The un-snooty, un-pretentious, unconventional & totally awesome gardener is back!

That would be me, of course. If you follow the website, you know every summer I have a vegetable & herb garden. I call it my little Victory Garden. Some years it’s larger than others & what I grow varies, but always at least a little something. It started off as just herbs and then I branched out into tomatoes, then peppers too, then the rest is history. I don’t consider myself a microfarmer or a sustainable gardener or anything, I do it for fun and enjoyment and because I genuinely enjoy gardening and I like literally enjoying the fruits of my labor. Not so I can preach the evils of McDonald’s or non-organic produce. I don’t do that. However this year I’ve decided to pare down a lot; there’s a lot going on with me & I don’t know if I have the time nor the ability to 100% invest in a large amount of stuff. Not financially, mind you, but physically. It takes a lot to keep a garden going, you know, even if it is “just a container garden.” Which by the way- there is no such thing as “just a” anything in gardening. Anything you have, even if it’s one tomato plant, takes a bit of effort to keep going. So anyway, this year I’m keeping it small. Not sure yet exactly how small, but because of this extraordinarily warm winter, which was actually the 4th warmest winter on record, my perennial herbs have made their appearance at least a month and a half early: chives, two types of oregano (variegated & regular) and parsley. Re: that warm winter, this is the absolute earliest I’ve ever posted about my garden, by the way. So my mint seems to have died, but it wasn’t doing too well by the end of the season last year so I’m not surprised. It was about 4 years old, it might have just run it’s course. So I think I’ll buy some basil, rosemary & maybe some more mint & definitely cilantro. Then I’ll see how many veggies I want to do (or can do). Maybe I’ll just keep it at herbs this year. I don’t know.

I’m no expert. I never took a horticulture or agriculture class. I’ve just always loved to garden. My mother used to plant every year & ever since I was able to hold myself up and dig, I helped her. But a couple of years ago I expanded from my usual flowers into herbs. After having a ton of success with them for two years straight & providing friends/family with tons of fresh basil, I jumped into getting a tomato plant. I was probably just thinking about fresh Caprese salads, but it was a great experience. Then the next year (2010) I decided to do a full-on container garden: peppers, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, etc. I only had one total failure & it was zucchini. Look up zucchini abortion, you’ll see why. And so last year I continued with my garden but things turned upside down when my Nana died, so admittedly I let a lot go by the wayside & was a bit neglectful. I still got a lot of beautiful tomatoes & peppers, etc. So, like I said, this year there is a lot going on in my “personal life” (what does that even mean, anyway? Isn’t your entire life personal?) and I don’t know really what I’ll end up doing garden-wise this summer.

What I do know is that as usual, I’ll keep you all updated along the way. I do that in the hopes that I encourage others to grow something! It’s so much fun & you really gain an appreciation for the earth. If you didn’t already have one, that is. Gardening is a great excuse to do something good for not only yourself, but Mama Earth. So you plant a tomato plant & that way you buy less from the supermarket. It’s a win-win. And it’s fun! Especially if you have kids. It’s also a teachable moment, you can use it to teach kids just about anything- farming, what chlorophyll is, how plants provide oxygen, organic foods, etc.

Here’s a little sample, just a bit of my last years’ vegetable growth, in case you’ve missed it or just recently started reading. It’s all done in containers! If you’re interested in seeing the full posts from my past years’ gardens that are full of pictures as well as gardening tips & advice, then here they are: 2010 (1, 2, 3) & 2011 (1, 2).

Habanero peppers. These are crazy prolific, I must have gotten at least 24 hab’s off this one plant!

Roma tomatoes, not finished growing, obviously..

Bell pepper. I have a little trouble with these, but I manage to get at least one or two.

Eggplant! I only ever get one off a plant, but it’s usually huge. This is mid-season so it’s not anywhere hear being done. I always get one massive eggplant!

It doesn’t matter if you have two feet or two acres to work with, you can grow something & enjoy the benefits of having fresh veggies and/or herbs right outside your door. If you’re interested in container gardening, here’s a great link with information from Taste of Home. And not only that- but gardening reduces stress, promotes good health by getting you outdoors & active, and it’s a constructive & productive thing to do. And if you don’t have outdoor space, you definitely have a window. And if you can’t have a windowbox, then you can at least grow some herbs in your kitchen.

Anyway, stay tuned for this summer’s garden! And as always, I love hearing about what you’re planting/growing, so do tell…

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