Last year began in earnest an herb garden. Despite 2 of our 4 herbs dying, one from the heat of the summer, the other from the cold of an unexpected freeze in March, we chose to continue our project. We picked a great time to do so because as we headed to Lowe’s for something else, we realized that they had many of their plants on sale. With the budget we’d used last year for 4 herbs, we were able to pick up 2 heartier herbs to fill out the herb planter, 3 pepper plants, and a tomato plant. Cautious optimism began to creep into our senses that maybe growing things really wasn’t that hard, after all, the plants really do most of the work and fresh herbs taste so much better than their non-fresh counterparts.
After a month of growth, I’m rather excited about where the plants are now. First, let me introduce you to herb garden 2.0. Our parsley from last year is massive, it has had absolutely no problems in the Texas heat or the chill or really anything. It’s like a voracious cyborg of an herb plant whose tenacity makes me think its the plant equivalent of Chuck Norris. You see it holding down the entire end of the planter with an iron fist. Next to the parsley is a nice dill plant that has really taken off, too, which is great because I’ve discovered that I really like dill and the boyfriend is part Greek so dill is apparently something like a food group. Next to that, we’ve got some oregano. Next to that, our oregano has finally started to come into its own after a year of not really being big enough for me to not feel bad cutting parts of it off all the time. It is still growing slower than all of my other plants, but slow and steady I guess. Finally, we replaced the sage which withered and died last year in the Texas heat with a new and improved sage that’s better suited to our climate. For some reason it’s been cut off in this picture but I assure you that it’s there and is doing quite well, too. The herb garden has been pretty low maintenance, I water it every day and treat it with Miracle Grow about once a week (read as every 7-10 days, when I remember). I have also done some minimal trimming to pull of dead parts. No pesticides, no fungicides, no *insert whatever here*-cides, and I reused the Miracle Grow moisture lock soil I got last year. This has already gone so well that we are planning on expanding the herb garden yet again next year to include a large strawberry pot of other herbs we use frequently.
You can also see in this pic our dual pepper pot which has 2 varieties of spicy peppers. Last year we tried a bell pepper plant and the poor thing got eaten all the time by wild animals. It graciously produced a single tiny pepper before it gave up after all its leaves were eaten for the 4th time by a vicious murdering herbivore. So far our super spicy peppers have yet to be touched by the local fauna and have grown so well that after 2 weeks I had to get garden stakes and tape and now after 4 weeks they’re tall enough that I need bigger garden stakes.
Here are my peppers after one week. Note the change in the dual pepper pot. The purple flash pepper has been gorgeous and has already coated itself in flowers and begun to produce its peppers. It is absolutely coated with tiny baby peppers that start purple but will eventually mature into spicy little red peppers. This one is really gratifying because it’s very pretty and lends a pop of color while also needing basically no attention to grow. It’s bushier than my other plants and has grown out more than up so I am glad I put it in a pot by itself.
Look at the blooms on my tomato plant. It’s my very first tomato plant and it has grown like a weed in a month’s time, from a tiny $2 plant to over 2′ tall. It’s actually outgrown the garden stake so I get to start looking into an attractive tomato cage for it soon. I have been told that tomatoes were a pain but this one has not been hard to grow at all, let’s hope that remains the case because I’m excited to see the yellow heirloom tomatoes it will make when its ready.
Overall, this time around gardening has been rather simple and has given me the confidence to make plans for later in the year and next year. We’ve discussed the possibility of potatoes and mushrooms for this odd dark part of our side yard, and expanding the herb garden next year, and I’ve found myself looking up fun and new plants to think about growing. As a gift for my exceptional stint as plant mom, the boyfriend even picked me up a killer leopard print garden set from Tuesday Morning. Who knew gardening could be so fashionable?