Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Come and walk with me to my garden....

Let me tell you about my garden....I will try to give you a picture since I haven't figured out how to post pictures here.

My garden is between the little workshop and the barn - almost directly across from the front yard. We pass it all the time which keeps its' needs in the front of our mind. The old saying "out of sight, out of mind" is definitely true! Part of my garden is fenced. Many people think this is to keep animals out.... oh no! was to keep my youngest son in after he learned to walk! The garden was his outside playpen! I could work on the garden knowing that he was safe!

As we face the garden, the front of it is lined with medicinal herbs. As we walk through the wooden gate, we are facing 20 raised beds that are each about 3.5 feet wide and 33 feet long. There is a wide row running down the middle front to back and another side to side - enough for a wheelbarrow and 2 people to work side by side. There is a large space at the back of the garden for melons or other sprawling crops, eventually we will put another 10 raised beds back there, 33 feet long, 5 on each side of the aisle. Behind the garden and through the back gate is a small unheated greenhouse where we raise everything ourselves from seed.

Beyond the greenhouse is a very large field where we raise our corn, potatoes and other large crops. It is fairly level with a slight slope off the western side...the future site of blueberries! We hope to place 2 high tunnels close to the greenhouse in the near future.

In the raised beds we grow our summer squash, lettuces (42 kinds!), carrots, onions, pole beans, dried beans, tomatoes, peppers, hot peppers, tomatillas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, corn salad, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower etc. Interspersed with our veggies are flowers and annual herbs such as a variety of basils, several types of parsley, cumin, caraway, fennel and others.

There are 3 faucets in the garden to feed our drip tape, front, back and middle. They run from our well. Herbs also wrap down both sides of the garden - one side all the way to the back and one side half way. I will be adding more each year until the herbs completely surround the garden!

There are several purposes for placing the herbs around the garden. Many herbs are in the Umbelliferae family. These plants produce umbrella-shaped flower clusters, like the dill heads you use in pickling. Other members of the family, including parsley, cilantro, and celery, have the same flower form. This means that they provide food and habitat for a host of good bugs. We always let a portion of these herbs go to seed so that our ladybugs, green lacewings, parasitic wasps etc. have some place to live and something to eat. I recommend you have a good bug identification guide. Learn what the good bugs look like at all stages of their growth. If you weren't familiar with ladybug larvae or pupa, you might be inclined to squash them!

We also keep them in view so that we can remember to harvest for our medicinal needs all season long. We use them fresh during the summer but we also gather and dry them for use during the winter months. Seeing them everyday also keeps us more dilligent in weeding the herb beds.

Herbs are very easy to grow. They have almost no disease problems and, because of their volatile oil content, they have very few pest problems. Many herbs are perennial - they come back year after year. Some will reseed themselves and come back up in the spring such as dill and cilantro. Some are annuals, such as calendula.

We use herbs (in different forms) for cooking, medicine, cleaning, as pest repellents both for us and the animals, for our soaps, medicinal salves, lip balms, shampoo bars, to flavor our cheeses, for teas and more!

Next time lets talk about how to start an herb garden and the different forms of herbs and their uses.



  1. Awesome post as usual. We moved our garden from behind the chicken house to along side the house. It really helped keep the weeds down. Plus I didn't want custumers to see the nasty mess. My dill reseeded with in this year. I was surprised I have much to learn about how to use all of them, but am excited to get my foot in the door. My children love to eat garlic chives by the fist full. What healing properties does it have. They seem to crave it. How's that baby colby coming along? I am anxious to hear how it tastes. Also, I asked Brian about cleaning the milkers and stuff. He cleans but doesn't sterilize. Quick cleaning prevents us from having to use harsh chemicals. Tepid water washes prevent the milk stone. HTH

  2. I am not sure about the medicinal value of garlic chives...I'll have to look it up...maybe they just love the flavor of garlic! If I discover something, I'll email you and let you know! Thanks for the info on the washing!

  3. Hi Tn farm girl. I am enjoying your blog-I also enjoy herbs and their culinary usage. I have not gotten into the medicinal use of herbs but am starting to learn a little about them. I preserve my own herbs and make all types of herbal vinegars for cooking and to share with others. I started a new site called Garden Queen. I am located in Zone 4 so our times for gardening are different but the end results the same. I am a Master Gardener and also a Master Conservationist and continue to take as many organic horticulture classes as I find available in our area. I also recently purchased a food dehydrator so it should be fun putting aside some of apples and other fruits in our area.

  4. G.Q.. I love herbal vinegars! They are so fun and easy and make such great gifts! I use a dehydrator all summer (not for my herbs though) and it is wonderful. You might try some veggies as well as fruit. We do onion, squash, zuchinni, all sort of peppers, sliced and whole....have fun!


Related Posts with Thumbnails