building a new garden bed in the front of the house.

The gutter on one of the southern corners of the house leaks a little bit. It’s also not angled correctly, to allow for ideal drainage through the downspout. As a result, water tends to pour over the edge of the gutter in that spot, absolutely hammering the ground below. We’ve tried to grow things in that spot for a couple of seasons, but the water always has an adverse affect on whatever we plant. The fact that I couldn’t use perfectly good growing space was annoying, so I decided to try a new gardening technique this weekend.

A few years ago, my friend Matt (then the manager of the National Colonial Farm) revamped the space in the Museum Garden, showcasing different cultural approaches to gardening. He included a section in the middle that utilized a keyhole garden. It’s a form of raised bed gardening that makes use of compost and grey water, and is particularly useful in drought-prone regions of Africa and Texas. The raised beds help

The compost bin from Matt’s garden

with planting/weeding/harvesting, and the compost bin in the center helps to provide nutrients and moisture directly to the soil. I won’t have to water this garden as much as the ones in the back.

I have wanted to try my hand at a keyhole garden ever since Matt built that one back at Accokeek, and I figured this might be an opportunity to play a bit with the gutter problem.

The area where I wanted to build the keyhole garden already had part of a rock wall around it, from the original garden bed I built a few years ago. The original wall stretched a lot further across the front of the house. Knowing I wanted to build the walls up, rather than out, I relocated the rocks from further down the original bed, and used them to create a sort of oval shape, with a segment out of it to form the keyhole.

[Most keyhole gardens are circular…mine is less so, because of the area I am working with.]

I used an old tomato cage to mark out where I wanted to place the compost bin, and wrapped old straw mats (which have been in the basement for years without a defined purpose) around it. I used some hemp cord I had in my stash to lace the mats together, and held the structure in place with a few strategically placed sticks.

I debated whether to put landscape cloth down, and ultimately  decided against it. I

Here it just looks like a jumble of rocks. (and you can just barely see the corner Robert has been working on, in the back, past the other beds)

might come to regret that, as there are a few tenacious weeds and shrubs which have a tendency to come back, no matter how many times I try to dig them up, but I am using another method and hoping for the best.

After I built the walls up, I tossed down a layer of sticks from the brush pile, and

Looking down into the start of my compost bin

covered that layer with torn pieces of cardboard. You’ll want to make sure you remove any tape or glue, as it won’t break down in the dirt. I also threw some cardboard bits in the compost bin, to start the ball rolling there.

The new bed got four and a half bags of soil and a bag of mulch on Sunday, but I think I want to put  a little more on it. I’d really like to angle the dirt a little more than it is at the moment. Once the final load of dirt goes in, I’ll start planting. I plan to have a few flowers throughout the bed, but most of it will be a mix of radishes, carrots, cabbages, and the borage.

I did get a few things into the dirt over the weekend: a salad mix bed with red and green oak leaf lettuce, butterhead lettuce, and an heirloom Romaine known as Flashy Trout Back (let’s be honest…with a name like that, is it a surprise I picked it up?). I also got a few more strawberry plants, a rhubarb — which I’ve never grown before but am interested in attempting — a type of tomato known as Indigo Rose, and a large bell pepper variety known as Big Bertha. On the flower/succulent side, I picked up some more lobelia, and a new hen and chick to go in the top of the strawberry pot.

Robert drew up some plans last night for two more raised beds for the back of the house, like the ones he built last year. Last year’s beds worked out really well, and I think they add a lot to the house (plus, it’s one more thing that will help keep down the weeds that take over the back yard). One will be square, and the other will be the same size and shape as the other two beds. I’m thinking green beans will go in the long box, along with some kale, turnips, and more carrots. I want to try cucumbers and potatoes in the square bed.

And, in case you’re wondering what we’re going to do with that back corner, once Robert is finished tearing all the old roots out…I have plans.

Gathering Green Beans

With all of the garden work going on, I haven’t spent as much time on indoor hobbies like sewing (though I have been working on some crochet while traveling). Tuesday saw some pretty heavy traffic getting home, so I pulled into the driveway much later than I normally do. This didn’t work out too badly, though…I’ve finished planting the one garden bed and we haven’t had a chance to assemble the second one yet. Most of the containers have their new season residents, so there wasn’t much to be done outside, anyway (we’re hoping to get to the second raised bed this Saturday).

