The cold, Canadian air is moving down into the valley this week. The kids are giddy at the possibility that school may be canceled. I too am happy. A snow day means more time for me to play. Surely I’ll play with the kids, cozy up to read a few books and sip hot chocolate. But it’s also means time to plan out the garden and finish up those DIY tasks that I have been putting off.
I know it seems silly to dream about veggie gardening in the winter, but thoughts of crunchy sugar peas, tart, perky tomatoes and fresh mint mojitos keep me motivated for spring. I’m so tired of looking out my kitchen window seeing the dead leaves and decaying branches. Now is the time to plan.
I have three raised beds that we built the summer we moved into our house in 2007. We’ve had lots of luck with high yielding, organic veggies, however I know I can learn lots more about companion planting and garden planning. And I can’t forget my cabbage crop last year that was infested (and consumed) by the aphids.
That’s why I brought a couple handfuls for gardening friends together a couple of weeks ago. And wow, did I learn some good tips. I never plant flowers next to veggies, but I think I’ve changed my mind. For example Nasturtiums have beautiful edible flowers and leaves that spice up salads. Plus they are great companion plants since they help ward off insects. And this is the kicker folks….they prefer to be ignored! Halleluiah…I found the plant for me! Apparently Nasturtiums thrive in poor, dry soils.
Borage is another plant I learned about. Jen A., an amazing gardener friend, has grown borage in her garden to promote healthy tomatoes. And an added bonus is that you can eat the cucumber flavored leaves and flowers. Jen pointed out you can crystallize the flowers in sugar to add to pastries (this is so very typical of Jennifer who loves everything pretty and Victorian). I’ve always wanted to toss a salad with colorful flowers that taste good and now I can!
Another friend, Cheryl, let me borrow Rodale’s Successful Organic Gardening, Companion Planting. The book has a wealth of information and includes an index listing each beneficial plant. I also like this DIY trellis for beans and peas.
So straight away I ordered my easy to grow seeds. This year I have to admit, I fell head over heals in love with the seed packaging from Botanical Interests that I ordered from them. I might make another order from Nichols Gardens (Albany, Oregon) since I usually buy from them and love their seeds.
Also for a cool DIY seed container check out my friend Katie’s blog. These containers are good for the environment and are easy peasy to make.
Do you have and tips that you do in the garden that seems to work? I’d love to hear about your experience!
Thanks for stopping by today, and hopefully I can say the same for the snow later on tonight…come on snow day!
Interested in more DIY gardening projects? Check out other DIY Studio posts for the garden: