A great garden isn’t just about what you plant, it’s about the overall appearance, too. Anyone can plant pretty flowers, but it takes time and effort to maintain a garden and keep it looking beautiful day after day. The following tips will get you on your way to a happy and healthy garden all season long.
One of the greatest skills a homesteader can acquire is the ability to produce food for yourself. Not everyone is blessed with acres to grow their own food, but even a pot of patio tomatoes can change how you and your family eats. Our quarter acre is home to over 1,000 square feet of backyard garden as well as a mini-orchard. Discover how to maintain your gardens and outdoor spaces.
No garden is complete without tomatoes. It’s the star when planting on a patio or in a huge garden. When you’re planting tomatoes, it’s important to decide how you want to support them. It will help you decide whether or not to remove the suckers. It also helps you determine the best spacing. We typically grow ours on a fence so we can maximize space, but this year in my free-spirited planting design, we are caging so we can sprinkle them throughout the garden.
One of the biggest concerns I hear from people when I tell them about our Back to Eden garden is “don’t the wood chips bind up the nitrogen?” I understand their concern. For those of you who know composting basics, you need a good ratio of greens and browns to create quality compost. Here I am dumping a bunch of browns in my garden and leaving it at that. Yikes!
But it doesn’t bind up the nitrogen and we add fertilizers to help the gardens further. Let me explain…
Sage (Salvia officinalis) is commonly referred to as common sage, or garden sage, but common doesn’t do it justice and it deserves a bit of space in the garden. Don’t worry, forming a 2′ ball at full-size, it won’t take up much space. With it’s woody stems and soft, silver leaves, sage can be planted in an ornamental garden and none would be the wiser. It is a perennial plant, so you need only plant it once and you can use enjoy it for 3-4 years before it begins to look lackluster.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a member of the mint family and you’ll want to make room for it in your herb garden this year. Don’t worry, although it is related to mint, and it does spread, it spreads at a much slower rate than the mints you might be familiar with. The first year you plant, it will look like a frilly clump, but as it gets older, it will form a nice rounded bush about 2′ tall. I plant it as a landscaping plant, with its violet blue spikes of flowers, because I enjoy its beauty as well as its culinary and medicinal uses.
I have been very impressed with the results I’ve seen in my Back to Eden vegetable garden, so naturally I looked for new ways to implement this permaculture technique. In the past, I’ve discussed my love for container gardening. Even though my vegetable garden has grown exponentially, I still utilize containers throughout our property. I decided to try something wacky and use the principles of Back to Eden in my containers.