Operation Garden

by in View All Posts, March 25th, 2009

It’s that time of year and I cannot help being excited to get outside and play in the dirt!  Last year I was a little too ambitious and started my garden way too early, alas, it taught me patience, and I’m applying that lesson now. 

I’ve started my seedlings at home on my porch and am growing oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, pumpkins, heirloom tomatoes, squash, and garden beans!  I can happily report that they are growing strong and will hopefully be fruitful.  I’m also sharing a piece of my small yard with my good friends so that they can cultivate the earth as well.  It’s a wonderful excuse to have friends over for harvesting parties and BBQ’s!

I’ve also tried to plant some herbs here at my FN desk… as of now I still have 2 big pots of dirt.  Perhaps I’ll give it another try next week.  It would be a shame to go all summer infront of this window without anything green to stare back at me.

What are you planting this year?


Kendra, Operation Foodie

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Comments (8)

  1. Lana says:

    Hi Kendra, now you’re talkin’ my language! I have a 500 sq. ft. garden plot. Still way too early in this part of the country too – snow still on the ground. I usually plant on Mother’s Day, and even that’s pushing it. But now is a good time to start planning.

    Also a good time to get that compost pile (sitting rather stagnant and frozen all winter) turned, watered and aerated so it can start cookin’ and breakin’ down. I did that three days ago, and I see it’s steaming today in the 34-degree air. Pretty awesome how that all works, huh!

  2. Operation Foodie says:

    Lana – can you share any composting tips? I know a few people here in the city that are working with worm bins. I’m a little old school and still just throw my veggie & fruit scraps in a hole in the backyard and toss it with dirt. I would love to see some photos of your garden when it gets up and going! Cheers – K

  3. Robin Koury says:

    This is the first year that I plan to grow my own herbs. Partially because I want to become more involved in the process and partially because fresh herbs are expensive! Thankfully, my family owns a farm so I can call upon them for advice. Since I don’t have a lot of space I plan to start small with basil, thyme, parsley, mint, cilantro, and rosemary. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll have a great season! Keep us up to date on your garden and please share any tips you have. Personally, I can use all the help I can get!!

  4. Lana says:

    Kendra, there is a lot to say about composting! Here’s just the tip of the ice burg (lettuce)…

    Why Compost?
    *reduce land fills by 20%.
    *create valuable soil-building nutrients and organic compounds for your garden and household plants.
    *make “compost tea” for household and hanging plants.

    If you have little space for composting
    *use a composting bin or tumbler that holds the material in a compact area.
    *minimize composting time and space by turning the material frequently.
    *worm composting works best if you have many food scraps but few yard trimmings.

    Compost materials should be moist but not dripping wet. The squeeze test: take a handful of your compost. If water drips from your open hand, it’s too wet. If you squeeze and no water drips out, it’s too dry.

    Keep the smell down by ensuring your compost has air flow in and around it. Aerobic decomposition does not smell. Anaerobic decomp does. Turn frequently (daily if possible).

    Compost needs a balance of carbon-rich (brown) and nitrogen-rich (green) materials. Green materials degrade quickly, browns less so. Consider shredding the browns to 1/4 to 2 inch pieces.

    A mix of 2 to 3 parts brown to 1 part green is a good proportion. Examples of browns are dried leaves, straw, corn stalks and woody materials like paper, sawdust or shavings. Examples of greens are grass clippings, kitchen scraps, horse, cattle or chicken manure.

    Keep carnivore’s manure (cats, dogs, etc) OUT of your compost.

    Internal temperature of your compost should be in the 120 to 160 degree range. Temperatures over 140 degrees kill pathogens and weed seeds.

    Methods of composting include the Pile or Heap Method, composting bins (either purchased or homemade) or tumblers. I use the pile method and I also have a homemade composting bin. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, right?!?

    Source: University of Idaho Dept of Agriculture, County Extension Agent, Master Gardener.

    I’d be happy to guest blog if you like, and share photos not only of my garden, but the gardens of other Master Gardeners too. :-)

  5. Wisconsin Mom says:

    It’s a little too early to begin planting here, but I have plans. I figure with this economy, a garden is a necessity.

    Since I walk with a cane and have difficulty walking on uneven ground (I have MS), I plan to move the garden onto our deck. I have mapped out a 6′ x 6′ raised plat garden. I am focusing on vegetables/herbs I can freeze or dry for use during the winter months: tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, eggplant, broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, fennel, peas, leeks, spinach, greens, carrots, radishes, and scallions. Mixed into the garden and in assorted tubs, I’ll be raising garlic, mustard, sage, thyme, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, chives, oregano, basil, and marjoram. My seeds arrived this week and I’ve got two large egg trays waiting for potting soil so I can start everything but the root vegetables and tomatoes (I buy the tomato plants, they are just hardier). My plan is to start a second set of plants in a month so I can space out the production.

    Fortunately, we also have a significant number of raspberry bushes and strawberry plants in hanging pots that are great for freezing.

    While this sounds ambitious, I have a small family so we are not growing a lot of everything, only a few plants of each. Otherwise, I’d be selling produce in a roadside stand!

    We do, however, plan to swap some with neighbors who are more into other vegetables and fruits.

  6. Gary R says:

    You can feed a family fresh veggies all summer with just a few square feet of properly prepared soil. Run down to your local book seller or online and get a copy of Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. Success is guaranteed!

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