I love walking my garden every morning and seeing what’s changed. You’d be surprised at how many rosebuds pop up overnight! Today though I’m focusing on the edible garden. Won’t you take a walk with me?
My blackberry bush is going strong! I call this my Wendy Plant because my horse Wendy is obsessed with blackberries. I discovered this when she had thorns stuck in her nose from diving face first into blackberry bushes. The thorns didn’t even phase her! I now often take her fruit salads. (She’s partial to blueberries too.)
Unlike the bushes in Wendy’s former pasture, this variety is thornless. (Hooray!) Many gardeners use cages for their blackberry bushes, but I like it to flop about freely. Blackberries grow quite well in Texas and if you don’t train them upright with a cage, they take up quite a bit of room from side to side. I like the drama of a free blackberry bush, reaching for the sun in all different ways. And just look at the pretty leaf shape!
Look closely and you’ll see that there’s mint amongst the strawberry plants. This is not an accident. I heard Jamie Oliver say that he loves planting basil next to tomatoes because the basil will flavor the tomatoes. I applied the same idea to strawberries. I know many don’t like mint in the garden because it notoriously takes over. It’s the Alexander the Great of perennials. I strategically planted mine at the edge of my raised bed so that it will spill over into my landscaping. It’s already edging towards the roses but I let a few plants pop up ’round my strawberries to flavor them.
I don’t actually like swiss chard. There, I said it. But I figured if I grow it, I would love it. It worked for cilantro! These I bought as transplants at my local nursery. They’ve been completely trouble free all winter.
I also want to point out the oddly covered basil in this photo. Basil, as you may know, reseeds itself if you let it flower. It turns out, if you have multiple varieties in the garden, they will blend to become a new variety. Two years ago I planted Genovese and Purple Basil. Last year I had a blend of Purple Genovese sprout up everywhere. I planted more Genovese last year so this will be more Genovese than Purple Basil but still has that lovely color. Right now I’m letting it run wild just until they plants are large enough to start giving away to my friends.
Chives are without a doubt one of the most satisfying herbs to grow. I planted Seeds Now chives three years ago when I first built my raised bed garden and I’ve never run out of chives since. They are hardy and resilient, making it through droughts and freezes. In the springtime, they grow the loveliest purple flowers, which you can actually eat. They also look lovely in a bouquet. If there’s one new thing you plant this year, plant chives.
There is absolutely nothing like a homegrown, freshly plucked pea. My mouth waters at the anticipation. Last year I would pluck peas off and pop them in my mouth while inspecting the rest of the garden. Not only are they beyond delicious fresh, they’re also a pretty plant. Just look at the peas expertly holding onto the cage. This year I tossed Seeds Now seeds right into the dirt. It should be noted that I’m a reckless gardener who can’t be bothered to grow indoors and transfer. That’s what I love about good seeds though: I now have twelve pea plants creeping up four cages.
Here’s a photo of last year’s peas:
Lemon Balm is a wonderful herb to grow. Related to mint, lemon balm is as beautiful as it is tasty. I like throwing into salads and mixing it up with mint in a mortar and pestle for a healthy rub on fish. It looks lovely in a vase with roses and it’s so easy to take care of. Since it mounds in such a perfectionist sort of way, it would be great as part of an edible landscape. I got mine from Seeds Now and it comes back year after year, much like mint. In my raised bed garden, it’s situated between the fence and the mint. (Those are roses in the background.)
The beets aren’t that exciting yet. They’ve still got a ways to go. Once again, I tossed seeds directly into the garden because I’m a risk taker like that. I have great success growing beets, though the rain usually scatters the seeds around so they’re never in tidy rows. I find that freshly grown beets for some reason don’t bleed as much as store bought beets do, making them easier to handle. Don’t forget to sauté the greens when you eat them!
This is my first attempt at growing cabbage. I never even BUY cabbage but again, I thought growing it may lead to some appreciation. So far I’m loving the purple-blue color. It stands out in the garden and I very much appreciate the beauty of a raised bed garden. I’ll keep you posted on the cabbage!