Oops! Apparently I've accidentally deleted all of my images. I'll see about fixing that soon.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Herb Garden: Mint & Parsley

One of the reasons that we wanted to own our own home was to be able to have a garden.  Growing up we always had both a vegetable garden and an herb garden. And while the big vegetable garden for our backyard is still in the planning stages, we've been able to get the first part of the herb garden started.

Seeds planted the last week of May: Parsley & Spearmint

My husband doesn't get to help out on a lot of the projects due to time etc so he was excited to get to do quite a bit of the work on this one.  In May we planted seeds for both Parsley & Spearmint into peat starter pods which we had set into old egg cartons. Since the egg cartons are biodegradable, this is a great way to reuse them.

Parsley seedlings
 About a week into June (about 2 weeks after planting) the seedlings that germinated were ready to go outside.  Almost all of the parsley was up, but only one of the Spearmint made it.

ready to make a bed

We want the herb garden to be a more formal area of the yard, so we have divided up the side yard for a radial garden on the side of the house that gets the most sun.  The grass is very dense but we're pretty sure we can fight it off.

cutting in the bed

After laying out the placement of the bed, we cut grooves a couple of inches deep into the ground along the borders.  The bed 'guide boards' were then placed into the grooves.


We then levelled and squared the boards as best as possible and temporarily staked them into the ground with some inexpensive wood shims.

yay newspaper

Several layers of newspaper were added to (hopefully) discourage the grass from growing up through the bed.   Onto that went two bags of topsoil.

I always find this bit very satisfying

Not pictured: for a little added stability we've tacked a little bit of scrap craft board (probably basswood or something) to the corners. 

After that, half of the last bag of soil was spread on top and half was spread around the outside of the wood form to keep everything stable.


Then the seedlings were nestled into the soil.  I believe we ended up with about a dozen baby plants in all.

Chocolate Mint

At the other end of the bed we have a Chocolate Mint plant.  I've grown these before successfully in a container garden, but we're really looking forward to letting the mint really take over quite a bit.  This means the parsley will eventually need to be moved to a bed of its own, but they can share the bed for now.

The finished bed
The one lone spearmint seedling was planted down near it's minty cousin. 

Not having had a lot of gardening experience previously, my husband has taken great pride in 'his' plants, checking on them every morning before work and every evening on his way in.  Not all of the seedlings have survived, of course, but the ones that have are doing really well.

"It is disheartening that my spearmint died." he says. But he's started another dozen peat pots with seeds this weekend in the hopes that some of them will make it.
1 week later: the bed today

After the first bed has had a little more time to settle into place, we'll move the form to the next bed location and plant more seeds.  Several people have offered us a variety of seeds and heirloom plants as well (really looking forward to having some of the garlic chives that have been a part of our family for decades), and I'm looking forward to incorporating those into the plantings.

Chocolate mint already taking on the deep red hue of maturity :)

Mint is such a great place to start though, as it is useful in so many ways.  And with the summer weather already here it will be great to be able to pop outside for a few leaves to crush into ice water (or lemonade!) for a refreshing drink.

Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Daylilies on the porch are blooming

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