Since we moved to Tennessee two months ago, I’ve started a little container garden on our tiny covered patio. Some of the plants are fairly established now and I’ve been able to harvest plenty of fresh herbs, some lettuce, and a little cilantro so far. :) I really enjoy stepping out onto the patio every morning with Beatrice to water the plants and enjoy our own tiny garden retreat. Here’s a quick tour…
This garden box houses assorted herbs: oregano, lemon thyme, and sage. The lemon thyme is my favorite – it smells delicious and I use it in my cooking all the time. I also read that it can be a mosquito deterrent. The oregano is kind of bossy and tries to take over the container regularly.
This long garden box contains lettuce and kale (once they’re finished I plan to replace them green beans). I’d like to plant some mesclun or arugula but I’m not sure if it’s on the verge of getting a little too hot for lettuces. I’ll probably attempt it anyway. :)
A pot of rosemary. I have high hopes for this rosemary in our new southern climate and keep telling it that I believe it can become a bush one day if it really wants to.
This is the crazy barrel. I threw in everything from okra and nasturtiums to carnations and basil (the basil was an accident, so I wasn’t completely crazy). So far the nasturtiums are doing amazing and everything else seems to be holding it’s own. We’ll see how that turns out.
This potted fig was a birthday gift from Will. :) I think the leaves are beautiful and I can’t wait to see what the fruit looks like.
Here are a few of my most elegant planters, containing basil, carnations, and cilantro. ;) The plants aren’t too picky, and cans and salad bins are great for starting seeds. I have some thyme seedling which I started in eggshells as well, but I didn’t take a photo.
I’ve been doing a little bit of reading over the past few years as we’ve attempted various gardens, and today I thought I’d share a few books that popped out at me.
Vegetable Garden Book Round-Up
The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener
by Nikki Jabbour
★ Favorite Large-Plot Gardening Book ★
I read this book the year we planted our hugely ambitious, massive first garden when we were renting a farmhouse on 5 acres. Although that garden was a weedy jungle by mid-July and an early frost killed everything just when it was at its peak, it did produce some delicious cucumbers, peppers, and eggplants, an alarming number of squash, and several hundred radishes (even our pigs did not want radishes by the time they were done). My point is, however, that this book really inspired me to garden (maybe I was a little too inspired, in fact). :) I read this one almost cover to cover, and loved that it showed you how to grow things in every season – even winter with root crops and cold frames. It also introduced me to the concept of planting crops close together instead of in neat lines, so that the vegetables themselves shade out any weeds and there isn’t room for them to grow. I thought it was a pretty neat concept (efficient too!). Apparently the author has a new book out called Groundbreaking Food Gardens, which I would be interested in reading since her first book was so good.
Grow All You Can Eat in Three Square Feet
by DK Publishing
★ Favorite Small-Space Gardening Book ★
This was another birthday gift from Will, and it’s a really fun book for gardening in a small space. It has lots of ideas for all kinds of growing spaces, from a small yard plot, to raised beds, to container gardening. The book has lots of DIY plans for making your own planters, trellises, and even “saddlebags” that can be thrown over a railing if your gardening space is a patio or balcony. I appreciated the section on rotating plants through your containers as the seasons progress (replacing fast-growing spring plants with summer ones so that you can make the most of the containers you have), and of course there’s lots of suggestions for what plants thrive most in the conditions you have to offer. Lots of fun, with plenty of pictures and illustrations.
The Speedy Vegetable Garden
by Mark Diacono and Lia Leendertz
☆ Another Good Small-Space Gardening Resource ☆
I picked up this book from the library just a few weeks ago and have been enjoying flipping through it. From sprouts to microgreens to full-grown veggies, this book covers how to grow crops that can be harvested quickly, and includes lots of photos and recipes. Most of the plants can be grown in containers, which is helpful to me since I’m growing herbs and greens on our patio, and I like that the focus of the book is growing small, quick harvests rather than a massive garden master-plan (that would be fun one day, but isn’t possible at present).
The New Self-Sufficient Gardener
by John Seymour
★ Favorite Gardening Reference Book ★
This attractive green book is packed with information and is published by DK as well. It doesn’t have any photos but the illustrations are plentiful and beautiful. Whenever I have a question about a particular plant, the answer is usually in this book. It covers vegetables, fruits, composting, preserving, and even some animals you might keep in the gardens like chickens, ducks, and bees. The author lived on a 70-acre farm in Wales and somehow as you read it you get the idea of an old English farmer having wrote it. ;) He also wrote The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It which is one of Will’s favorite books of all time, and has more of a whole farmstead focus.
The Edible Garden
by Sunset Books
☆ Another Great Gardening Reference Book ☆
If you prefer photos, this book is also a great reference book. It’s not big, but it covers plenty of herbs, fruits, and vegetables, as well as garden design and planting techniques. I also like that the book has divisions by season that cover what you might be up to in the garden at any given time of year. I flip through this one often.
Grow Cook Eat
by Willi Galloway
★ Favorite Gardening Book for Cooking ★
This is a beautiful book. It’s fun to look through for that fact alone. I enjoy this book because the focus is on eating the food you grow.
For each vegetable or herb, the book goes through planting, growing, harvesting, storing, cooking ideas, suggested varieties, and ends with a recipe. I use this book as both a gardening reference and a cookbook during the summer. :)
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Did any of you plant a garden this year? What’s the one fruit, vegetable, or flower (or all three) that you most enjoy growing? Do you have a favorite gardening book? I’d love to hear your suggestions! :)