Holy Herbage!

I’ve been feeling guilty about my garden lately. I shouldn’t. It was meant to be an enjoyable project to help us eat “locally” (how much more local can you GET?!) and a little cheaper. We learned a lot about gardening this year — like what products go gang-busters in our well-lit little yard and what we actually WANT to grow. I’m excited to plant FEWER tomatoes on their own, in planters, next year. In case you didn’t know, I’m NOT a tomato person, so we’ve been giving lots away. The space that we used as a garden this year will inevitably house more herbs and veggies that we’ll actually eat and use (and possibly more space and plantings for different seasonal items), while a separate crate for potatoes will *hopefully* avoid the blight, proving my true Irish heritage. 😉

So, why all the guilt? The frost. I knew it had hit, and I diligently turned my eyes away from the garden, presuming all we had lovingly planted and plucked to be dead — and how sad is that to see wilted plants? But, to my surprise, when I finally bit the bullet and flip-flopped back to the leaf-ridden garden box, what did I see? HOLY PARSLEY AND ROSEMARY, BATMAN!

*OUR* herbs in a huge pot. The house is permeated with the smell.

(Anyone got some sage or thyme on hand? We could sing some Simon and Garfunkel. BTW, those are on the docket for next year’s garden.)

I’ve got an idea for the rosemary right now, aside from freezing some and handing a bit over to some deserving folks…but you’ll have to wait to see what my rosemary plan is.

Is anyone else as excited about autumn as I am? And not just because it’s my “marryin’ season”??

“V” Stands for Victory Garden :-)

This week, the Young Actors Workshop (at ILTC — if you don’t know what that stands for, read this or check out this site…er, please) had its culminating performance(s) for friends and family, so I was a little blog-distracted. Now, I’m waiting a few days to announce some HUUUUGE news (for us, anyway) which is currently being released on a semi-need-to-know basis — at least, ’til my mom finds out. No, we’re not pregnant.

So, while patiently (not) waiting to say the stagnant news, I thought, “Hmm, I should blog about something. But, what?” Then, I looked over my recent entries and smacked myself in the forehead. Dave and I planted our herb/veggie garden last weekend and I hadn’t posted it. D’oh! *smack*
Buuuut, there are pics, so it MUST be forgivable, right? RIGHT?!

Anyhoo, I’m calling it our victory garden because a) I secretly live in the 1940s and occasionally ration myself and b) our neighbor seemed strangely confident that our attempts at gardening would be battled by seed-stealing birds and rodents, among other things (apparently she hasn’t had much luck in the past). So, yeah, part of the name comes from petty “ha-ha, I-told-you-so” thinking. Something wrong with that? Heh.

While we did have to dig a bit, we had decided to take my parents’ advice and just create a frame with 2x4s to contain the garden. Dave did a great job of putting it together.

Yeah, we got overzealous on the whole digging thing. Working on getting that grass back. ANYhoo…here’s a close-up of our oh-so-professional construction technique. We bought three 2x4s at Lowe’s (under $10) and had the friendly fellows in the lumber department cut one in half — for free, might I add — which would create two short ends for the box. Genius! But, we can’t take all the credit; Jerry suggested it.

Here I am in the oh-so-sexy work jeans leveling out the dirt. Yeah, enough of that. Next picture! Oh, wait. After I did that, I filled in s’more with topsoil.

Now, it’s time for the eco-friendly plug! We had originally bought (for 2x the price) some good ol’ regular weed-preventing landscape fabric, but the NEXT DAY found this. It’s the same quality, made from recycled plastic bottles and works just as well. Oh, and it was around $8, a bit cheaper.

Good stuff. So, we laid down enough to cover the bottom of the garden bed (overlapping in the middle). We poured the dirt in, then trimmed the edges down. (Found wayward garden tools to keep the fabric from blowing away on that delightfully breezy day.)

Check out that stud doing his best to keep things in place. Lookin’ good, buddy!

Close-up of my kindergarten-level cutting ability.

Oh, yeah. This is the stuff we used. I believe we used one of the fertilizer (COW POOP! Hee hee) and 9, count ’em, 9 of the Organic Choice garden soil. Good stuff.

Now, it’s time to PLANT! Oh, wait. I forgot. This part of the project, we finished the prior week. So, at this point, we actually…um…rested.

Fast-forward to LAST weekend! (Wow. How much of a procrastinator am I that it took me 3 weeks to plant and post the story? In my defense, we still had a frost possibility for awhile there, so nyah.) We went to two local stores to find our produce: T&J’s (which also contains a yummy local grocery store) and Massaro’s (our wedding florists — we may just be lifers), and split it up pretty evenly at the two places.


Mwahaha. Had to include this. I foresee some verbal harassment in my near future. Eh, worth it.

So, here are our lovelies awaiting their new places in the world on that fateful morning. Well, I know I was pretty excited about it, not sure what they thought. We had the following (and, gotta tell ya, I was worried we might’ve gone overboard for the space we were allotting ourselves): tomatoes (ick…but I’ll cook with ’em), peppers, onions, Romaine, mescalin mix, red lettuce (can you see we’re salad fans?), hot peppers for the outskirts (we hear they keep pesky bugs and cats away), and my herbs: thyme, parsley, and *adoring siiiigh* basil. Here are their “before” beauty shots.

“All right, Mr. DeMille. I’m ready for my close-up.”

After posing for awhile, we played with their placement while still in their containers. Then, one at a time, I showed Dave how to get his hands dirty. It was fun and relatively easy, although I’m still wondering, “are they too close? Will Mom approve? Will my neighbor try to sabotage their success?” (Naw, just kidding.) Here’s the final placement:

I’ve got some more close-up shots, but I won’t bother you with them here. I figure I’ll give it a month or so and compare them. Leave something to the imagination. 😉

So far, we had SWELTERING heat and BLAZING sunshine during these little guys’ first week, and they seem okay. The lettuces (particularly the two weaker) wilted, but would come back early in the morning — and seem much stronger now. I’ve already stolen some of the basil for an orzo recipe. I know, I know, but I couldn’t help myself! 😀 I’ll let you know how it all goes. I’m also planning on planting some strawberries for a container garden, and perhaps a lemon tree in one of our backyard’s “monstrous tree bush from the black lagoon used to be there” gaping holes (I’m just wondering how well it could POSSIBLY do since we don’t live in a Mediterranean environment…hmm).

I just can’t help myself. I LOVE BASIL!!!