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Kitchen Garden

The little cottage garden is starting to really come together. Justin & I have been collecting our pistachio & peanut shells since September. Originally, I had planned to use them as mulch for the garden beds, but then when I realized that the mulch for the ground around the sideyard area was worn and thin, I decided to try it there. I love how it looks, and I love how the salty goodness keeps the weeds down.

Little side garden paved with pistachio and peanut shells

This year, we bought a warming mat and a walk-in greenhouse to start the plants early, and it has really paid off.

springtime greenhouse
Baby tomatoes
Pepperoncini peppers – I didn’t grow the pepperoncini from seed, but I think the rest of the peppers I did grow from seed including Thai Bird, Habanero, Anaheim, and Cayenne.

We have three areas that we grow stuff in. First, the sunny south-facing side area with the pistachio-peanut walkway; the partly-sunny backyard where we grow the greens (below), and the other side of the driveway where we keep the peppers in moveable containers.

pepper section

The driveway spot is the sunniest spot, but it’s not the most practical place, so we bring moveable things there to get the most sun when the trees grow in.

from left to right, back to front, clockwise: Fig, Sage, Goji Berry, Mouse Melon (back), Cilantro (dotted all over), Rosemary, King Napa Cabbage, spring onions & greens.

We keep a significant army of herbs in our kitchen garden. I’d dare to say that’s mostly what we grow, and we leave the fruits to the community garden plot. In addition to the pictured, we keep several types of basils, oregano, thyme, onions, parsley, and Mexican tarragon.

I have a few projects in a series I call #lunchboxarboretum where these plants come directly from my lunches. In it, I have grapefruit, pomegranate, and pineapple. In the past, I’ve had others, but they’ve moved onto another realm.

This last winter, I planted a bunch of grapefruit seeds from my lunches, and when these little seedlings get big enough, I’m going to try grafting on to my original plant (above).

Baby Grapefruit plants.

Another avenue of #lunchboxarboretum (but not for growing) is the several-years collection of cherry pits that I plan to make a winter comfort pillow out of later, when I have enough.

Lastly, I have a beautiful little Mexican tarragon that I overwintered from a cutting that I took from my plot in the community garden.

Mexican tarragon – has a very nice anise flavor.

Mexican tarragon is in the marigold family, and it’s got a lovely, pungent flavor similar to anise. I sometimes use it instead of Thai Basil in Nime Chow rolls (my favorite summertime meal).

It’s still very early in the summer, so I hope to do some updates to how things grow here. This is our first year growing tomatoes at home (we usually relegate that to the community garden), so we’ll see how all of that goes.

If you’re in the market for a grapefruit plant, let me know! They’re reasonably cold-tolerant, but they must come indoors for deep winter.

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