Friday, May 22, 2015

Making the Most of Your Garden

This spring and summer, I've been working hard to make the most of our garden space.  We've added more garden space, but also improved the space we have to make better use of it.  We're also working to do some smaller projects to boost how we use the space and beautify things.

We've added some more garden space out front simply by clearing out some weeds and filling in low spots with some dirt.  This will be an ornamental space that we'll keep low maintenance by mulching it well with newspaper or cardboard, and then free mulch from the landfill.  We'll transplant some forsythia bushes that have multiplied in the back, and fill in the space with some transplanted ground cover to crowd out weeds.  This will really finish off the front and make it a little more maintenance free because it won't have to be mowed in the summer.

Another small garden space was added where we put in the stone patio under our deck.  This space is along the foundation, but is fairly narrow, so I'm going to try to fill it in with perennial herbs and some ornamentals, like hostas, blazing star, sage, and bronze fennel.  I'm trying to go for a variety of leaf texture in this bed, and I think this mix will all be really pretty together and will give flowers throughout the season.  I still need to add some newspaper mulch, compost, and free mulch from the landfill to this bed, but I think it will look really good when it's done.  We plan to get a little creative with this bed and edge it with recycled wine bottles, which will require a small trench being dug and then inverting the bottles in the trench.

In trying to make the most of our existing space, we've started a lot of herb seeds in places this year.  I started cilantro from seed in the garden, and it's just started producing.  We also planted garlic in the fall, which we're looking forward to harvesting next month.  Some raspberries were transplanted to a raised bed, and we allowed some wild blackberries to flower in some unused spaces this year.  I'm also working harder to harvest our perennial herbs, mostly sage, mint, chives, and lemon balm, throughout the season, so that we can dry and freeze them for use throughout the year.  I also experimented with making dandelion tea this spring, and found I really liked it (and it's really high in vitamin K, which is good for eye health, and has many anticancer properties).

We worked last weekend to add a step barrier to the end of our gravel and stone path to help keep the gravel from invading the yard.  This was made with some bits of leftover railroad ties we had from building the retaining wall a few years ago.  We also used some found rocks to edge out the bottom of our central flower bed, which looks really nice now.  Next week, we plan to visit a friend's garden, where she regularly splits perennials to share with us.  And it's always such fun to see her gardens, and we're looking to little man's first trip out there.  And we plan to finally get our rain barrel installed this year so that we can really use it, instead of watering things with potable water.

I'm also looking forward to painting our exterior doors this summer.  It's a small project, but I think it will really make our house pop, and will bring together the flowers we have in the planters along the entryway.  I'm also thinking about putting some bulbs in our larger containers in the fall so they'll be ready to bloom in the spring.

I'd love to hear what you're doing in your garden!

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