The Latest Dirt: Gardening 2014

Saturday I wanted nothing more than to dig in some dirt. After all the snow, wind, rain, and grey of winter, I just needed some sunshine and dirt time. So I spent a little time (only 20 minutes or so) prepping my containers for planting. Surprise surprise, I didn't get any "before" pictures of the cluttered balcony. This is a failing I'm certain we're all going to have to learn to accept. 

This is the set-up we're hoping to use for our garden, though the cascading effect of the ones on the left means they may get less sun than if I cascade them out. Unfortunately it also means that would make the herbs less accessible for fast snipping while cooking. I might try working on a shelving mechanism to get maximum light and access. 
Once I'd pulled out all the clover, and turned the dirt a bit, some delightful plants came into view. Like these darlings! To the left and right bottom corners you can see tiny springs of oregano that popped in for some reason. This big thing... Well, it's in the dill pot, but it was growing outside the area where I'd planted the dill and it doesn't SMELL like dill. I transplanted it toward the center until I decided what to do with it. Any input identifying it is welcome. 

My poor lavender. I didn't harvest it properly last fall, and I think it froze and dried out over the winter. Everything pretty well just fell off when I went to trim it back, all the stems were cracked and dried, nothing green inside. I left the stalk to see if it can be encouraged to grow. If I don't have anything green within a couple weeks here, I'll splurge on another plant to replace it. I loved having lavender around too much to go without it. I will say that the dried lavender leaves made the compost smell much nicer than dead onions!

Thyme! I had two plants in here, a lemon and an english thyme. The English one you can see here, growing happily. The lemon I thought had died off completely, but once I got the dead stems out of the way there was new growth underneath.

But there is also this huge overgrowth of moss underneath. None of my other planters have this moss issue, and I'm wondering if they're beneficial to each other. Thyme grows wild in the mountains, or so the song goes (you're welcome for the ear worm) and so does moss, so they're either natural besties or competing for nutrients. Not sure which theory to go with but for now I'm going with friends. What do you think?

Sunday I took a bit of time to pull out the seed packets and get the seeds soaking in warm water. It's a trick I learned for using seeds intended for previous growing seasons, and one my grandmother used to revive seeds from as early as 1969 with about an 80% germination rate. I've had some rough germinations from my seeds the last couple attempts, so I thought I'd try this version. Directions varied from soaking them for an hour to overnight/a full 24 hours. I'm going the overnight route due to scheduling, so I have Mr. Moon to help me move the heavy planters around.

All in all, a lovely couple of days digging in dirt. Mostly herbs again this year, though I did get some lettuce and kale started for greens. I might also pick up a few more planters, if I can work out a shelving mechanism to have room for them, because I'd really like to have a couple more versions of greens and maybe some tomatoes out there.

What are you planting in YOUR garden this year? 


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