Gardening With a Chance of Drinking

First, I have to start off with expressing deep gratitude for all of the support I've gotten over the past few posts. I've realized in this process how important it is to have a "tribe" of folks nearby who fiercely support, and challenge, you. The texts, emails, calls, and love I've gotten since starting just a few months ago has been incredible and I'm so grateful. Thank you.

(I'm fresh off reading "A Year of Yes" by Shonda Rhimes, so I'm all about female empowerment, self-love and genuine relationships right now, if you can't tell.  It was an excellent read).

I've been holding off on this post until we were certain that everything would stay alive -- we planted around 4/5 weeks ago, were away in Mexico this past week (SO wonderful!), and everything is still alive and actually thriving so I think I'm safe to post! This is definitely a departure from the work on the interior of the house, but I'm in the middle of a few different projects and will post on them soon.

A few years ago, I couldn't keep a false plant alive. I've had a lot better luck in the past year with several indoor plants -- I've managed to keep several orchids alive and blossoming and my fiddle fig tree is pretty much my child. Do you ever have moments when you feel really, really old? Yeah, just had one of those...

Anyways. Josh and I have been talking about planting a garden for a long time. We've had several beautiful weekends in NC, so we gave it a shot. We started with herbs (both as a test run, but also because it was a bit too early to plant veggies). If you live in NC and are thinking of starting a garden, I would recommend checking out The NC Department of Agriculture. You can mail in a sample of your soil and get a whole report back about what types of crops will grow in your soil and when to plant. Pretty amazing!

We decided to go with a raised bed -- I liked the aesthetic of it, and Josh liked that it would keep everything contained. We'll go with the same process for our veggies this weekend. I would have liked the beds to be deeper, but because our natural soil was really good, we went with a more shallow bed so that the herbs could take root in our own soil (as opposed to potting/top soil).

The most important step in this whole process is to have a cold beer(s) and some good jams nearby. Some of our projects seem so high stress (painting expensive cabinets, ripping out floors) that we welcomed the chance to work on something that was low stakes and high reward. I was definitely feeling good by the end of this project and we had a lot of fun and laughter in the process.

The first step was to level out the soil for good drainage and dig out any big roots. We put the garden in the back of our yard because it was where we got the best light and was the most level.

Then, we built the frame (just making  simple square with the edges and screwing with decking screws). There are tons of tutorials online that you can tweak to your specifications. You can also buy these boxes pre-made, but it is SO much cheaper to build your own. One really important note is that the wood should be cedar or untreated. If you use wood with a stain, it can kill the plants. Next, we added in the potting soil. Having a math teacher husband is so helpful here because we has able to do the math to know how much a bag of potting soil would cover. Smart guy I married :) 

After that, we just followed the instructions for planting the different herbs. We planted dill, flat leaf Italian parsley, Italian oregano, Greek oregano, and rosemary. We have since added basil, which is doing great, but it was too early to plant it with the initial planting so you won't see a picture of it below. We will also add in cilantro, but again, was a bit too early.

I definitely need to put some updated pictures in because the herbs have gotten huge compared to these pictures. I really like how the garden breaks up our backyard and it makes the whole yard smell amazing.   It's so nice to have the fresh herbs on hand for cooking and using in cocktails (a gin and tonic with lemon and rosemary is a delight). We've used them almost every night -- so much cheaper than buying from the grocery store and a great little hobby we're enjoying together (there's that "I'm so old" feeling creeping in again!)

Have a great week! I'm taking a blogging class on Wednesday, so hoping to have some new tricks soon.