Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. I love to use it in a garlic rub on roast pork or chicken, on oven-roasted potatoes, or have it baked in a bread. I also love to touch a fresh sprig of rosemary and smell its scent on my hands afterward, and I love the sight of thick, lush rosemary in flower. I’ve tried to grow a few plants of my own so I can enjoy all of these luxuries and avoid the expense of buying fresh herbs, which are pricey! I’ve had to move the plants around, though, because they haven’t always been happy in their chosen spot. In fact, I’ve lost a couple small ones that I had planted on the side of the house where the soil is hard and the sun is brutal, and they just dried up.
When we put our raised garden bed in last year, I put all of my herbs in one corner of the garden. At that time I transplanted some of the small, unhappy rosemary plants that were in our flower garden to the vegetable garden. For the most part they have gotten comfortable and seem pretty happy there.
A healthy rosemary plant surrounded by its friends,
onion chives, horseradish, and mint.
Rosemary getting established in the raised garden bed. It’s a little sparse on the bottom but is actually reaching over the wood beam. Perhaps some more active pruning would encourage more growth near the bottom.
I want to try to propagate new plants and had read in the Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook that you can grow new rosemary plants by “layering” some of the branches of an existing plant to sprout new roots. Layering will occur naturally, if the plant has room, but you can help the process along by covering the bottom part of a low-lying branch with soil. I did this a couple of months ago with the branch in the bottom right of the photo above. Apparently once it roots you can separate it from the original plant and, viola! Two plants!
Another simple option is to take a decent-sized sprig of rosemary and place it in a jar with water and set it on a window sill. That’s what I did with a few pieces of the fresh-cut rosemary that a friend gave me a few months ago. (I didn’t realize I could do this until I saw a piece of rosemary rooting in a glass of water at a friend’s house and then I read about it again at The Soil Toil blog.) One of the sprigs didn’t root, but the other one went crazy! Here’s a photo of the mass of roots that this one little rosemary twig sprouted.
Over the last year we’ve added topsoil and compost to our house-side flower garden in an attempt to improve the heavy clay soil there. As a result, the plants there are doing much better than they did a year or two ago. So, I decided to try the rosemary there once again, since I’m gradually converting this garden to an herb garden. Hopefully this little guy will get a chance to grow before the catmint plants on either side close in. If they start to choke it out, I’ll move the rosemary again. I plan to eventually pot one so I can keep it in the house for quick access while cooking, so I’ll either take a layered piece from the sprawling garden plant or bring this one back inside. For now, though, it seems to be enjoying its new home.
Posted in Gardening
Tagged DIY, garden, gardening, herb garden, herbs, layering, plants, propagation, rooting, roots, rosemary, The Soil Toil, transplanting, week-by-week vegetable gardener's handbook
I did better this year with the plants I started from seed, but I still don’t have a system down and don’t completely know what I’m doing; I left some plants in the trays for much too long and it seems to have stunted their growth. The plants that I re-potted first were clearly the most happy.
Miss D helping me move tomato plants around while claiming a few of them as her own. “Mine!”
I waited a couple of extra weeks past our last frost date to plant tomatoes and peppers and, with the cold nights we had in late April, I carried these plants in and out of the garage each day for about a week. It was only within the last couple of weeks that I started to put them in the ground, and the garden began to look complete.
The warmer weather coupled with the plentiful rain we received over the last few weeks has really given the garden a boost. Here’s the garden on April 26th.
Here it is just two weeks later, on May 10th.
Don’t my potatoes (left middle) look great? The beans got a cold and soggy start and weren’t looking great, so I pulled some of them and replanted. I also planted a row of sweet potatoes last Sunday. I ordered them through a mail-order catalog and would you believe this is what they looked like when they came?
The instructions that came with the plants mentioned that they might be wilted and that I should not be concerned; they are resilient plants and should recover “under the right conditions”. I guess we’ll see if we have the right conditions.
Lastly, there has already been a visitor in the garden foraging on my plants and it appears to enjoy eating the entire plant! It leaves nothing behind but a small hole in the ground where the plant used to be. So far I’ve lost a tomato plant, a Brussels sprout plant, and a sweet potato plant. I don’t remember this happening last year–entire plants disappearing. Based on the hoof print in the fresh mud that I saw the other day, I suspect its deer. I’ll have to start mixing up a home-made deer deterrent. Last year I tried Deer Scram, which seemed to work, but it’s pricey. If you have a tried-and-true deer deterrent that doesn’t involve chemicals or firearms, I’d love to hear it!
By the way, did you notice the children’s garden in the photos above? It’s growing like mad! All of the plants in there are far outperforming the crops in the main garden! I’m not sure what their secret is but I’ve got a lot of work to do!
Posted in Children's Garden, Gardening
Tagged animals, beans, Brussel sprouts, childrens garden, deer, deer deterrent, garden, gardening, last frost date, pests, plants, potatoes, repotting, seedlings, seeds, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, transplanting
I have a large part of our garden planted already…. probably too much for having not even reached the average date of last frost yet, which is April 18th. I’m running out of room and have a ridiculous amount of plants growing in my seed trays!
Patience is the key at this point, though. Last year I don’t think I hardened off my tomato plants properly, so they didn’t get a good start. My plants are looking much better this year, though, and I’m really looking forward to transplanting! Yesterday my daughter grabbed a package of store-bought grape tomatoes out of the refrigerator that weren’t their freshest. They were fine to eat, but starting to get a little wrinkly. After she popped one in her mouth she turned her nose up and declined seconds. Remembering how last year she loved to pick cherry tomatoes right off the vine and eat them, I just thought “Soon, baby… soon.”
Our seedlings have come a long way since we started them at the end of February. The photo below was taken a couple of weeks ago. The tray in the foreground has strawberry plants that I started from seed, but they’re doing pretty poorly (unless they’re supposed to grow at a glacial pace). All of the other plants are quite happy, though. I am planning to buy a grow light system soon (or rigging up a DIY version) so my plants will grow more stout and sturdy rather than being so “leggy”. The fennel plants I’m growing in the trays can barely hold their little leaves up!
I have a whole collection of tomato varieties growing too. I couldn’t resist. I grew some from seeds that I bought last year, as well as several new seeds I bought this year. I even saved some tomato seeds from an organic roma tomato I bought at the grocery store that I overlooked until it was too ripe to eat. You can see how they are doing in the photo below, taken about a week ago. I actually moved some of these plants into bigger containers this past week.
Just a few more days until the last frost date! Since it’s just an average, I may wait an additional week or two on the tomato and pepper plants, just to be safe. It would be such a disappointment to see these guys this far only to lose them.
Posted in Gardening
Tagged fennel, gardening, grow light, last frost, peppers, plants, roma, saving seeds, seedlings, seeds, seeds trays, strawberries, tomatoes, transplanting