The Great Garden Give Away!

Basil with tomatoes are not only delicious and easy as a dish but they are also a dynamic duo as growing partners in the garden.  Crops or plants that do well together are part of a concept called companion planting. We touched on this in a former blog post, but it’s worth mentioning again (at least we think it is). There are certain plants that support each other as they grow.  On the flip side, there are also plants that shouldn’t be hanging out together--one such example are, peas and garlic or onions, which do not take well to one another.  Mapping out your garden to take advantage of companions (and avoid plants that bully others) will take your garden experience to the next level.

We provide clients an individualized garden map and guide based on their garden goals.  Every time we hand over a client their garden map and guide for each vegetable or herb they selected, their eyes open wide and their smile is even bigger.  One client even started crying he was so happy to receive his map and guide for his six garden beds. Now why would one start crying with tears of joy about a garden map and guide?  Although gardening is fun and rewarding, we also know that it can be so overwhelming! Many of the resources you can find are geared toward farmers and gardeners with years and years of experience.  That’s where we come in. We are here to support our gardeners by sifting through the overwhelming information and providing a garden experience that is fun and worry-free.  We do this by building custom cedar garden beds, testing and making your soil garden ready, creating garden maps and guides all while building our community through our subscription-based newsletter. The newsletter guides our gardeners every step of the way to growing a healthy garden.  We coach gardeners through watering, pruning, pest & disease management and everything that Mother Nature tosses our way. Whatever may arise, you will know that we are in this together. Once harvesting begins, we look forward to sharing our favorite recipes. We want you to be part of our Peas, Love and Parsley Garden Community too!  


Peas, Love and Parsley are excited to share a giveaway with you.  We are partnering with A. Bonadio & Sons, a leader in Eastern Massachusetts landscape services for over four decades for a special giveaway!  Beginning this week we will be doing a giving away through our instagram page.


How to win:  Now through May 31, follow us on instagram, tag three friends in the comments section who love to garden on our giveaway post.  Must be within a 30 mile radius of Waltham, MA.


Garden Bed Starter Package includes:

  • One 4x4 Cedar Garden Bed Frame

  • Soil/Compost Fill

  • Building, Delivery, Installation & Planting

A $499 Value!


GOOD LUCK!


The Seedlings Are Ready!

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We all have things that make us burst with joy, do a little dance and giggle with glee.  For us, it’s that moment in the season when it’s time to decide what plants we will be growing in our summer garden.  We have been planting seeds, building garden beds and meeting with clients to cue them up for the growing season. This is truly our favorite time of year. All of this preparation makes the first harvest of the season nothing short of magical.  Speaking of harvest time, what vegetables and herbs will you be choosing for your home garden? How do you choose? It’s a blank canvas and it’s all yours!



Picture this…

It’s mid-summer and you are hosting your annual cookout with family and friends.  What’s on the menu? What special cocktail will you be serving? Now imagine what will be ready from your garden.  Perhaps a cucumber salad with fresh basil? How about a grilled vegetable plate of zucchini, peppers and eggplant? Maybe some delicious steamed beans drizzled with olive oil and some fresh garlic and chopped parsley?  What about a Bloody Mary station with fresh horseradish and chive blossoms or a muddle your own Mojito Bar with fresh mint, lavender and basil? Green garden salad with fresh shucked peas and a homemade shallot vinaigrette is one of our summer staples. Oh and there’s nothing like peas straight from the garden. We can barely get them in the house as the neighborhood kids like to serve themselves when the pods emerge.  



As you begin to select your seedlings for your garden, take a moment to think about your garden goals while considering harvest times.  Are you looking to try new recipes? Do you want to eat more salads to keep up your healthy routine over the summer months? Perhaps you have a summer event planned and you want to make your friends “green with envy” by serving them your own farm to table meal. Maybe you are a taco-loving family and you are going to step up your salsa-making game and need to be certain that you have jalapenos, cilantro and heirloom brandywine tomatoes at the ready. And nothing says summer like a garden inspired beverage.  Our personal favorite is a spicy cucumber margarita!

The point is, you need to truly make your garden yours.  Put time and thought into your seedling selection that allows you to make your plot of land a reflection of you!




Lets Talk Trash...

Let’s Talk Trash

I have a confession to make, I am a natural tosser.  I get a thrill out of throwing things away. Nothing makes me happier than hearing the sound of the garbage can slamming shut, knowing I have one less piece of clutter in my space.

