Raised Beds & Herbs, Aug. 2019

Just a few quick photos for now, to show the progress these last few months. See my previous post for more details about the plants featured in my beds this year!

More info & links on all these plants to follow soon. I will find some time next month to write about all the great plants that grew in my garden this year. Also working on a post about my Shade Evergreen garden. I planted it this year, in the super shady front yard.

Purple Coneflower

The summer garden work is over, and this crazy fall heat wave has broken. Now, I have time to catch up on writing about the plants that bloomed for the first time this year.

Georgia Native Plant, Zone 7b, Echinacea Purpurea, Giant Purple Coneflower,
‘Echinacea Purpurea’

One of the spectacular native plants I bought at NightSong Native Plant Nursery’s Plant Sale last year, the Giant Purple Coneflower or ‘Echinacea Purpurea’, bloomed from June through August. There were five blooms total, and I recently cut off the dried seed heads to save for planting next year. I planted it in a 6 inch container last year, and am transplanting to in ground location today! (October 12th, 2018)

I found some fascinating info at my favorite wildflower site, US Wildflowers. The photos on this site are fabulous, and this site is an incredible free resource for plant identification.

Also, Southern Living has a great article by Gene B. Bussell on Purple Coneflower, detailing new hybrids being created, along with their uses in the southern garden.

I moved the plant from the container to the in ground location, where it will get good southern sun exposure. I will also be able to see the blooms through the deck railing. I transplanted on October 12th. All the leaves are gone now, but hopefully it will return next spring! I sprinkled one seed head all around the base of the plant, and saved the other four for planting next spring.

Organic Raised Bed Veggies

The three raised beds have produced more this year than I hoped! I harvested many beans, peppers, and herbs. I will give descriptions & details, with links, for all plants soon. Here are a few photo galleries & brief info for each month from June through August, 2018.

June

July

August

I planted new fall & winter seeds the week of Sept 19. See my previous post for detailed information about the raised bed building process, seed starting, and garden harvests from earlier this year. Also, my next post will feature some of the gorgeous, Georgia native plants that finally bloomed in my garden this year!

GA Native: Dwarf Crested Iris ‘Iris Cristata’

This native Iris, Iris Cristata came from the Night Song Native Plant Nursery plant sale, in Spring 2017. I thought it died last summer, but it came back early this Spring and bloomed two times!

I placed the rhizome on top of a ridge of dirt at the front of the bulb bed, sandwiched between the huge 2-3 foot tall bearded Irises. The Iris Cristata is super tiny, at about 6-10 inches tall.

The Georgia Native Plant Society is a great resource for information on Georgia’s native plants.

2018, GA, Zone 7b, Iris Cristata
Picture from last week. Only about 6-8 inches tall. Lots of new growth since blooming

I have a few new posts in the works about the new 3rd raised garden bed, and all the plants and herbs I am growing this year. Also, a great post to come soon about the Atlanta Botanical Garden. I was super excited to visit the gardens there for the first time, on May 5th, 2018.

Raised Beds, June-August 2017

I will post details on all 2017 plants soon. I am so busy with the gardening work, I haven’t had time to write much. What an exciting garden year!

August brought lots of harvests, and I planted a bunch of new seeds. I will post details about each very soon. I even canned some cucumber and jalapeno pickles for the first time this year.

I am working on a cool season garden for the first time this year with cabbages, lettuces, radishes, pumpkins, mustard greens, peas, and various herbs. I will post soon about those endeavors.

Seeds & Raised Beds 2017

I planted a multitude of seeds this year. I am amazed how many herbs and veggies fit in the two 3′ x 8′ raised, organic garden beds. We will see what survives & thrives in 2017.

Herbs grown from seed:

Parsley, Marjoram, Thyme, Lovage, Basil, Coriander/Cilantro, Catnip, Chamomile, Anise, Summer Savory, & Chives

April 2- the first round of seeds, in shade for a week to acclimate to outside

Veggies:

Peppers-Jalapeno, Tabasco grown from seed. I bought a Poblano (which the deer immediately destroyed), a Green Bell, & an Orange Baby Bell pepper.

Tomatoes: Cherry, Yellow Pear, Early Girl-from seed

Cucumbers-Pickling & Bush Beans- from seed

I started the 1st round of seeds indoors in early March- a few weeks later than usual. Those seeds became the plants above- pic taken before planting in the raised beds in mid April!

April 20th– (a little later than I like) I transplanted the first round, after prepping the beds. I also added a second round of new seeds directly to the soil. The Rosemary, Oregano, Lemon Balm, Peppermint, and Parsley survived the winter.

I added a second round of transplants and seeds in early May. Directly sowed more cucumber, bush beans & more tomato seeds.  I added my organic, homemade compost from the Earth Machine, mushroom compost,  organic pine bark mulch, and native clay soil to both beds.