Last year's birthday present

Last year’s birthday present

So I found myself with some spare hours to spend on an indoor task. A friend’s birthday is coming up, and I knew just what I wanted to give her. Last year, I made her a field notes journal cover, complete with slots for colored pencils and pens. The year before, I included a hand-made, embroidered coaster. Before I left my job at the farm, I gave her two of the books from Dad’s extensive library – specifically geared towards naturalists. I figured, as a naturalist herself, they would be a good fit. And I knew he would want them to be used, and not waste away on the shelf.

"A" for "Anjela!

“A” for “Anjela!

In keeping with the flowers and nature theme I gravitate towards for her gifts, I pulled out a pattern I’ve had in my stash for a while. I’ve wanted to make the Gathering Apron, from Sew Liberated, for some time now but never quite got around to it (isn’t that always the way?). Anjela keeps egg-laying chickens and has a lovely herb garden and fruit trees at her house, and I knew that the gathering apron would be a perfect fit for her.

Gathering Apron pattern from Sew Liberated

Gathering Apron pattern from Sew Liberated. The front of the apron is one large pocket, for storing eggs or produce from your garden.

I pulled out some wacky green bean fabric that I bought on sale at Hancock Fabrics, about a year ago. I had originally planned to make a bag for myself, for when I go to the Farmer’s Market, but I couldn’t pass this up. The green bean fabric was just too fun not to share.

[Robert happened by my sewing table when I had the pieces all laid out, awaiting assembly, and laughed. He thought the fabric was great fun, too.]

Criss-cross apron straps

Criss-cross apron straps

Since I had only purchased a yard and half of the bean print and the pattern calls for 2 yards, I had to get a little creative for the straps and belt lining. I pulled out a sunny yellow-on-yellow daisy print that has also been living in my stash for a little while. It provided the perfect contrast to the green beans, and the bit that I had was plenty long to cut the straps from.

Pintucks and pocket details

Pintucks and pocket details

I used a little bit of lilac bias binding to define the edges of the pockets, instead of turning the edge over into a narrow hem. I feel it gives a little more stability to the pocket corners, and helps to define where the pocket is. With fabric as busy as this, it would be easy to lose where the pocket begins. Plus, it allows me to work in a little bit of purple, which is Anjela’s favorite color. And use up at least a small bit of the massive stock of random bias tape I inherited from friends’ grandmothers’ sewing rooms.

I had some trouble with the pin tucks, but not because of the pattern or instructions. I just couldn’t see the darn chalk lines on the ding-dang green bean print! For the tucks on the belt piece, I just winged it (wung it? wang it?), and ended up with four tucks instead of the planned five. With luck, these will be easier for me to do when I make this pattern again, using a less busy fabric.

Creative folding, to get everything to fit in the box.

Creative folding, to get everything to fit in the box.

And I will be making this pattern again. After all, I’m in need of a good gathering apron, myself!

The pattern is, unfortunately, discontinued. However, you can still find a few here and there on Etsy or Ebay. I think that’s the route I’m going to go to pick up one or two of the other discontinued patterns. This is the third Sew Liberated pattern I’ve made – the first two being the Esme Top (a great fit and a favorite) and the discontinued Sunday Picnic Blouse…which I couldn’t get to fit quite right. My full bust means that some types of patterns can be difficult to alter for fit and, unfortunately, I haven’t figured out how to get this one to work yet. Not to worry, I’ll try it again at some point.

For now, though, I would say that the Gathering Apron pattern is another favorite.

A Garden in Bloom

Upon my return from a work trip to Tulsa I found that the weather was finally starting to shift for good from blustery to sun-shiney. This, of course, encouraged me to make an outing to the local garden supply locations. I had some of the seeds from what we plan to grow this year, but there were a few other items I knew I wasn’t going to start from seed…zucchini, borage, and marigolds, for starters.

I don’t generally buy or plant a lot of flowers in my garden pots. I’m much more a fruit/veg/herb grower, which means I primarily plant things that make tasty meals but rarely look as picturesque as, say, the lovely rose bushes or tulips I see adorning other houses. This doesn’t mean I dislike flower gardens. I just usually have to make a choice for which plants I want to devote my spare weeding and tending time to, and vegetables usually win out for the sole reason that I can eat them.

