The picture above is the start of my back deck kitchen garden for this year (Isn’t the flowering Eastern Redbud behind the deck beautiful?). This is the beginning of our second spring of gardening in our own yard, and I am more thrilled about gardening than ever. I grew up in Northwest Florida where the sandy soil made planning a garden difficult. My mom attempted to grow vegetables, and her efforts were never met with success. Now that she and Dad are back in Mississippi, they have a garden that inspires my envy. I never knew I would enjoy gardening as much as I do, but I really do love the satisfaction that comes from working hard in the sun and getting my hands dirty in the soil. It is more relaxing and calming than I ever imagined. Sure, I get annoyed with the noxious weeds, but it seriously de-stresses me to be able to visually see the results of my labors. With the weather being as glorious as it has been in this late winter, we have been able to get a head start with the planting for the year. So, for example, yesterday I was able to come home and plant some strawberry plants in one of our garden beds. This weekend we spent some time weeding and planting some annuals in the drought garden.
We have also learned some lessons about what grows well in our first year. Last year, we put the potted kitchen garden on the screened porch, which was great for keeping them free of insects and other pests, but they didn’t get enough sunlight to sustain their growth. This year, we are moving the kitchen herb garden out to the deck (we just need to find some good plant stands to help them with getting sunlight) and then we see how things go. I also planted a potted tomato plant and I want to see how that does. Last year, we planted several tomato plans in our yard and they just grew and took over everything, so we need to find a place to control their growth better. I love the experimenting that comes with trying to plan a garden that works for you.
So this year, since the herbs will be out in the open, we will be relying on our alternate form of pest control. He works hard to keep the squirrels and deer out of the yard (I don’t know how much help he will be keeping the insects away). Here he is, on patrol with his menacing tongue: