Monday, June 9, 2014

The Crooked Apple Garden Tour 2014

I think it's a pretty universal idea that Memorial Day is the unofficial start of Summer, but here in our area's climate, it also means we can expect the hard frosts to stay away. Because of that timing, that's when most of our gardens make it into the ground, and that's true at The Crooked Apple!

I am always so excited for this moment, because it means great things are coming! There is something incredibly satisfying (and delicious!) about asking my boys to bring me ingredients from our garden while I'm cooking dinner. It's probably my favorite part of Summer!

Our plants have been in the ground for a couple weeks now, but here's how we got started.

This year, we planted:

♥ 6 Mountain Fresh Tomatoes
♥ 6 Pink Lady Tomatoes
♥ 6 Bell Peppers
♥ 6 Jalepenos
♥ 4 Broccoli
♥ 3 Spinach
♥ 1 Grape Tomato
♥ 1 Orange Cherry Tomato
♥ Lots of Onion Bulbs
♥ Cilantro
♥ Basil
♥ Parsley
♥ Lavender

We also have Oregano, Chives, Mint, and Strawberries that are all perennials (meaning they come back on their own), and a couple of blueberry bushes. 

All of those plants I listed we bought and planted as seedlings, which...I don't know, is kind of cheating? But we buy them from a local farmer that we visit at the farmer's market every year, and we've always had good luck with his plants. He offers advice on how to grow everything well, and he reminds me of my Grandpa! We don't just buy his plants for sentimental reasons, but I feel good about getting them from him, even if we're "cheating".

Even so, I want to work towards building our gardens from our own seedlings, so the kids and I planted some of our own. We filled a box with slices of paper towel tubes, packed them with potting soil, and planted watermelon, sunflower, tomato, marigold, and bachelor button seeds in them. The tomatoes and smaller flowers are already sprouting, but we're still waiting on the others! Once they get a bit bigger, we'll transfer the watermelon, tomatoes, and flowers to the garden, and the sunflowers to the landscaping near our fence. I'm excited about going through the whole growing experience with the kids - Luke loves to check in on the seedlings' progress and report back to me!

Use marigolds to help your gardens grow naturally!

We also lined the perimeter of the garden beds with marigolds, and will add in some bachelor buttons and more marigolds as our seedlings bloom. This is a first for us this year, but we've heard that they help gardens naturally by attracting bees to encourage pollination, and deterring animals from eating the veggie plants by confusing their sense of smell. We'll see how it goes!


Our herb garden has a couple of yearly over-achievers: chives + oregano. The past couple of years, I've had enough by mid-may to last me all year! I've already trimmed them back twice and gave some to friends, and they are still out of control! They require constant trimming, but that's okay. I'd rather they be overly-ambitious than fail to grow. We always fill in the remaining space with basil and cherry/grape tomatoes, and then kind of wing it with the remaining space. This year we went with new parsley and cilantro. Our hope is that by the end of the summer, we'll have all the ingredients between all of our gardens to make our own salsa! Knowing how large the tomato and basil plants get, I decided to plant our lavender in a small container (that's actually kind of acting as decor for our outdoor seating right now), and I'll re-pot it into something bigger as it grows.

My lilacs are at their peek right now, and as badly as I want to trim them and bring them inside, I don't want to see them gone from my little tree just yet. I admittedly don't know much about pruning lilacs or encouraging them to grow bigger and better - definitely something I need to look into, because I don't think there can ever be enough lilacs! Matt actually suggested that we put in a few more (we have 2) and create our own little lilac garden (or, "a wall of lilacs" as he put it). No arguments from me! I have a Dogwood tree that failed to take after we planted it last year, so we're thinking of pulling that out and filling the area with 2-3 new lilac trees.

SO, that's the start of our garden season! I'm really hoping our tomato and watermelon seedlings work out, and that we are able to grow our own salsa before the season is over! I can't wait to keep you all posted ;)


  1. You've got yourself a very productive garden. I love the mix of plants you sowed this season. Well, I guess, it's okay if you bought them as seedlings. At least you've saved some time in figuring out if the seeds are viable or not. Haha! Those lilacs are just lovely, by the way. I hope your green thumb becomes a lot more greener! :)

    Gwendolyn Reyes @ Tapestry Landscape

    1. Thank you!!! I love figuring all of this out! It's a lot of fun, and sharing what I've grown is so satisfying! Thanks for stopping by! :)