Florence Fennel - I've read that fennel seed can help to reduce gas when eaten just before the gas-causing food. Think broccoli and baked beans and such. With my increasingly restrictive diet due to extreme tummy troubles, I want to get some fennel growing and put it to the test! I got 20 seeds in this container. I will note that I will also be growing an unknown variety of fennel that I got in a trade a while ago, but those ones didn't make it into the containers tonight.
Lilac - Before we left the old house, I was able to snag some of the lingering seeds from the lilac tree in the backyard. It would always give us beautiful fragrant dark purple blooms. I planted some of the seeds from the tree last winter but nothing came up. I have planted the last six seeds from our old tree. I'm hoping they come up. Having a lilac tree in the yard was one of my "dream home" criteria, but by the time we moved in the lilac blooms would have been long gone. I don't recognize any of the trees as lilac, but perhaps I will be pleasantly surprised in the spring. Until then, I'm hoping perhaps we can bring a little piece of beauty from our old home to our new. If all else fails, I will see if I can get a cutting from my parents' lilac - but theirs produces light purple blooms.
German Chamomile - While I've never been one to make my own tea, perhaps that's due to not having the proper equipment. I have a little tea house and I've bought tea mixes from artisinal makers before... So perhaps some chamomile, fresh from the garden, would encourage me to start drying it to make my own tea. If nothing else, it's a perennial that will re-seed itself and attract pollinators, even if I decide chamomile tea is not for me. I planted about 100 seeds.
Rosemary - I have a love hate relationship with Rosemary. I love it, but I can't grow it for all I'm worth. This will be my fifth year attempting Rosemary from seed. I always end up buying a start from a local nursery and it struggles through the year before dying unceremoniously in the fall, never having grown enough to get a single harvest off of it. I planted 18 seeds this year.
Lavender Lady - This is another one that I've tried and failed with before. Our old neighbor told me it was one of her favorites, but she'd never been able to get it to grow either - and she was an avid gardener in her youth. I planted about 60 seeds in the jug. If they grow I'll know Jan is smiling down on our garden. She loved purple.
Purple Dark Opal Basil - Yeah, if you follow the blog, you've seen this name before too. Another variety I've planted before and never came up. This time I'm trying seed from a different company and hoping for better results. The year before last I found a purple basil plant in a local nursery and bought it - it grew wonderfully, lush, great harvests all year, and we still have some dried in the cupboard. I use it sparingly because I don't want to run out. I planted about 50 seeds this year.
Genovese Basil - I have too many of this variety in my seed collection, so I emptied out one baggy I got in a trade to clear some space. The seeds looked like they were crushed, so I don't know if they'll even come up. There were about 20 seeds in there.
Thai Holy Basil - Another purchase from eBay and a foreign seller. The seeds look to be correct, but who knows. I just want a lot of basil. It works great to keep mosquitoes away. Just bat at the nearest basil plant while out n the garden until you can smell it and all of the mosquitoes tend to go away pretty quick. When they come back, bat at the basil plant again. Or wipe a basil leaf all over your arms and neck until the smell sticks... Mosquitoes suddenly have somewhere else to be. It's also a great companion plant for tomatoes and other plants. I should have no shortage this year. I planted 100-150 seeds in this jug.
Broad Leaf Thyme - I bought these seeds from eBay a couple years ago. It's time to clear out some of the older seeds in my collection, so the 43 seeds in this jug are the last of this packet. You can never have too much thyme!
Oregano - I seem to have a lot of this in my collection as well. This particular packet (I used all 70-or-so seeds) came to me recently when I bid on a Listia auction for a random assortment of seeds (hey, I'm up for a surprise sometimes). Rather than add it to the collection, I put them right into a jug. If I'm going to be growing paste tomatoes this year and basil, it only seems fair to grow oregano too and we can make pasta sauce!
This brings our total outside to 35 jugs!
I still have 16 more containers cut and with the label and seed packets inside waiting for their turn at the soil station. They are a mixture of the remaining herb choices for 2018, and some more of the flower seeds the kids have chosen (almost all are new to us).
It's still pretty early in the season to start putting out a lot of the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants yet. The squash and melons are waiting too. I'm still trying to figure out how to sort the plants into two separate areas of the property. The easier space to work with is surrounded by black walnut. Corn, squash, beans, and black raspberries have no problems with black walnut (jugalone). That said, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, apples, and eggplants, among many others, cannot survive near black walnut trees. There is a large field on the north side of the property that would be excellent for an ever-expanding garden. Before they just borrowed it out for someone to bale up as hay. I suppose I'll have to get the contact information for that guy and let him know he will have to find somewhere else to get free grass hay from here on out. I don't really feel bad about it since he came onto our property unannounced and took away the bales without so much as asking permission. Not exactly the best way to introduce yourself.
Anyway, I'm a little worried about the logistics of putting a lot of our main crops in the northeast field. It's far enough from the house that the free-range goose and other assorted birds don't go there often, the dog can't see it if he's in the yard proper, and I worry it could become a target for local hungry critters. It's also far enough away that I would have to haul out buckets of water and figure out a system to water plants. I'm hoping to use a Back To Eden style system that uses mulch to keep moisture in the soil, but that may not happen in year one... In the mean time, I'll be fighting back years of wild grass growth and soil that probably hasn't seen any amendments in many years, if ever. I can only imagine my rabbits will struggle to keep up on production of enough natural bunny fertilizer to satisfy my garden needs the first several years as we start to get things set up.
After some discussion, and re-reading the manual for the septic mound, we've decided that in the spring it will be mowed short, and from there we will plant it all in flowers. Right now it's just the same wild grasses and a couple wildflowers like the field around it. Since I don't want to have to mow or maintain the mound, and it can't be used for anything with deep roots or to grow anything edible, why not use that space for a profusion of flowers? Maybe not as much bulb and perennial things, but with annuals and wildflowers that will re-seed themselves and spread as the years go by. It would be pretty to look at, would feed the bees and butterflies, and we wouldn't have to mow or mess with the mound at all.
There's also a small open space to the south east of the property, secluded by trees, and often partially waterlogged. It currently has grass and some weedy wildflowers. #3 has decided she'd like to plant some Black Eyed Susan flowers out there. It's been my experience that they're pretty hardy and tolerant of wetter conditions. We have lots of seeds for those, so again, why not? I encouraged her to continue researching more of the flower collection to see if we have any varieties that would be appropriate for the portion of that and another field that are sometimes quite soggy. Of course for now she's busy with school, so seed research will have to wait. Hopefully she can research over summer so she has a better idea of what is available to her next growing season. It also gives her a year to explore the property and find new places tucked away to decorate with pretty blooms to feed our pollinator friends.