For the first time in our adult lives, J and I are starting a garden together. I remember gardening as a child, with my grandfathers, and my father. I’m not much of a green thumb, and I didn’t really learn much about the fundamentals of gardening growing up. I just knew when I could go pick something and eat it. With the struggle we’re all facing with eating healthier, and the expense of fresh produce, we decided planting a garden of our own would be much more cost effective in the end than trying to get it from the local produce stand or the grocery store. We also decided that J should have a variety of fresh ingredients to include in his recipes and explorations. Plus, we get to make it a family bonding experience with little man, which will hopefully bring him closer to the idea of eating more vegetables without as much fuss, and provide some fond childhood memories like the ones I have.
We didn’t really put much planning into our garden. We just tilled the space, measured it, and started buying plants. Luckily, after we looked up spacing requirements, everything fit and we have room to spare. Whew! Lesson learned. Plan your garden! Why should you care about our garden? Well, our harvest will play a major role in the recipes we try and what J comes up with for signature dishes for quite some time, which impacts what you see here.
Starting a Garden: Our Herbs
We got all of our herbs from local establishments thanks to the Asheville Herb Festival, a two local nurseries just a few miles down the road. Yay for supporting our local economy! Our herb garden includes:
- Traditional Basil
- Cinnamon Basil (Something we’d never heard of before.)
- Thai Basil
- Lime Basil
- Purple Basil
- Large Leaf Basil
- Vietnamese Cilantro (We were really just intrigued by that one.)
- Lemon Thyme (Not only can you eat it, but it is an insect repellent!)
- Summer Savory
- Mexican Oregano
- Greek Oregano
We may have gone a little crazy, but each of these has a flavor of its own and covers a variety of cuisine types to support virtually any recipe J wants to try. You can’t beat fresh herbs, plus the more you trim the plants, the more they produce, so we will be drying the excess for later use. We’ve already used the herbs on multiple occasions for our guacamole and marinara sauce which we’ve used for spaghetti and stuffed shells.
Starting a Garden: Our Vegetables
Honestly, this is more like a salsa garden, because we use a lot of tomatoes, peppers, and onions, but there are a few other goodies in there, too. These plants also came from local nurseries.
- Great White Tomato (We got it because it was intriguing.)
- Black Brandywine Tomato
- Green Emerald Tomato
- Yellow Tomato
- Peacevine Cherry Tomato
- Grape Tomato
- Roma Tomato
- San Marzano Tomato
- Jalepeno Pepper
- Anaheim Pepper
- Pablano Pepper
- Ghost Pepper
- Serrano Pepper
- Thai Chili Pepper
- Sweet Banana Pepper
- Hot Banana Pepper
- Habenero Pepper
- Yellow Onion (which will also be used for Green onions by pulling early)
- Crookneck Squash
We’ve had a lot of rain recently, which caused some of the plants to get off to a rough start due to nearly drowning, but I’ll be posting photos as they progress. Some of what’s growing in our garden may become its own post, to show uses, health benefits, and growing information. We live in a bio diverse area capable of growing a lot more than we could have dreamed of planting, but for this year, we decided to keep the plants simple and easy to grow. We’ll try our hand at more difficult to manage plants next season. Garlic is definitely on the list since it has to be planted in the cooler months.
We’ve already gotten a pressure canner system so we can store the extras from our harvest. We’re really looking forward to it! We did our best to ensure the plants we bought were organic, and will be using an organic insecticidal soap to protect our plants from pests. We’re using a special mesh material to block out weeds to remove that hassle.
Are you planting a garden this season? What are you planting? Are you aiming for organic? What preservation methods are you going to use for your harvest? If you have any wisdom to share with us, please do!