My very first backyard garden originated from a desire to eat locally, to self-sustain in some small way. Growing primarily herbs and a few tomato plants, I discovered a love for gardening; few activities left me as centered as digging my hands into the dirt or plucking leaves I knew I would cook with later. Last year’s garden saw the addition of a lettuce bed, which really flourished throughout the spring and well into the summer. I loved taking salads made with backyard lettuce to work for lunch, especially if I could also include some ripe homegrown tomatoes.
This year, for my third garden, I’ve followed last year’s layout—lettuce in the shady bed, herbs in the sunnier planter. But I did move all of my veggies to the side of the house, since it gets much more sun than the backyard. And we have lots more variety in our herbs and veggies this year! To help me grow them successfully, I plan to resume my “Growing My Green Thumb” posts (so far I’ve learned about purple basil, Italian parsley, thyme, and lavender) throughout the spring and summer. But until then, here’s an introductory photo tour of what I’m calling Garden 3.0:
First up, lettuce. Last year’s garden had three kinds, but this year I branched out a little since we were able to find more of a selection. Those tiny shoots on the right-hand side had sprouted up from last year, but it’s too early to tell exactly what type of lettuce they are. Next to them we planted colorful kale, which I’m really excited about, followed by what was simply labeled a “market blend.” Beyond that are red-leaf, buttercrunch, and iceberg varieties that should work well in many different recipes.
In the herb garden, I planted purple basil, Thai basil (though these plants already seem to be wilting for some reason), two types of lavender (one of which grew back from last year), German thyme, straight and curly parsley, chives, garlic chives, dill, cilantro, mint, and chamomile. And I didn’t forget this blog’s namesake: pineapple sage!
As for veggies, we have a bunch of tomato plants (I even found two different types of heirloom tomatoes this year), as well as red, green, and orange peppers—and some jalapeños we bought by accident. There’s traditional eggplant and Japanese eggplant, leeks, cabbage, baby broccoli, Swiss chard, cauliflower, and squash. Todd really wanted to try growing onions, and I picked out little corn stalks. I don’t have much hope for either the onions or the corn, but I’ll stay positive and see what happens.
Last but not least, I bought a raspberry bush—well, right now it’s more like a stalk with one little bud growing from it. I didn’t realize until later that it can take up to two years to grow and produce fruit, but I’m still excited. Now I’ll have something to look forward to even after summer ends!