The following is by Linn County Master Gardener, Claire Smith: My daughter’s garden is going to amount to a hill of beans. Her first family garden last year was so much fun that they planted another. Michelle dug a hole for a tomato and as she picked up the plant, two year old Charlie dumped a half package of green beans in the hole and then proceeded to cover the seeds with his yellow plastic rake, “Back and forth, Gramma, back and forth”. No problem, we’ll just use a trellis and enjoy Charlie and his beanstalk. Catie was a big help, too. She labeled a stake for both ends of the rows so we’ll be sure to know what we planted. FYI, the rows are all of ten feet long. Watering the seeds daily until they germinate hasn’t been a problem as long as no one minds that Charlie can turn on the spigot and water himself, Catie, and the neighbor’s dog. We’re waiting to mulch the plants until they sprout in an effort to keep Charlie off the rows. With limited garden space, they’re experimenting with a hanging container cherry tomato plant. The container will probably require watering daily, allowing the water to run through the container.
Charlie helped us plant Hosta in their back yard this week. The family is renovating the yard so some landscaping is in order. Their home is nestled on a hill surrounded by mature trees. We planted several Hostas between a retaining wall and a tree where they will enjoy speckled sunlight. Hosta prefers a rich organic soil, but they will grow in about anything. We have access to aged horse manure to augment the soil and topped that, of course, with hardwood mulch.
Michelle plans to alternate Day Lilies and Iris in a sunny spot in front of the house. Both are perennials preferring full sun and fertile, well drained soil, but once established will tolerate drought. The latter makes them a good choice for a busy working Mom with two equally busy youngsters.
Annuals will supplement other spaces. Petunias, Snapdragons and Salvia are sun lovers. Impatiens are shade/part shade lovers. All are easy keepers.
Eventually there will be shrubs and other flowering perennials. Michelle and her family are having such a good time experimenting with what works and what doesn’t with both their vegetable and flower gardens. And that’s what gardening should be about: family and fun!