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April 25, 2008

Garden Update...Spring Has Sprung!

Let's talk a little gardening this morning shall we?

Apples in the Making

Spring is finally here! (Even though it's supposed to get cooler this weekend again. Hhmmph!) And despite my spring allergies, which seem to get worse every year (what's up with that?), we are in high gear getting the garden ready!

Most of the seeds I planted have sprouted. The only thing that didn't fully sprout were the marigolds, but that's ok. I probably over planted those anyway, though I may add some more along the way! I actually ended up buying a few herb plants yesterday and as you can see above the apple trees are just covered in blooms so it appears we will have a bumper crop of those as well!

Now let's take a look at some of the seedlings. First up lets look at the little tomato plants:

Tomatoes and Stuff

I think only one of the seeds didn't sprout, maybe two. I also have removed one of the plants for a Yellow Pear Cherry tomato and planted it in a pot on the front porch for Alexis. The plants on the other side are the tray with the pumpkins and watermelon and such.

Next up are herbs and flowers:

Herbs and Stuff

These plants are still small (and why I bought some actual plants to get things started...I'm impatient what can I say?), but they are doing just fine and will go directly into the garden soon.

The sunflowers are sort of falling over as they grew too fast, but here is a shot of the marigolds:


I use the marigolds for both pest control and let's face it they are pretty too! We'll be direct planting a few more sunflowers as well. I'm going to try and salvage the seedlings too.

Now let's look at the pea box on the front porch:


Peas do wonderfully in a window box type container. They end up cascading over the sides and Alexis loves to munch them right off the vine!

We also planted spinach in a window box type container:


As you can see the spinach is still in the sprouting stage, but it grows pretty quickly so it should be busting out any day now.

I also planted an herb box:

Herb Box

I planted Italian Flat leaf parsley, rosemary, English thyme, spearmint, dill and rosemary. I usually plant several window boxes and hanging pots with herbs each year and place them on the front porch so I can go out and snip what I need as I cook. I've got two hanging pots planted with herbs, but so far they chives are the only things that have sprouted there so far.

Let's take a closer look at the herbs. First up spearmint!

Herb Box Spearmint

I LOVE spearmint! I don't really cook with it, but I love the smell and the taste is fabulous too! Alexis likes to munch the leaves right off the plant for a little snack, but then again she does that with all of my herbs! I can't think of a single one of the herbs I grow that she doesn't nibble on.

Next we have English thyme:

Herb Box English Thyme

Usually I don't have to buy sage, thyme or rosemary because it comes back in my boxes, but my main herb box was blown off the porch in high wind over the winter and it obliterated the herbs inside so I had to start over from scratch. Thyme is one of my all time favorite herbs! I actually like fresh thyme better than dried, even though I do use dried thyme too, but when it's fresh there is just no comparison!

Ah rosemary...

Herb Box Rosemary

Rosemary is probably my all time favorite herb! I've often joked that if I could figure out a way to chocolate coat rosemary then I'd be in heaven. (Though it might not be too bad...Perhaps I should experiment a bit! A friend of mine tried chocolate covered blue cheese truffles and says they are to die for so who am I to question? ;o)) I love the smell of rosemary, it's just heavenly and much like thyme I prefer it fresh, though I do use it dried as well. If you plant rosemary in the ground it become a shrub and a great smelling shrub at that!

Next up we have Italian flat leaf parsley:

Herb Box Flat Leaf Parsley

Parsley is a vastly under estimated plant. Some people simply turn their nose up at parsley, but it really has such a wonderful fresh and clean flavor! It's not just a garish people! Try some parsley in a salad or even on a sandwich along with, or in place of, lettuce! You'll be amazed at how it makes things pop!

And last but not least dill...

Herb Box Dill

Dill is another all time favorite of mine and I like it fresh and dried. In fact I like it so much I'd have to say it comes in a close second to rosemary in my book. This year I'm hoping to have enough dill and cucumbers to make some pickles. The garden should be big enough so fingers crossed!

And speaking of gardens...Last night Jamison started digging! One of the gentleman at work mentioned that this area has a lot of rocks and such and you'd likely tear up a tiller. So far we have only unearthed one rock and it wasn't that big at that, so I think we are going to try and rent a tiller this weekend to finish the job. Once it's done I'll show you the plot, but for now I'm very happy to report that the soil is rich, brown and with every shovel full a bunch of earthworms are showing up!

The Garden is Full of Them

And my precious little girly girl, who obviously has a little tom boy in her too, had a ball playing with worms! She is so my child!

So who's planting this year? How is your garden coming along? Isn't it fun to play in the dirt?!!?!?

So overall I'm very pleased! I'll be updating again soon. Tomorrow we're off to a local farm festival where Alexis is beside herself with joy because she will get to pet a cow! I may post a few pictures from that little sojourn as there are supposed to be many yummy things to sample. Also be sure and check back on Sunday for the April Daring Bakers reveal! It's a really good one even if mine didn't turn out quite as I expected...

Have a great weekend everyone!

Posted by Dianne at April 25, 2008 8:16 AM

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I wish that was my yard and window box. Very inspiring.

Posted by: Karen at April 25, 2008 3:54 PM

I have all those herbs in my garden along with sage, lavender, and basil. We have far to much parsley usually but parlsey and dill are the favorite plants for southeastern black swallotail butterflies. They start as black caterpillars and turn green (or black) with yellow and white stripes as they grow. If your plants are outside you should keep an eye out for them :)

Good luck with the garden!

Posted by: Just_Me at April 25, 2008 4:32 PM

Thanks Karen!

I'm more worried about the groundhog that lives down near the creek and the bunny that hops around the yard, along with the miscellaneous deer running through. I usually don't have much of a problem with bugs and such. I have a wonderful homemade garlic/cayenne pepper mixture I spray in the garden and the bugs don't like it at all. I'll keep an eye out for caterpillars though. I'm not sure we have that type of butterflies in MD, but we do have 150 or so species in the state.

Posted by: Dianne at April 25, 2008 6:38 PM

We cut down our front hedge last year, and I'm planting rosemary in its place. I am so excited about it.

Your plants look wonderful!

Posted by: Allie at May 2, 2008 3:08 PM

Rosemary makes a great hedge and it smells fabulous! Plus you can just run out and snip off of it when you're cooking too. :o)

Posted by: Dianne at May 2, 2008 7:26 PM

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