This year, I have an infestation of what we call tater or pill bugs, (but they have many names). So far, they’ve only munched my cucumber leaves a little. I will leave them alone, as they don’t seem to be doing much harm. They are very interesting creatures, notable for their ability to clean heavy metals from soil.

Indoor Organic Herb Garden

Problem: need for herbs during winter

Another major problem this “winter” is the temps have been a balmy 70 degrees all January.

Solution: Indoor Herb Garden!

Parsley, sweet Basil, Peppermint, Thyme, Lemon Balm, Indoor Herb Garden GA, Zone 7b
Parsley x2, Sweet Basil, Peppermint, Thyme, & Lemon Balm

I brought them inside despite the crazy warm temps, thinking we would have a freeze months ago, but no. The photo below was just for pretty factor the day I brought the first few inside, just before Thanksgiving. They are now growing on a north facing windowsill (with no direct sun).

organicgarden herbs- peppermint, basil, & parsley brought inside for the winter in Ga Zone 7b
Peppermint, Sweet Basil, Lemon-Lime Basil, &Parsley

Herbs add flavor to all kinds of foods and drinks, and as a bonus are known for their medicinal properties. The parsley below was delicious in this chimichurri steak recipe.

Parsley is not the most flavorful herb, but adds a unique and understated flavor when combined with other ingredients.

organic Parsley harvested from raised beds in Ga Zone 7b in mid Nov 2016
Parsley harvest from the raised beds in mid Nov

I am working on a post about the Garlic and Onions I planted in the raised beds. We use so much of both that I knew I must grow some this year. I am experimenting with winter gardening for the first time in the raised beds. We are fortunate to have many warm months to garden here in Georgia. However, I hope we get a little winter here soon.

Lobelia Cardinalis, GA native

lobelia Cardinalis, Ga native plants, Zone 7b, blooming in August

Let’s start off the New Year with a remembrance of the brilliant red fireworks of summer’s celebratory blooms. This stunning (and aptly named) Lobelia Cardinalis was a super special find from the Nightsong Native Plant Nursery sale last spring. Most of the pics are from blooming time which was mid August to nearly October.

Blooms just kept opening, marching up the ever growing stalk. I waited a while to transplant into the ground. I brought it home at the end of April, and planted in ground in mid July. Seemed to be growing nicely in the pot , so I waited. I dug a hole a bit deeper and wider than the current container, added some organic compost from my Earth Machine composter, and soil from my organic raised beds to fill the hole. Plentiful watering required during the super drought we had this summer and fall.

lobelia cardinalis, Ga native plants, Zone 7b, planting time July
Lobelia at planting time in July

Lobelia Cardinalis, Ga native plants, Zone 7b, Blooming in August,
Mature Lobelia-over 3 ft tall!

Lobelia Cardinalis, Praying Mantis, Ga Native plants, Zone 7b,
Mantis Stalker

The mantis reminded me that there is an entire forest ecosystem at work right here in my own backyard garden. The link above takes you to an amazing paper prepared by Rachel G. Schneider about Georgia’s Forest Ecosystems. The mantis, butterfly, bee, and hummingbird love this plant; so do I, and even the cats (due to increased bird and butterfly activity).

It grew to over 3 feet tall, and I was awed and impressed by this amazing plant. This native to Georgia wildflower grows so well here, and I am thrilled to have in my backyard just under the overhanging shade of the oaks and hickories. It gets mostly full sun, with a touch of late afternoon shade in the worst heat of the summer sun. On some of the blazing hot days, it looked a little wilted in the direct sun, but quickly recovered.

Lobelia Cardinalis, Ga native plants, Zone 7b
Baby Lobelia

This plant became the center of a flourishing ecosystem, in one season. I’m writing an article about the Tallassee Forest (my extended backyard). This area was sacred & special to the Native Americans, and has an interesting history. Many native plant and animal species thrive here – some only here. I’m so fortunate and excited to be able to experience this great state of Georgia, and to write about the native plants and ecosystems in my area!

Summer Herb & Veggie Harvest

Just a few quick photos of the summer harvest from mid July. The organic raised beds are growing & producing nicely, & I’ve only picked off three tomato hornworms-minimal damage!

Lavandula angustifoliaLavender
Lavandula angustifolia
Lavender

tomatoesblogbedsjuly12blog

Oregano, Peppermint, Thyme, Marjoram, Rosemary, Lemon Balm
Oregano, Peppermint, Thyme, Marjoram, Rosemary, Lemon Balm

I will post more details about the garden later. I also have a post in the works about the beautiful gardens at President Andrew Jackson’s home, The Hermitage, which is located in Nashville, TN. I was fortunate to go view the gardens there a few weeks ago.