Sunday, 8 June 2008

Another Big and Little Garden update, and a request...

We've had a nice combination of sun and rain here over the last few days and things are starting to grow like crazy. From the Little Garden and the whiskey barrel planters I've been harvesting kale, spinach, celtuce, lettuce, leaf beats, and oatgrass for the guinea pigs and they are loving it! I've popped a few leaves into my mouth as well while picking stuff for them, and I can taste why they like it so much. It won't be long before things are big enough to make a human-sized salad.

I think I've figured out a reasonable Big Garden watering arrangement now - a sprinkler on a timer with some soaker hoses for around the edges of the garden to make sure the deer-deterring marigolds get water too. Unfortunately, due to our low water pressure, I can't run both the soaker hose and the sprinkler at the same time, but I will be able to deal with that I think.

The picture below is of a flower garden that was supposed to have sprouted daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses this Spring. But when June came and there was only one little green sprig poking out of the dirt, I decided to investigate. What I found were dry bulbs that were doing nothing, and some rotten bulbs that were beyond saving. So I planted the dry bulbs all together in the very front section of the flower bed, and now I have the remainder of the bed to do something else with. I think it could be a decent herb garden, but I am not quite sure what to plant.

I would like some things that flower (maybe echinacea?) but some little bushy plants would be ok too, and some ground cover, like thyme. I would like it to look casual, but not messy, and nothing that would impede the walkway to the front door. Does anyone have any suggestions for what to do with this space?

Wishing everyone a Sunday of contentment!


DC said...

You could plant some things that would attract beneficial insects, butterflies, birds, etc. to your yard. Or you could plant an herb garden -- or a combination of the two.

Some things along these lines in addition to echinacea that should be hardy in your area (zone 3) include:

- yarrow: It has medicinal uses and also helps make the soil more productive by drawing nutrients from its taproots into its leaves. When the foliage falls in autumn, the accumulated nutrients build up in the topsoil.

- wild ginger: can be used for seasoning

- sweet vetch : attracts beneficial insects and fixes nitrogen in the soil

- strawberries: edible berries and leaves, attract beneficial insects and, like yarrow, help build up nutrients in the soil

- spearmint, peppermint : attract beneficial insects and can be made into a tea

- pleurisy root (aka butterfly weed): attracts beneficial insects, has medicinal uses

- other hardy plants that attract beneficial insects: musk mellow, showy milkweed, harebell, milkweed, chicory, trailing bellflower

Thanks for your wishes for Sunday contentment. I wish Sunday contentment for you every day of the week.

Theresa said...

Thanks for these suggestions DC! I had no idea there was such a thing as wild ginger that would be hardy to my area. I definitely want to plant some tea-plants and attracting bees and butterflies is definitely a priority. I have some perennial purple bee balm plants that grow wild in our woodlot - I may transplant a few of those into this bed, come to think of it. Thanks for the well-wishes for contentment - the same to you and all beings. :)