Sunday, June 29, 2014

It's About Thyme

Thyme in a mixed herb planting
We cook a lot.  And we use a whole bunch of herbs.  It gets super expensive. Those of you who buy herbs know what I mean.  So that's why I try to grow as many as I can.  I'll have future posts about the other herbs I grow, but today it's about thyme. 

So thyme is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean.  In the Middle Ages, it was thought to bring courage.  Well, it's 2014 and I say, who among us today couldn't do with an extra dose of that?

There are all sorts of thyme so read your plant tag carefully.  If you plan to cook with it, be sure to get "Thymus Vulgaris."  The name "vulgaris" would indicate otherwise, but it really is the kind you put in your food.  It's not to be confused with other types of thyme that you probably shouldn't eat like "woolly thyme" (a great ground cover) and "creeping thyme" (a great ornamental).

I have found that thyme likes full sun, heat, and excellent drainage.  It's perennial in most regions so mine often returns year after year.

I use thyme in my chilis and sauces as well as chicken marinades.  If you're a pork and beef eater, it's a great seasoning for those.  

So grow some thyme.  It's so easy and you'll save yourself some bucks (and add to your courage).
Thyme for cooking ("culinary" thyme)

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Playing Catch Up

It's just dirt

I spent two straight weekends planning, buying, organizing, and planting.  I first had to get the basic supplies:  potting mix, earthworm poo, Osmocote time-release fertilizer, a few pots to replace the ones that were cracked beyond repair from the winter, and a new watering hose. Oh, and another pair of gloves.  The ones shown here keep my palms dry when things start to get messy. 

I'm often astonished at how much I pay for dirt.  It's just dirt.  But be sure not to use soil from your garden when you plant.  First, it's way too heavy and drainage will be a problem.  Second, it might harbor bacteria and fungus that will damage your new plants.

Start scooping
If you haven't started planting your containers, it's really not too late.  Just be sure not to buy anything that would have already bloomed in the spring.  Unless, of course, it's a perennial and you don't mind waiting until next spring.  In that case, make sure it will survive the winter in your pot by checking the hardiness zone.  You can get all of that information by reading the plant tag.

Now get digging.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Chaos Now. Order Later.

Temporary chaos
Off to a slow start this year.  The deck was looking pretty shabby by the end of last season.  And parts of the railing were on the wobbly side.  I wouldn't let anyone within three feet of the edge of the deck, which meant they could step to the center of the deck, and then not move one inch in any direction.  So we had some repairs done--and some sprucing up.  I'm still working on getting things in shape.  It's only the beginning of June so there's a long season ahead.  So stay tuned.  I have some things to show you that are new this year.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books