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Tousled Bed-Head Garden

Holy smokes.  I meant to post something yesterday.  I really did.  But I was suckered talked into attending my 1-year-old neighbor’s birthday party, and it was exhausting!  I mean, passed-out-cold-by-nine-o’clock exhausted.  Oh, and I think the birthday girl was tired too.

It’s events like those that make me wonder more and more whether I’d ever be cut out to be a parent.  I have to admit that the kids were kind of cute, in an oh-you’re-so-adorable-as-long-as-I-can-give-you-back-to-your-mommy kind of way.  There were even brand new, baby twins.

Baby Feet

Yikes!

But as cute as little baby footsie-wootsies are, I promised you something useful today, didn’t I?

My raised garden bed post from last week generated a couple questions about the specifics, so I thought I’d share the nitty-gritty of how we planned out our bed.

Like most of our projects, we took our planning and research to about 80% and winged the rest.

First off, I knew we would not be creating a nice little row garden.  Rows and rows of tidy plantings just aren’t my style.  Plus, I knew it would drive me batty if even one was slightly out of alignment.  Is that crazy?  No?  Whew.

So I did a little research and realized that what I wanted was a “kitchen garden,” or potager, in fancy French terms.  The purpose of a kitchen garden is to create something that’s both edible and aesthetically pleasing.  They typically contain a mixture of vegetables, herbs and flowers – and maybe even a berry bush or two.

Kitchen Garden

The part I love is that they can be a mess.  A lovely, purposeful mess that will hopefully look intentional.  Like the tousled bed-head look.  I want a tousled bed-head garden.

Once I decided on the type of garden we would be planting, my research led me to the concept of companion planting.  Even though I admittedly know very little about gardening, I was aware of the fact that certain plants might not be friendly neighbors.  So I did a little online research and came up with some lists to reference while we planted, as well as some other helpful tips.

Plant List

GOOD NEIGHBORS

  • Tomatoes & Parsley
  • Tomatoes & Carrots, Onions, or Asparagus
  • Carrots & Peas & Lettuce
  • Lettuce & Carrots, Radish, Strawberries, or Cucumber
  • Strawberries & Spinach
  • Spinach & Cabbage
  • Peas & Beans
  • Potatoes & Cabbage Family (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts)
  • Carrots & Onions, Leeks or Shallots

BAD NEIGHBORS

  • Tomatoes & Cabbage Family (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts)
  • Tomatoes & Potatoes
  • Onions & Peas or Beans
  • Cabbage & Strawberries
  • Sunflowers & Potatoes
  • Tomatoes & Corn
  • Beans & Onions, Leeks, Shallots
  • Sunflower & Lettuce

Sounds like it could get a little complicated, right?

But our approach was fairly simple.

1.  We made a list of plants we wanted (or thought we wanted) to try and took it to the nursery.

2.  We bought what was available from our list (our only real disappointment was strawberries – but apparently we didn’t care enough to look elsewhere).

3.  We laid the seedlings out in our garden and consulted our companion plant list to ensure we wouldn’t have any un-neighborly squabbles.

Kitchen Garden

There is a row of companion-friendly flowers and herbs (Nasturdium, Alyssum, Marigolds, Zinnias, Basil, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, Cilantro, Oregano) along the front and sides in an attempt to ward off any unwelcome 6-legged visitors.

Kitchen Garden

We have lots of greens (Romaine lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, and Arugula), as is customary with a kitchen garden.  We wanted spinach, but alas, no luck.

We’ve got some parsley near the tomatoes…

Kitchen Garden

…and cucumber near the lettuce.

The beans are separated from the leeks by the row of tomatoes.

Kitchen Garden

And like I mentioned in the first garden post, the rhubarb is kept separate so we can keep it out of the dogs’ reach.

Kitchen Garden Rhubarb

What is rhubarb, anyway?  It weirds me out.  The hubs wanted it because his dad used to grow it, and he insists he can make a killer rhubarb pie.  I don’t know how I feel about that.  Rhubarb pie?  It just doesn’t have the same ring as “chocolate peanut butter pie,” does it?

So as you can see, this really is just one big experiment.  The plants seem relatively happy so far, but we’re all still getting used to each other.

I guess we’ll see what happens when they stop being polite, and start getting real.

Oh, and I should mention that this site was particularly helpful with layout suggestions.

Would I do anything different next year?

  • Find some clipping flowers (flowers that would work well to clip for indoor bouquets) to add to the garden.
  • Maybe try growing a few things from seeds.
  • Add strawberries and spinach.
  • Plant something viney that needs a pretty trellis.

So how are your gardens coming along this year?  Or maybe you just have a small container or two?  Am I clearly doing something wrong with mine?

We need all the help we can get.

Katie

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Comments

Dad
Reply

Really interesting garden you are cooking up. Wanted to pass along some Grandma knowledge about rhubarb. According to Grandma, when you plant or move rhubarb, you can’t eat it for one year. Meaning you can’t eat your new rhubarb this year. Now don’t ask me why, this is straight from Grandma so you will have to ask her. I myself questioned it but being a good son, I listened to her and did not eat my rhubarb last year. We are looking forward to finally trying it soon.

Love ya and your writing,

Dad

Kate
Reply

Good tip! I think I might have heard that somewhere else and wrote it off, but if Grandma says it, then it must be true. I guess there won’t be any rhubarb pie pictures in the blog’s near future…

Rachel
Reply

even if i was going to plant a garden, i wouldn’t even think about putting seed in the ground for a few more weeks…we had frost this a.m.! yuck!

Kate
Reply

That’s what you get for living “up north”! ;)

Erin @ Domestic Adventure
Reply

I’m with Rachel on the cold front here in the Northeast…

And as for rhubarb, try a strawberry rhubarb cobbler and you will become BFFs, I swear. I’ll be sure to post my cobbler recipe once we get into strawberry season up here in Maine. Summer will come someday, right!?

Kate
Reply

I will definitely check out that recipe when you post it! Even if we can’t eat our rhubarb this year, I’m sure we can try a couple recipes with some store-bought rhubarb this summer. :)

I’ve never been to Maine, but I hear it’s beautiful! I love having spring come so early here, but I have to admit that I’m jealous of your seafood…

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