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2014 Gardening Report #1

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Gardening season has officially started!

I live in USDA zone 8a. The first safe-from-frost gardening day for zone 8a is March 15th, so I got right to work on Saturday, determined not to lose a day of growing before the crazy hot summer arrives (and some of my plants bolt).

Before I launch too much into gardening talk I need to express why I think gardening is so great for anyone who loves food. Growing your own food will change how you cook! Having a plethora of fresh herbs around for months on end gives you the opportunity to be creative with flavors. If you struggle with eating enough vegetables try growing some – I bet you will be much more interested in eating your home grown produce! Obviously, these aren’t the only reasons that foodies should love gardening, just some of the ways gardening has benefited me. Now, onto the plant talk!

Most of our garden is a container garden. We rent, so we don’t have free reign to dig and plant anywhere in the yard. Also, the soil here is absolutely horrible. In fact, it is not soil, it is sand! I made most of my self-watering containers last year and they were great. The self watering containers are basically two buckets, stacked one on top of the other. The bottom bucket becomes a little water reservoir for the plant growing in the top bucket.  You just stick the hose in the little opening at the bottom and let the water fill up! This system works great on hot, sunny days.


If you’re interested in a tutorial on how to make these self watering containers let me know! I can put one together the next time I make one!

I labeled all of my buckets this year so I would know what was growing in them! For the most part, as soon as the seed sprouts I can recognize the plant, but it’s always good to be organized.


Of course, I have some traditional pots, too. I’ve found that herbs like traditional pots better, and vegetables do much better in the self watering pots. Traditional pots don’t always have to be store store bought and fancy. We found this bit plastic tub on the side of the road. Now it’s home to a few kale and spinach plants.


Here’s my cilantro, which conveniently reseeded itself from last year!


This is a cactus plant (one of 4) Steve got me for our anniversary. Long story, but I wanted a cactus. Does anyone know what kind it is? It kind of got frozen and snowed and frosted on so it’s not doing as well as it had been before.

Mystery Cactus

Total for my container garden is 10 large self watering containers:

  • 2 green bean
  • 2 sugar snap pea
  • 2 zucchini
  • 2 cucumber
  • 1 min bell pepper
  • 1 tomato

There are 7 herb plants in traditional containers:

  • rosemary
  • Thai basil
  • genovese basil
  • cilantro
  • spearmint
  • oregano
  • dill

The in ground garden is a bit more chaotic. The soil is just so sandy, so we’ve been composting. Steve turned a bunch of leaves into the soil to help with the composting effort (we also turned leaves into the containers, as you probably noticed in the pictures). Turning leaves in is hard work (like whoa hard) so it’s not totally done. I did plant tomatillos right away in a cleared spot (yummmmm, green salsa!) because they took a long time to produce last year, and I wanted better results this time around.

Long Garden

My parsley, and a small patch of oregano, from last year are still doing well. I’ve actually been using that parsley all winter.


These interesting plants keep coming up in the planting bed. Does anyone know what they are?


Once we’ve finished turning in leaves and the whole garden area is ready I’ll be able to plant more vegetables! I had a few types of peppers do well in the sandy soil last year, so I’ll stick to those types of plants again. Plus some broccoli and cauliflower, since they will have more space on the ground than in a bucket container!

Now that almost everything is planted it’s just a waiting game. It’s so exciting to see the little green seedlings start to peek up out of the soil! In a month or two, I’ll share again about how my gardening is going and how I’m using all of the produce!

Happy Gardening to all of my fellow gardeners out there!


About Kristin

I have always loved to cook, and have been eating and cooking gluten free since 2007. I aim to make delicious, frugal and healthy meals that will be appealing to GF and non-GF eaters alike!

2 responses »

  1. Your plant looks like irises.

    • It is! Just a week or so ago a flower bud appeared. It was pretty for a few days and then go destroyed in a rain storm. Now that I know it’s an iris I’ll be sure to take care of the plants!!!!


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