Plus, I admit to being particularly fond of the kinds of flowers you happen to stumble upon in your yard, instead of the kind you plant. Hardy little beasts that look beautiful, even if (maybe especially if) you didn’t plan for them to be there in the first place.

White bugleweed

White bugleweed

For instance, I am much enamored of these lovely beauties, which take up a significant corner of the backyard each spring. I’ve been carefully treading around the patches as I do some work around the new raised bed – though, honestly, they hold up pretty well when you step on them. I’m not the only one who seems to like them, either. Robert asked if we could just make the whole yard those flowers. I heartily agreed, but I’m of the mind that they have to make that conversion themselves. It seems they are well on their way.

[I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember what theIMG_0013 name of this plant was. I plucked two sprigs, one white and one purple, and Mom, Robert and I all searched online. We knew it was in the mint family because of the square stem, though it doesn’t have the typical mint scent when you pick it. After a bit of searching, we narrowed it down – bugleweed, also known as common bugle, carpet bugle, and ground pine. We also happen to have a lot of dead nettle growing around the yard – generally around some of the container garden sections – but I think the bugleweed is prettier. Sadly, our flower identification takes a little longer now…we used to just point something out to Dad, and he’d tell us what it was, how it could be used, and about five other names for each of them.]

This year, I’m actually making a few concessions to flowering plants within the garden plan. This year’s main experiment is companion planting. I’ve been paying closer attention to plants that do well together and am implementing some of these pairings in the garden this year. The main impetus for this decision was the desire to find natural ways to deter some of the pests that have been laying waste to my crops of late. In the interest of protecting my peas and green beans, I’m planting nasturtium and marigolds, and my two new borage plants should help fend off unwanted beetles who are burrowing into the squash plants. Yarrow has found its way to the garden this year, as well as some more lavender.

Of course, in keeping with my tradition of growing purposefully, each of these flowers also have another reason for their inclusion within the garden. While the marigolds are often remarked upon for their ability to keep out unwanted pests, they are also tremendously useful as a dye plant, and can be eaten in salads or used in tea. Yarrow, in addition to being pretty (I picked up both pink and yellow varieties), also attracts pollinators, has medicinal uses, and is used in natural dyeing. Borage tastes like cucumber, and the flowers make lovely, tasty additions to salads and refreshing water jugs. The leaves feature in some cuisines, and are also sometimes used in tea. Nasturtiums are often used in companion planting, to repel a number of pests, and can be eaten and used medicinally.

These will all join the ranks of the lavender, mint, rosemary (which flowered this year!) and stevia I already grow, rounding out my vegetable and herb gardens with additional color. The marigolds and borage have already found their place in the first raised bed.

IMG_0009Knowing I needed something for the sugar snap peas to climb this season, I set to work building this year’s trellis. In the past, we’ve used extendable plant cages, long sticks, and twine to hold everything up. They all did the job well, but didn’t necessarily look all that appealing. Inspired by my flowers’ dual nature of being beautiful and functional, I set to work building a new trellis. I cut three long sapling poles from some kind of tree-ish thing that keeps regrowing in the front yard (despite us cutting it down each year). These would form the three main supports along the back end. The same unknown tree thing also grows in two places at the back of the house, right next to the new raised bed (and outside my window, which means it scrapes against the glass when there are winds). I lopped young branches off of those ones, too, to form the other “walls” and supports.

A good deal of the trellis is actually held in place just by tension – different poles leaning against each other, and holding each other up. However, in the interest of making sure nothing collapses later in the season, I went ahead and used twine at all of the important joints.

I built most of the trellis by myself over a few hours on Saturday, while Robert was at work, but I went back and added a few more horizontal twigs on Sunday. This time, Robert watched as I braided the willowy ends of some of the sapling branches around the other supports. He is of the mind that we should try to build next year’s trellis without the aid of twine. I think I shall accept the challenge.

Everything has been planted in this bed...now we're just waiting for the seeds to germinate!

Everything has been planted in this bed…now we’re just waiting for the seeds to germinate! And yes, my little plant labels are made out of plastic spoons and forks.

This is where the different skill sets Robert and I have work together beautifully. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t build something as even and straight as the garden beds he built – especially the second bed he’s building…that thing has to make all kinds of different concessions for the wonky slope of the yard on the side yard. However, you can hand me a bunch of random sticks and poles and I will weave you a trellis like nobody’s business.

