Over the weekend I went to the farmers market around the corner from my house and got starter plants for the garden.
This year I decided to put the herbs on the deck instead of in the backyard.
Every year the herbs are in the back and I never think to get them before I start cooking- then when I'm in the middle of whatever I'm making I remember the herbs. But I never want to run outside-down the driveway- and to the backyard to grab them... so I leave em' out and used dried instead. Totally defeating the purpose of the garden.
So this year the herbs are just steps outside the kitchen. I have basil, parsley, cilantro, thyme, dill, rosemary, chive, oregano and mint. And so far it's definitely working- I've used a surprising amount of them in just a few days. How could you not when they look so pretty and they are so close!
In the back I only planted half of the garden space. Normally I go crazy with all the offerings at the market and come home with veggies we don't even like to eat or way too many plants.
For example: There was the hot pepper year. Have I mentioned that my husband has no tolerance for spicy foods at all? That being said, I have no idea what I thought I was going to do with a six pack of mixed hot pepper plants (by the way one hot pepper plant produces enough peppers to keep the average spice fiend in good supply all season).
Or how about the year I bought a six pack each (note I said each) of big and cherry tomatoes- and also (also!) a six pack of zucchini. Anyone who has planted a veggie garden before knows this was way overdoing it with these "bountiful" plants. Especially for just two people (especially if one of those two people really likes to grow tomatoes but is not so fond of eating of them).
That year- the threat of being buried by tomatoes and zucchini was imminent. I baked zucchini bread non-stop and was practically giving it to strangers on the street. I called across the fence to my neighbor (who was in his own garden at the time) and asked him if he by chance wanted any tomatoes or zucchini (really I didn't mean to imply anything about his garden prowess- I was desperate! There was a pile in the fridge a pile on the counter and now a pile in my basket). My husband became the "tomato pusher" of all time at work- I think he might have even been able to persuade other gardeners with their own tomato problems to take some off our hands. And in a last ditch effort to be rid of them all I found the holy grail of recipes for a gardner- zucchini stuffed tomatoes (which we still laugh about to this day).
This season I stayed fairly realistic with the fruit and veggie plants- Lettuce (6 pack), big tomatoes (1 plant only), cherry tomatoes (2 plants), zucchini (1 plant), eggplant (1 plant), watermelon ( 2 plants. I had to have something fun and weird. They never really produce except for one year when I actually had a good size melon grow!) and pumpkin (my summer nod towards Halloween).
My only downfall was the bell peppers-
I really like them but my husband doesn't. I love to grow them- and had to have them in the garden. But I could only by them in a six pack... we'll see what happens (Anyone want any bell peppers? Come on you know you do)
I also have some strawberries that come back every year.
I forgot to grab a cucumber plant- so I'm going to back to get one this weekend. That will round out the garden. (I swear!) I have vowed not to come home with a huge flat of interesting plants.
But maybe I'll just pick up some bean seeds as well. I got the garden started too late for any cold crops like broccoli and spinach to flourish- but I could probably still do some bean seeds since they grow fast. But I'll definitely stay away from the corn... this year!