After 6 years of living in apartments, it’s been so nice to have our own house. The transition to being homeowners has been pretty easy, but it also comes with new experiences – like gardening! Neither of us had any prior gardening knowledge, so it’s been a lot of fun experimenting and learning as we go along.
Romaine Lettuce & Broccoli
Our romaine lettuce started out well. We had 5 lettuce plants and we were able to make a handful of salads with them… until the slugs got to them. We used Diatomaceous Earth to ward off the slugs, but we didn’t know it needs to be replenished each time it rained. At least we’ll know that next time!
The broccoli just didn’t work out. We planted 5 broccoli plants and we weren’t able to harvest any of them. They started to form little heads of broccoli, but warm weather made them bolt.
Parsley & Chives
Our parsley and chives have been a great success. They’re super easy to care for and although we use them frequently, they grow back faster than we can use them!
The picture above shows half of our parsley and chive plants in a pot next to our pot of lemon balm. We had to move the lemon balm to a pot because it was getting out of control in the raised bed.
Basil & Cilantro
We planted 2 basil plants, one in a pot and the other in the raised bed. The basil in the raised bed grew really well and was super happy, while the basil in the pot stayed relatively small and wasn’t as happy. We’ve used the basil in all sorts of things from pasta to soup, but most especially homemade pizzas and pizza sauce. We’ll definitely plant basil again next year, but probably only in the raised bed this time.
Our cilantro didn’t really work out. We planted the seeds in a wide, shallow container as per some instructions I found online. It seemed to be doing well at first, but my guess is that it got too crowded. I tried to take out some of the seedlings and a few of them survived after that, but not enough to really make use of. Maybe we’ll try again next year.
The picture above shows one of the basil plants back when it was still really small (I don’t have a picture of it at its full height) and the sprouting cilantro. One of our parsley plants is on the right.
Rosemary & Tarragon
We didn’t really have a plan for the rosemary; we just planted it to see how it did. It grew, but then it started turning brownish. Not enough sun? Too much water? I’m not sure what its problem was.
The tarragon hasn’t grown a lot, but at least it’s staying green lol. Neither of us were familiar with tarragon, so we wanted to see what it was like. I found a recipe for Chicken in Tarragon Sauce, which we’ve made a handful of times already using the tarragon from our garden.
In the picture above, the tarragon is in the back on the right (behind the basil) and the rosemary is in a pot on the right. The picture was taken shortly after they were planted.
Nick and I had intended on experimenting with strawberries when someone at the nursery suggested raspberries instead. They had a brand new thornless dwarf raspberry plant that had just arrived that is ideal for growing in a pot outside. Seriously?!? I got so excited and came home with one. It has grown a lot since then (we had to move it into a larger pot), but there are little holes in some of the leaves that I need to investigate. It hasn’t produced much more than a handful of berries so far, but they’ve been delicious and I hope it produces better next year. It’s still working on a few last minute groups of berries and I ate one of them today. 🙂
The two pictures of the raspberry plant above were taken just under a month apart and it’s grown even more since the latter picture was taken. The third picture shows some of the berries turning red.
Thai Chili Peppers
On a whim, Nick bought a Thai chili plant in June. It started out as just a tiny little thing, but it’s grown into one of our most successful plants of the year. There are over a hundred peppers on it and they just started turning red. I have no idea what we’re going to do with all the peppers, but Nick said he wants to make a ristra. Anybody want any hot chili peppers? 😛
Our pickling cucumber plant was another of Nick’s experiments. It started out so small and we had no idea it would try to take over the raised bed, but that’s exactly what it did! We ended up taking out our sage plant (left from the previous owners) to make room for it. Next year, we’ll plan a little better. 😉
Nick made and canned pickle chips and spears with the cucumbers, which was our first time canning. The problem with making pickles is that it takes time for the cucumbers to pickle, so you can’t taste them for a few weeks. He added garlic to the first few jars, but the garlic flavor ended up being too strong (they taste great on hamburgers, though!). We’ll definitely give it another try next year and see if we can perfect the recipe.