Of course, I’m not going to claim that the first trellis is necessarily beautiful and perfect…It’s not entirely symmetrical, and there are one or two things I would do differently for the next one. But for a first try, I’d say it’s not too bad. It’ll do the job well and it gave me an opportunity to make use of materials that would otherwise find itself into a lawn refuse bag.

I am looking forward to making two more trellises for the remaining garden bed. They will each span a smaller area, since the other bed will be divided in half, but I’ll still be building it to go around corners. My green beans will go on those ones.

Breaking Ground

Remember how I said we’re starting to plan for this year’s garden? Last Sunday, Robert and I rebuilt one of the garden beds!

Building the original walls in 2013. We brought them out a little further from the wall, after this shot.

Building the original walls in 2013. We brought them out a little further from the wall, after this shot.

We made the original beds back in 2013. (2013!) The stone walls were still holding up – they are stone, after all – but some of the wood we had used was starting to break down. Plus, as I mentioned before, the walls aren’t as high as I’d like them to be.

While Robert got to work sawing up the lumber and screwing the walls together, I cleared the weeds out of the furthest bed. Even though we were going to be turning the beds up anyway, it’s always a good idea to remove as much of the ground cover (and weeds) as possible. That way, you don’t have to worry about the root systems still being there and finding their way to the top when you’ve planted your new garden.

I was originally going to keep the kale that was growing, re-potting it to a container in the front, but closer inspection revealed a TON of little egg pods just waiting to hatch and decimate my poor kale. So it’s curtains for the kale, and I’ll just have to start from scratch.

The original beds measured 4×7 but the wood we had wasn’t long enough to make a

One of the original side walls, made from a repurposed footboard.

One of the original side walls, made from a repurposed footboard.

bed with the same dimensions. I pointed out that I had a hard time tending a 4×7 bed anyway, so a smaller bed wouldn’t be the dream killer he thought it would be. It does mean I need to rethink my garden plan a little, but I’ve found that tends to happen anyway. The smaller beds also meant we didn’t have to change the front of the garden bed footprints, either. We knew we wanted to pull the beds out a little further from the side of the house (I have a sizable rear end, and a foot of space between the garden bed and the wall meant there wasn’t much room too allow for bending over to weed along the back wall). Since the original beds were 4′ wide, and the new beds were 3′, we ended up gaining an extra foot of work space behind the bed without having to move the bed itself.

After weeding the bed, I began the work of pulling up the stone walls. Robert had already pulled out the wooden front wall, which freed up some space to leverage the buried stone out of the ground. Robert brought over the new front wall and we marked where the posts would go. I pulled out an old bulb planter Mom and I had last used over 20 years ago, to plant some daffodils and tulips around the front of the house (that were subsequently eaten by the dang squirrels). The bulb planter is definitely showing its age, and wasn’t really meant to dig holes for garden posts, but it did the job admirably.

The first side wall brought a few challenges with it – we had to get the angle right, we had some trouble getting the two sides to match up, etc. – and I think setting up the first two walls took the longest of any aspect of the project (There was a lot of digging and filling and redigging).

As Robert scrounged in the workroom for more screws, I excavated some of the dirt along the remaining two sides of the original garden bed. Though we weren’t burying the garden walls as deep as the original beds, we still needed to make a bit of a trench for the very bottom to go into. Plus, it gave me a chance to engage in my ongoing battle against the massive root system on the side yard.

[Seriously…I don’t know what half of these roots go to, but they are ridiculous!]

The new bed, sans new dirt.

The new bed, sans new dirt.

Soon, the final walls were up, and Robert and I worked some of the ground around the walls, filling in the trench along the outside of the back wall and leveling the ground. Over the years, much of the dirt in that bed had settled and it was just barely above the level of the surrounding ground. Really, the only thing defining those “raised” beds anymore were the walls. So leveling the ground really only meant scooping about an inch or so of dirt from a space of ground that measured 1’x7′.

We had originally worried about the tremendous amount of dirt we were going to need for the new, taller garden beds. We needn’t have worried. Since most of the dirt from the “leveling” process was tossed back into the new bed, the soil level came up a pretty good amount. Plus, Robert had brought over two bags of dirt/mulch from his house. We smoothed the original garden soil out in the new beds, added the two bags, and reassessed. We still need to add about four of the larger bags of top soil, to bring the beds up to the right level, but that’s not bad, all things considered.

