The Charmed Garden

From Planning to Planting, and from Harvest to Table.

Here’s to Friends in Green Spaces

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This past July 4th my family and I planted a veggie and herb garden for my dear friend, Deb.  It has taken a couple of years to convince her this would be a good thing. To be fair, she’s told me many times that she’s not a gardener, but she does eat very healthy. I told her this would make that easier as she could just step outside to get her salad.  She wasn’t buying it. So, I shamelessly appealed to her weak side, her grandchildren.  They live in Virginia, but spend a good chunk of the summer with their Chicago family and they’re still young enough to think watering plants is a treat. This is something she can do with her all grandchildren.  She really is a great mom, and a fab Buscia, so she’s got great kids and fab grandkids.


We kept it small and simple.  We used two prefabricated raised beds, 1 foot high and 4 x 4 feet wide. We put in 13 cubic feet of organic garden soil between the two beds and added 1 cubic foot of mushroom compost to each bed.



Both beds each have two Tomato plants. Each have different herbs. One bed has Peppers and the other has Green Bush Beans.  To give the beds a color other than green (at least until the Tomatoes come in) I added annual Moss Roses to the edges and used yellow tomato cages.


The Tomato plants, which I had grown from seed at home, had been waiting a very long time for their new home. Needless to say there were more roots than soil when I could finally plant them. I broke up the roots, pinched off the bottom leaves and buried the stem deep. You can see the steps in these photos. Tomato plants can and should be buried deep.  New roots will grow along the buried stem, giving the plant a stronger root system. A stronger root systems means more access to water and nutrients giving you more Tomatoes faster.  Whether in a pot or in the ground, set each tomato plant so that up to 2/3 of it is buried.


The Green Bush Bean plants and the Pepper plants were also in a holding pattern at my house for too long. Frankly they looked like they were escapees from the Island of Misfit Plants. I buried them deep too and gave them all a very healthy dose of organic fertilizer. Organic fertilizer won’t burn plants as they are derived from plant material versus synthetic fertilizers, and therefore do not have salts added to them. They will also improve the soil structure which is important because we plan to use these beds for many years.


The herbs are Lemon Thyme, Garlic Chives, Sage and Basil. I also tucked two cucumbers plants in the corner right next to the fence.  I made a hard sell on the cucumbers to the boys. They looked right at me with serious little faces and said “We don’t like vegetables.” Insert laughing emoji with my face on it here. That actually hadn’t crossed my mind.

I’m betting that they’ll like at least one of these veggies before the end of the summer. Nothing beats fresh from the garden flavor. Nothing. 🙂


Author: Laurine M. Byrne

I received my certification as a Landscape Designer from Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois and I received my horticulture education through classes at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois and through the master gardener program at Univ of Illinois Extension. In my designs, I love mixing veggies and herbs with native perennials and flowering bushes as you can see from the pictures of my own yard. I love creating gardens for people who like to garden, not just installing traditional landscaping, but actually creating gardens that the homeowner connects to personally. I love that my clients who thought they couldn't grow anything now have green thumbs, because all it takes is the right plant in the right site. And I really love that my clients become my friends in the process of creating their gardens.

One thought on “Here’s to Friends in Green Spaces

  1. Love raised bed gardening! Your beds look wonderful! We have herbs in one, tomatoes in one and so on. It was a fabulous summer for the garden this year.


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