Happy Mother’s day!!
One of my reasons for writing a 2 part blog post about gardening was to lead to Mother’s day and emphasize the necessity of us moms do something that gives us pleasure. As moms, most of the time, we put the well being and happiness of our children and everyone else before us. This comes naturally to us, and it was vital when we were cavemen but not so much nowadays. The more we take care of ourselves, the more we can take care of others and be present for them. So be kind to yourself and find something that makes you feel good and energized. Mine is writing in my journal and meditating every day.
Gardening is another way for me to calm myself and connect with myself and nature.
Planting in your garden
Last week we talked about preparing the garden and different weeds to pull.
This week I like to talk about the simple things you can plant in your garden that are easy to plant and care for.
I like to divide this section into two, food and flowers. I like to have both kinds in my garden to get the benefit of growing my food and growing the joy when I look out the window into my yard.
I don’t want to fuss around flowers and plant them every year. The best thing to do is to pick some that are perennial, meaning they come back every year. I do have a few annual flowers here and there, but I don’t waste my time on annuals as much.
Here are three of my favourite flowers that are easy to plant and care for:
- Tulips, basically you plant a set of bulbs mid-fall once then you have tulips springtime every year after that
- Hyacinth, same thing. Plant them once and have beautiful flowers every spring after that
- Rose. They come in a variety of colours and shapes. I would take pictures of the nursery and consult with someone there to pick the right one for my garden. The same thing you plant them once, and you have them for years to come.
Most flowers need full or partial sun, so consider where you want to plant them and the amount of the sun and water required. If not sure, reading the label on the flower pot or consulting with people who work at your garden center will give you enough information to make the right decision for the specific space you have.
I’ve even taken photos of the flowers I see around on my walks and take them to the nursery to show someone and ask if I can plant it in my garden. My front yard is mostly shady, and it’s a hard thing for me to find flowers that work well there.
I do plant a lot of herbs; most herbs come back next year. Some even can weather a winter, but it all depends on how you treat them. Herbs like to be cut often; if they flower, they will go into the seeding cycle and become tough. The key is to cut the tips at the right time. You want to cut the tips when they have grown small stems on the side. When you do that, the side stem becomes more robust and will grow to produce its own baby stem. The herbs that are very easy to plant are:
- Mint, be careful of this one. This herb can take over your whole garden, they grow like weeds, and they come back stronger every year. If you cut and use them often, they come back softer; if you don’t, they come back harder. At the end of the summer, early fall, I cut all of them from the ground up and dehydrate them for the wintertime.
- Oregano, exactly like mints, they can grow and take over your garden. Be careful though they are not as stubborn as mint. If you take the roots out, they are gone. I learned that the hard way. Last year I asked my husband to get rid of the mints, he pulled all the mint roots and oreganos by mistake. The mints came back oreganos are gone for good.
- Tarragon, these are funny herbs. They come back for a few years and then die. When they come back, they don’t seem like tarragon, mostly like some sort of weed. It’s best to plant them in a pot to know exactly what they are and not pull them by mistake.
- Italian Parsely – I use Italian parsley in my cooking a lot, these will last you even during the mild winters. They are not like mint or oregano to die and come back. They last a few years if you treat them well, but if they are gone, they are gone. You need to plant another set. I find it that the more you cut and use them, the longer they last as long as you are not cutting the whole bush at once.
I do plant salad green, spinach and kale, but I’m still learning how to work with them, nothing to add in that department yet.
Berries and Vegetables
- Cherry Tomatoes: I don’t plant that many vegetables. The only one that I plant year after year is the cherry tomato, which is not a vegetable anyway. One thing you want to do when you plant tomatoes is to make sure they have something around them to keep the vines off the ground. And when you plant them, take out the smaller leaf closest to the root and dirt to give your plant a boost to grow. 4
- Strawberries: I do have a lot of strawberry bushes. Used to have more than 80 bushes at one time, which I almost lost them all by replacing them in my garden. When you plant a strawberry bush, give it a lot of space as they multiply by running vines. At the end of winter or early spring, make sure to cut all the dry stems and leaves to boost their growth. There are two kinds of strawberries, June strawberry and all season. I have both; the June strawberry is useful if you are into jamming as they produce a lot of fruit at once, and then they are just beautiful. All season strawberries will give you strawberry almost all spring and summer not too many at once, but they keep flowering and producing berries. Be careful when you plant strawberries bare fruit. You need to pick them right when they ripen. If you wait longer and they are too soft, Roly Polys will start eating them. One way I keep Rolly Polys out is to plant mint around the strawberry bushes. Seems like Roly Polys don’t like mint as much
- Raspberry: These are taller bushed; they multiply as well not as many and as fast as strawberries, but over the years, you can triple or quadruple your raspberries. They love to be pruned and cut the dry stems at the end of the season to get ready for the next year.
That’s it. This is the extend of my gardening knowledge. I learn as I go and I ask a lot, being part of a gardening group on Facebook helps a lot 😀
One last thing before I sign off. Watering your garden, the right amount is key. I’m not good at it. I even taught my house plants to live on dry. But when I do water my garden every day they do way better, more flowers, juicier fruits. So do as I say not as I do 😀
Happy Mother’s Day!