Harvest Time!

In a previous post, I had written about starting my herbal garden, and I was very excited about my calendula and lavender seedlings.  I haven’t followed up on that post, but I’m happy to report that in real life, progress has been made!

Well, not so much for the lavender…I started with about 108 seeds of lavandula

lavender
The last of the lavender…can it be saved?

angustifolia.  I followed all of the instructions including stratifying the seeds (tried 3 different ways…) and closely monitoring light, temperature, and moisture.  Waiting for them to sprout took forever, but sprout they did.  Several in each little pot, and many died soon after…I’m guessing from strangulation?  Ultimately, only about 4 plants lived long enough to see the outside.  Of those, two more have died and one is in the process…the last one is growing sideways and still hasn’t reached six inches…

 

Everything that I had read said that lavender is notoriously difficult to grow from seed, but I think I overthought the whole thing.  My niece threw some seeds in the ground, and some others in pots, and her plants were a foot high by the time mine were 4 inches.  She had actual flowers by September…I wonder if I could grow clippings from her plant?

IMG_1389Luckily, my calendulas have been thriving all summer or I might have thought I wasn’t very good at gardening.  I’ve been harvesting blooms since June, and my plants have been wonderful to me!  I’m not complaining, but I have flowers drying everywhere and I am running out of space!  I have six plants in pots on the balcony, and a renegade seed that sprouted in the front yard…and they’re still blooming!

I think I forgot to mention that all of my gardening at this time is container gardening…we have next to no yard, and what little there is gets very little sun.  Our “garden” is on our second floor balcony.  I dream of acres and acres of my very own land…

But we’ve done pretty well, especially for two people who are learning as we go.  We’ve had fresh basil, thai basil, rosemary, lemon balm, peppermint and spearmint all summer, and now we are ready to harvest one last time.  We’re trying to figure out the best way to use or preserve this abundance before we lose it…drying seems most logical, but that seems to take a long time, and I really am running out of room.  My food dehydrator seems to be of no use with the low temps required to dry herbs…I have a few ideas, we shall see…

My boyfriend has been very successful with his hot pepper plant.  Literally dozens of hot peppers from one plant…if only our bell peppers grew like that.  In fairness, our bell pepper plant was a gift from 2 states away and got blown off of the patio twice…so the few small peppers were a blessing, and delicious.  We also have dozens of cherry-tomato sized heirloom tomatoes.  Next year we will plant them in larger containers lol.  They also got blown around a time or two.  We had no luck with the hanging strawberry plants I wanted so badly, that was just a waste of money.

We are already planning for next year, because we know some mistakes we’ve made and we have some ideas on better ways to do things.  And other things we want to grow.  But for now, it’s amazing to look around and reflect on the work we’ve put into nurturing our little garden…and enjoy the results of those efforts.  Somehow, growing things just makes you feel good…and connected.

Any comments, suggestions, or ideas are most welcome so please feel free!

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