The sun was starting to go down at that point, so we didn’t get a chance to start on the second bed (which will prove to be a little more difficult, as we’ll need to build a staggered bed, to allow for the ground slope), but I felt pretty good about the new bed. The higher walls will keep the grass clippings out of the garden when we mow the side yard, and it should make it a little harder for some of the garden pests to get into the plants. The added height (and reduced width) will make it easier for me to actually garden – no more straining across a wide span, to get to the weeds! – and the deeper soil should be better for the carrots we’ll plant this year.

I am so excited to get started on the final bed, but that will have to wait…image_2

The forecast for this Saturday says “snow.”

Spring In My Step

Confession: this isn't my garden...it's a shot I took back when I worked at Accokeek.

Confession: this isn’t my garden…it’s a shot I took back when I worked at Accokeek.

The weather is – slowly – starting to even out (we only had one swift turn in temperature this week, that I can tell) and the spring blossoms are in full swing…bringing a swath of allergies and illness with them, as always. I have been lucky so far in that I have never seemed to develop the same severe allergies that many of my compatriots in the DC Metro area have.

[We look forward to the cherry blossoms each year, but with them come weeks of listening to the sniffles and congestion of coworkers and friends whose bodies can’t abide the pollen]

have, however, been dealing with a bit of a bug. It started as a sore throat, then moved on to sniffles/runny nose/sneezing and has now lodged itself as a pretty persistent cough. Well, more persistent than I’d like but not nearly as bad as it has been for Mom and Robert.

Despite feeling a bit under the weather (honestly, I’m mostly just really tired) my thoughts have moved to plans for this year’s garden. Our plans last summer were pretty well laid – we had tomato plants, the cucumbers were looking lovely, and I had the most beautiful crop of cabbages I could have hoped for.

And then, of course, The Thing happened last year (no, I’m not talking about the John Carpenter movie), and all of the lovely green growing things were affected. Bugs, heat, neglect…all of them took their toll and much of the garden never really recovered.

The collards are booming! The rosemary is staying where it is, but we'll have to see about the rest.

The collards are booming! The rosemary is staying where it is, but we’ll have to see about the rest.

This year, though, we are starting anew. Well, starting again with some old, first. The collards I planted last year (that were all but decimated by the end of the summer, thanks to some very hungry beetles) survived the winter (including a pretty substantial blizzard) and are thriving in the cooler weather we’ve been having this March. I am still not sure whether they’ll make it to the “official start” of the garden…after all, there are fewer of us in the house to eat them now.

Robert and I are moving forward on making alterations to the existing raised beds. At the moment, they are only raised about four inches off the ground, which doesn’t keep grass out of them when the side yard is mowed. Last weekend, we raided the store of old wood Robert’s dad keeps in his carport, pulling out pieces that can come together to form new walls. We’ll be pulling out the original stone sides (lovely as they are) and replacing the original bed walls we put down several years ago. Depending on how the wood seems to have aged, they might find new life in some of the other plans we have for the backyard, but that remains to be seen.

cucamelons

As we turned our thoughts to the garden, I took stock of the seeds we have for this year’s planting – both new purchases and those saved from last year’s harvests. I am hopeful that this year, finally, I can get some cauliflower to grow. Third time’s the charm, right? We are also focusing on some of the things we know we love and others that keep well. Sugar snap peas are back on the menu (we’ll see how many of them make it inside this year), as are green beans and assorted lettuce. We’ve got kaleidiscope carrots and cosmic purple carrots and turnips and radishes (the first time for turnips and radishes, but not for carrots) and a new form of cucumber that Mom stumbled upon called cucamelons. They look like watermelons but taste like cucumber with a hint of lemon. We’ll see how they work out. My luck has not been great lately, when it comes to cucumbers.

Speaking of lemons, though…I was gifted with a lemon tree this year. I have not yet tried to grow fruit (I don’t count the peach trees that grew on the side of the house when I was a kid, or the wild blackberries that grow in some spots around the backyard), so this will be a bit of an experiment for me. According to the care tag, the tree can stay in a pot, though I believe I will probably transfer it to a larger one soon, just to make sure it has some room. It’s a hardy little tree and can survive in zones that get down to 30 degrees…which means our zone, in the winter, can be just a tad bit too cold. Leaving it indoors is not a possibility. For one, Mom doesn’t care for the smell (it is  a bit fragrant, but I don’t mind). Two, Raven loves plants. He keeps getting up on the mantle to get into the flowers we had up there, and we’ve caught him trying to eat roses out of a vase before. I’d rather not have to fend the cat off from the lemon tree, so it will be spending most of its time outdoors.

