Friday, March 15, 2013

guest blogger: planning a garden

I thought it would be fun to have a guest blogger at PAPER+SPACE to talk about gardening. I love the idea of gardening! I just don't have any experience, and its rumored that I have a black thumb... shhh...
Now that I have a yard, I've been doing quite a bit of research. But it can be a bit overwhelming, so I asked Laura, my sister/mother of three/ gardener extrordinaire, to just tell me what to do... here is her simple little guide to gardening... (I LOVE this picture with baby O, taken by one of my other, oh so talented sisters, Carrie!)

Hi y'all, Laura here, just because its too cold for flip flops doesn’t mean you cant start gardening. Now is the perfect time to get your garden ready for Spring and Summer plants. Here is a look at my garden plan:

This is my plan for my southernmost bed. I know that tomatoes are a summer plant, but I plant them the
first week of April after the danger of frost has passed in the Atlanta area (zone 7). I usually have a Fall/
Winter crop too; however my third time management coordinator (aka: my third child, baby Owen, the new one) had other plans. So instead of crisp lettuce and beautiful broccoli, I changed a lot of diapers. There is hope for my fellow rabbit food lovers. I will be planting Butter Crunch (cool weather tolerant) and Black Seeded Simpson (heat tolerant) lettuces so I can munch on salads through the June.

Your veggies will be a whole lot tastier if you give your plants a friend. Companion planting is grouping together certain plants that are mutually beneficial. A tomato’s BFF is basil and lettuce loves dill. So that is the reason for the positioning of plants on my plan. There are more combinations than those I included, but for weather reasons and personal preference I tend to keep it very simple.

I often refer to Brenda Little’s book “Secrets of Companion Planting” and Louise Riotte’s book “Carrots Love Tomatoes.” They are good for general information, but I also rely a lot of Georgia’s gardening guru, Walter Reeves. I have most of his books too.
I actually have four 4x4 raised beds that I got my reluctant husband to build for me a few years ago. I
dragged him to Home Depot to buy the wood and then he felt sorry for me in my pregnant state as I
attempted to build them; he took over and quickly assembled my boxes and then moved them back and
forth until I decided they were placed just right in my yard.

So after a season of neglect due to mothering x 3, this is what I am working with:

Yikes! It just needs a little weeding! Once I clean them up I will add some ashes from my fireplace and
mix it with a few bags (per bed) of Miracle Grow Organic Garden Soil – don’t skimp on your garden! Use the good stuff.

With a little preparation you can have wonderful fruits and veggies like these in your back yard!

Thanks Laura! I only have one raised bed in my back yard so I'll be keeping it simple as well. What would you suggest I try? I'm planting onions right now, but I think some veggies and a few herbs would be awesome.
Oh check out my Pinterest board, le Jardin for some more garden inspiration! Like this

xo Lea Hart

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