Thursday, October 31, 2013

My herb and flower area - part two

Once we had the new side garden area in the works this spring, I decided to take some of the overflow from the main garden's herbs and use some of the area in the spacious but potentially weedy and underwatered new side garden to expand our herbs. Some plants, like the Dill and Cilantro, really were only planted in this area this year. Others, like the Oregano, Chives, and Garlic Chives, were broken off of their clump in the lower garden and moved up. My theory was duplicates have twice the chance of surviving! Partly the new area was a test, to see how well those plants would do in the new area with minimal watering and care. And partly, it was to get those much used herbs closer to the house! How convenient to pop down to pick up a couple eggs and be able to also grab some herbs for the next meal on the table, creating a one-stop-shop sort of experience

The area filled in really nicely, and was looking really great even after the weeks of neglect both gardens received around Baby E's birth.

However as the end of the summer approached, the situation was looking a wee bit overgrown. Again I had failed to give each plant the space it really needed to have enough space as it got big. I seem to plant everything so it looks nicely filled in about half way through the growing season. Which works fine when I can pull some of the plants part way through, but not when each plant is important like this area! Below you can see dill flowering and going to seed, oregano flowering in the back, kale and parsley competing for space with lavender and cilantro, and both common and garlic chives feeling out-competed! Yup, it was a mess, and add in the weeds that I never really got around to dealing with in the side garden this year, and if it hadn't of actually produced a heck of a lot of dill seeds (among other small harvests of kale and parsley and chive flowers), I would have written it off as a disaster!

Instead I'm considering it lesson learned, and thus decided that a new herb and flower area in the soon-to-be expanded side garden area is in order. The pigs did a great job tilling the area up, and we're essentially doubling the side garden next year, with the lower half being planned for pigs again. Next up is a late fall look at the new area - transplanted plants and everything!

Missed a post of the herb and flower area series? Read part one here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Herb & Flower Area - Part One

The first spring we lived in this house, we were surprised and excited to discover spring flowers emerging from bulbs in a neglected weedy bed by the carport. First daffodils, then tulips emerged and bloomed, adding some cheer to our front area.

When we had moved in, it was mid summer, and we assumed that the bed had been used for something in the past, but it was filled with dried up weeds and grass, so we didn't think it had anything else in it. For 2010 and 2011, we tried to water the bulbs occasionally, but they didn't really get much attention otherwise, although we tried adding some more tulips and daffodils one fall from cheap on-sale bulbs from the grocery store.

Then the year before last, in late fall when my best friend from back home was visiting, we dug all the bulbs we could find from that neglected bed and put them in the end of the lower garden, right beside the gate. At first it was more for safe keeping until I could come up with a better spot where they would get the water and weeding they deserved and needed to flourish, but quickly it became more than just that with the addition of more bulbs from the rental as it finally sold the next spring, and the area started filling in with flowers.
spring 2012
Then the area started to transition into what it still is today with the addition of herbs. I grew my own herbs from seeds, which transitioned the area from the temporary flower spot to the herb area. The garlic chives that overwintered from the year before got moved from their row to a discrete clump - unintentionally being the first herbs of the spot. How I ended up with those seeds I have no idea, but for whatever reason I threw them in the ground the spring before and they grew, then overwintered, and that clump has since started so many more by seed around the garden that I've gone past giving them away, as everyone who wants them now has them, and I pull them as weeds!

spring 2012
The rest of the herbs have since flourished through the last couple summers and the close of this gardening season has brought about my realization that this spot is not big enough for even the ones we have, let alone room for more that I'm planning for next spring.

mid-summer 2012

fall 2012

spring 2013

early summer 2013

mid summer 2013

late summer 2013
As you can see, I vastly mis-judged the amount of space each plant would need - and some of the smaller (shorter) plants have been totally overgrown by the taller herbs. More space for each plant is definitely needed for them to grow!

Stay tuned for part two, an update and tale about the herb area in the new side garden area we started this past spring. Part three will involve a sneak peak at the newest garden area we are currently working on, and might include pictures of a new herb & flower bed over there!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On eager anticipation

I've been wrestling with some things lately, as I mentioned in a past post. My husband is now on weekday day shifts until the new year, and I'm looking back on the last 6 months of night shifts and am a little undecided on a few things. I was totally counting down days until he ended night shift, and I'm trying to figure out whether I'm ok with that. I know that the last 6 months have had a lot of stuff going on (read, new baby!) that won't have quite the same impact on future night shift sessions, but there was a lot of time that I felt like I was simply biding my time until he was back on dayshift and more present in the day to day of me and the girls. Waiting for the next 6 months is no way to live my life for the other 6 months of every year...

The mister loves his job, and his favorite shift is night shift, but the toll on me was more than I had counted on now that Baby E is here. Each week, from Tuesday evenings until Sunday afternoons, I really didn't get any breaks. He was only awake for a couple hours, and most of that time he spent getting ready for work, eating a bit of food, and doing his evening chores. Some days he didn't even get to the chores, and they fell to me. There wasn't usually time for him to watch the girls so that I could get a break and run down to the garden, let alone go and do something more, and with the two girls only intermittently matching up their nap schedules, and the baby typically falling asleep around 10, there just wasn't much time for me to escape and do my own thing when he wasn't around, awake, and capable (not to mention willing!) to look after the girls for a bit.

So to say I had been eagerly anticipating him being on day shift, home for supper and bedtime every night of the week, and being home (and on the same sleep schedule as us) both days on the weekend is likely a huge understatement. Since its looking like half of his years will be on night shift, and half on day shift, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to manage the night shift time, because personally, biding my time half of my year is no way to live. Clearly I've got to get the night shift game figured out, but I'm ok with not being quite there yet this past go around. Come January, he's on night shift for another 6 months, so that will be the true reckoning of how to best manage keeping my head well above water during night shift!

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the extra time with him on evenings and weekends, and try and get a bit ahead of the game on things that otherwise could wait until the first half of the coming year. I'm proud to be a cop's wife, and definitely willing to sacrifice to help him serve, I just need to figure out how to better manage our home life under these new-to-us schedules - we had never done even a month of night shift before this past 6 months, not to mention night shift with a new baby - so overall I think we've pulled through just fine :)
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