Of course, that leaves us with a little problem once the winter sets in.

To solve this problem, Robert and I have decided to build a greenhouse. Not a large one. Just a small one, about potting shed size, which can sit at the back corner of the house, between the window and the downspout on the corner. We’ll be able to start some seeds in there, away from the attention of one little black cat, and house the lemon tree in the winter, when the frost might be a bit much for it.

This would be great, but I don't think this is what we'll end up with.

This would be great, but I don’t think this is what we’ll end up with.

To this end, we’ve started looking over all of the salvaged windows that Robert’s dad also has stored in his carport. I really like the idea of using a lot of found and repurposed objects for the garden. As a result, I’m probably more willing to overlook the “weirdness” of some of the items we pull out for garden use. For instance, I’m okay with wood that isn’t always the same length or width or type, and I have been known to go “Oh, this would be GREAT!” when presented with something that looks a little shabby. (I do draw the line at wood that looks a bit bug-eaten, as I’m trying to introduce as few pests to the garden as possible) Of course, this has meant that Robert has had to deal with my insistence on re-using an old footboard as one of the walls for the previous garden, and my excitement on seeing abandoned tires, as they are supposed to make great “containers” for growing potatoes.

I have yet to convince him to actually stop and load said things into the car for later use, but we have been keeping an eye out for wooden pallets. He made a lovely table out of one last year. It’s currently housing some of last year’s pots, until such time as we are ready to pull the ground cover out of them and plant new items.

[There is also a neat set of shuttered doors stowing away in the top of Robert’s dad’s carport that I am desperately trying to come up with an idea for. Hmm. Seems like Pinterest is in my future.]

Even my kale - going on three years, now - is still growing. Well, most of it. You can see that last year's big plant (to the left) hasn't fared as well.

Even my kale – going on three years, now – is still growing. Well, most of it. You can see that last year’s big plant (to the left) hasn’t fared as well.

Our original plan was to build the new beds on Easter, but it rained. Well, and we fell asleep. But, with some luck, we’ll have the new beds assembled soon and we can start laying down some new dirt and fertilizer for this year’s growth. I still haven’t decided whether I’m going to try to transplant the collards into the re-done beds. I have a problem pulling up things that have their mind set on growth — as evidenced by the fact that, not only has the comfrey plant I got ages ago not been pulled up, despite not really using it for anything, but I’ve allowed its offspring to thrive in the front of the house, as well. Pulling up collards and salad burnet when they are doing so well seems kind of sad.

Last year, our garden plan was…less than planned, shall we say? Much of what I planted came about as a result of my work over at the farm. One of the women interested in volunteering her time happened to work at Merrifield Garden Center and she let us know about some plants that were about to be thrown out.

It is truly remarkable how many plants we ended up picking up last year – many of them were too large to be considered seedlings anymore, and needed to be planted in ground pronto! Others were just an abundance of a less popular plant.  Let’s face it…everyone goes crazy for the tomatoes and peppers, and no one looks at rue and yarrow and tansy and gets as excited. Well, some of us do, but not enough to snatch up all the plants that were on their way to the discard pile.

I figure our "greenhouse" will probably be less actual greenhouse and more potting shed.

I figure our “greenhouse” will probably be less actual greenhouse and more potting shed.

Most of those plants made their way to the gardens over at the park, but there were only so many Brice squash plants and Vietnamese corianders that could be stuffed into the Museum Garden. So I got to bring some home with me. Some of those plants are still growing (the aforementioned collards, as well as a hardy curry plant, some sage, and half of the lavender). This year, I’m making a little more of a plan for the garden ane won’t just adapt to what we might get in a donation.  Since we grew leeks last year (another of those donated crops, and the first time growing that particular veggie), we can’t put anything onion or garlic-related in that spot. So that’s where some of the carrots will go, as well as some beans, all nestled around the rosemary.

Can you tell I’m excited about the garden this season? Because I am.