With our lockdowns comes a bit of anxiety and the unknown. Some people go to extremes with their fear and start to hoard household items or common grocery goods. None of that is going to make you feel better. We are all going through this change together.
We do have the time to garden, and it is good for you!
-You can get out there and weed the newly sprouted weeds of spring.
-You can clean up and plan your garden.
-You can observe the patterns of sun in your space and research the best things to grow.
If you are in an area that has a hardware store open, you may be in luck finding seeds.
-Or, if you have left overs from last year, most likely, they will have a good number of viable seeds.
-Or, maybe you know of a few friends or acquaintance that garden, and they are willing to share.
-Or, you happen to have extra seed and want to share.
I have been doing this last suggestion with some of the seed I have harvested from my own crops. I get to sit down, write a letter with seeds enclosed, and connect to another human outside my house!
If you happen to be planning, I’d like to share some easy and useful plants to consider for a starter garden. We all love tomatoes and peppers. They are staples, but let’s consider herbs and greens.
-Basil will help your tomatoes be tastier, and pesto, of course.
-Nasturtiums are a peppery edible flower that are easy to grow and look like small lily pads twining through your garden.
-Chives are perennial, attract beneficial bugs, and will add a needed zip to food.
-Dill is an easy herb that the butterflies will love (it’ll self seed readily). It is perfect in cheese sandwiches and necessity (to me at least) for quick pickled veggies.
-Rosemary. You gotta love the smell of rosemary, great seasoning for meats and potatoes.
-Mint should be planted with care. Now, I will tell you that I am not following this advice here in Puerto Rico. I want a lot of mint, and I want it to be a living mulch to keep the grasses from taking over my beds. So, I am planting mint in my veggie beds and ripping out when I need to. Most advice, and the logical way to grow mint, is to contain it in a pot.
-A good gourmet lettuce mix seed can serve you well with two harvests this growing season. Start in the cool of spring and then again in the late summer. Sow heavily and harvest entire plants.
-Kale, especially dino kale, is pretty in the garden and also great the entire season. It actually improves in flavor with frost.
-Mustard greens are a great way to get greens in the heat of summer. I actually grow a variety of mustard greens here as my lettuce. It can take the sun, heat, and humidity.
-Chard also does well the entire summer. There are red, orange, and yellow veined varieties which add a touch of whimsical color to your greens.
The added benefit to growing these leaves (and flower) is that you can ensure you are getting an organically grown crop (if you so choose). You can harvest just what you need, when you need it. Herbs and greens are essential in my garden. You won’t be disappointed adding them to yours. Happy Gardening!
Super thoughtful post, Ellen. Good work.