Establishing a New Herb Garden

Since moving to our new home we have been working hard to get our plants established. We were quite blessed at our last home and had accomplished a lot. So in some ways it depressed me to have to start over. However, we learned a lot during that time. We learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. We are able to apply what we have learned as we establish our plants at our new home. Our herb garden must be near the kitchen and easily accessible. We decided to start our herb garden around the well house which is to the side of the house close to the back door at the kitchen.

Oregano, Marigold, Sweet Basil, Lavender, Garden Sage, Snowball Bush, Herb Garden
Start of a New Herb Garden: Oregano, Marigold, Marigold, Sweet Basil, Marigold, Lavender, Marigold, Sweet Basil, Marigold, Sage, Marigold, Snowball Bush (Left to Right)

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Tired of Weeding? Cardboard the Eco-friendly Weed Barrier

Are you tired of weeding? Have you spent countless hours pulling, cutting, and digging weeds? I know I have. Now, we have the chickens we can at least put the weeds to good use.

Weeds aka Chicken Treats
Weeds aka Chicken Treats

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Planting The Raspberries

Yesterday after church and our grocery run in Walmart, Jon planted our new raspberry vines that we bought from Tractor Supply Company Saturday. These were packed in peat moss and the raspberries we ordered online last year were shipped in a dormant dry root state.

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Is It Spring Already?

In our part of northern North Carolina we do not have a harsh winter like up north. We do typically have four full seasons that I consider to be fairly mild and none of them too extreme.

Our winters are generally cold, gray, and brown with the occasional snow or ice. My definition of cold probably varies greatly from many of you. Our average highs are around 40 and average lows around 28. That being the average, we will have some warmer and some colder. We typically have a few teens and single digit days, but they are few. Those colder days sometimes we still do not get the snow. It just depends on when the precipitation and temperatures line up.

We do tend to get more ice than snow, because we teeter on the edge of freezing many times. I would much rather have the snow than the ice or freezing rain.  I do enjoy a good large snow, but must confess after one good one I grow tired of it. I get tired of the shoveling, salting, scraping, and mess tracked in.  Last year we had an extremely warm winter and saw no snow at all. And this year, it is halfway through January and all we’ve seen is a little snow flurry in late December. It has barely felt like winter. No, I’m not going to support the global warming topic. I personally think weather is cyclical and it cycles back around. Just two years ago we had so much snow at Christmas that I wondered if everyone would be able to drive back and forth for family celebrations. It was gorgeous.
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Location, Location, Location

Location is important not just in business, but also in gardening. Hopefully some of my mistakes will help someone.
It wasn’t until fall, after “the great harvest of 2012” did I test the pH of my soil. As it turns out, at least some of my problems stem from acidic soil, or a very low pH. Yes, if I would have followed the advice I had read I would have known this before I planted, but people only learn from their own mistakes, most of the time.
Pine trees, it seems, drop lots of pine needles. Pine needles are useful as mulch, and in compost, but do tend to be a little on the acidic side. So I guess, it wasn’t the best idea to plant a garden surrounded on two sides by very tall pine trees.
Why did we decide to put the garden there in the first place?
Before I explain that to you, I must go back to last year around Thanksgiving. We were trying to decide where to put the Christmas tree. After exhausting any option that did not require completely rearranging the living room (not even sure there was one) I suggested the front porch. Naturally, she didn’t find this as amusing as I did, but since then it has become an inside joke.
So, back to why we put our garden in a spot half surrounded by pine trees. Well, it was the most remote corner of the backyard, and we wanted to keep as much of our back yard as possible. When I suggested putting in the front yard (I am a bit of a smart-alack) the wife said that was too redneck. I suggested we could put a fridge on the front porch to make it match. “Right next to Christmas tree?” followed by something I will translate into, “We are not putting anything on the front porch but rocking chairs”.
So the garden went in the back yard. Surrounded on two sides by rather tall pine trees that make our soil rather acidic.