Our thumbs were expecially green when we planted the veggie garden over the Memorial Day weekend. We try to recycle as much as we can here and we’re always on the lookout for a new idea to try.
The green gardening started with saving some volunteer cilantro that had sprouted up in the garden plot from plants we raised two years ago. I transferred the cilantro to a pot before I tilled up the garden.
With the garden plot cleared, I enriched the soil with some compost we’ve been making from our food scraps and yard trimmings. We’re not terribly scientific with our compost, but we make sure to keep meat and fat out of the compost bin and we try to mix in “brown” items like dried leaves along with our “green” items like banana peels and onion skins. Once the compost was tilled into the garden soil along with some composted manure, the garden was looking rich and ready.
We planted fewer garden plants than we have in the past, mostly because we struck out on a number of things we wanted at the Friends School Plant Sale and didn’t run all over town trying to find replacements. There are a couple eggplants, some basil, five tomato plants in three varieties, mini cucumbers called cuke-nuts, and pole beans planted from seeds.
A new green idea we decided to try this year is using newspaper as a mulch and weed barrier. The wind on Saturday made it tough to keep the paper in place until we added a thin layer of wood mulch on top of the newspaper. We got the mulch for free from the city, recycled from trees cut down on park property.
Once all the plants were in place and tucked in with their newspaper and mulch, we gave the garden a thorough watering with saved rain water from our rain barrel. I had repaired a large crack in the rain barrel (actually a big galvanized stock tank) last summer and that patch continues to hold– hooray! We let our 3 1/2 year old run the hose and he made sure that both the plants and his dad got a good soaking.
You might see from the photos that we also tried to employ some natural pest control by planting marigolds with our tomatoes. It’s an effective tactic, but our master gardener friend tells us that you need a literal fence of marigolds around your plants for the scent to be a strong enough deterrent. We didn’t plant nearly enough to reach that standard, but at least they will make the garden look pretty.