But when it comes to food waste, I can’t help but feel guilty when I see the onion skins, herb stems, and carrot tops lying in a heap on top of my son’s torn Pokemon cards.  We plan our vegetable gardens, test the soil and fold in compost, create garden plans to make sure each plant will be happy next to its assigned row mate, and the day that one of our littles come in with dirt smudged hands and a basket full of beautiful homegrown veggies is like Christmas Morning.  Our vegetable tops, skins and lumpy bits deserve better than to decay with Pikachu!

What’s a gardener to do?

Save your Scraps!

Every time I chop vegetables, I make two piles: one for compost and one for soup stock.  The compost pile gets thrown into a small bin that sits on my counter and the soup scraps go into a re-purposed plastic food bag (mine are usually bread and grape bags) and put in the back of the freezer.  I also save chicken bones and Parmesan cheese rinds in separate bags. Once a month, or when I have to go digging for my secret stash of Ben and Jerry's, I throw all the scraps into a large stock pot, cover it with water and put it on the back burner to simmer all day. If I have added bones to the pot, I will add a tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar (which helps pull the collagen out of the bones) and add one tablespoon (or a hefty pinch) of salt.  I also like to add in star anise and a bay leaf to give a little depth of flavor to the finished stock. Bring it to a boil and then let the stock simmer, partially covered, for 2-4 hours. The longer it simmers, the more concentrated the flavor will be. Turn off the stove, let it sit for 20 minutes, then drain it into a large bowl using a colander lined with cheesecloth. Separate the stock into 1 quart containers (old yogurt containers work great- just make sure the stock is cool to touch).  Let them come to room temperature and stick them in the fridge. Skim the solids off the top the next morning and then freeze the containers. You can use this stock for everything- soups, pastas, stir fries, simmering vegetables, sauces etc...


Scraps to Save for Stock:

Carrots Scraps

Onion/garlic skins

Celery Scraps

Fennel

Herb Stems

Parmesan Rinds

Bones


Vegetables to Leave out:

Tomatoes

Peppers

Eggplant

Kale/collards

Purple Onion Skins

Squash skins

Potato skins


Composting the Lazy Addition

Many people have very strong opinions on how you should compost, but I have three young kids, an ever growing menagerie of creatures and limited patience, so this is my down and dirty guide to composting.

  1. Find an area in your yard that is out of the way to create your compost heap.  I like to have mine close the vegetable garden, because I can easily access it when I am working in the garden or when I need to pump up my soil.  

  2. Make or buy an outdoor composting heap.  We made ours out of old Pallets, but you can buy yours online, or build one if you are feeling handy.  Many communities also offer compost bins at a reduced cost for residents. Regardless of your make and model, be certain that you have a way to access your compost.

  3. Get an old bowl to set on your countertop so that when you are in the kitchen, you can throw your scraps in it.

  4. At the end of the day, dump the contents of the bowl on your compost heap.   

  5. There’s a lot of differing opinions, but I like to use a rake or shovel to give my compost a stir every once in awhile.



Things you Can Compost:

Eggshells

Coffee grinds

Fruit scraps

Vegetable scraps

Grains

Nuts

Natural Cotton

Paper Products

Yard clippings


The decay process is much easier when things are shredded or broken into smaller pieces- think t-shirts and paper


Things to Leave Out:

Animal Product

Animal Waste

Synthetic Fibers

Plastic

Glass

Aluminum

Any yard clippings that have been chemically treated


Try these methods for a month and you will be amazed at how much more room you have in your garbage can for other things like glitter spills, slime and birthday party favors.

Happy Growing!


So you want to grow a garden….

So you want to grow a garden….

We have all seen the TV shows and magazine articles featuring smiling families casually picking vegetables out of their beautiful, flourishing and well-maintained home gardens.  We all have dreams of impressing our friends and family with delicious, healthy, home cooked meals centered around our garden harvests.  

But let’s face it, gardening can be intimidating; it takes lots of time, and can, at times lead to more frustration than you planned for.

Gardens require a careful and coordinated blend of planning, science, love and patience in order to thrive.  

We like to start by focusing on the four S’s:

SUN

Be a Sun Worshipper!

Most vegetable gardens require full sun (6-8 hours per day)

This means that the cute space under your oak tree may not actually be the best place to start your garden.  Spend time during the morning, early afternoon and late afternoon wandering your outdoor space and noting where the sun is most consistent.  The sun will ultimately dictate where your garden will grow best.

SPACE

Dream big but start small

How much space do you have to dedicate to your vegetable garden?

Remember that when filling your beds those seedlings will grow exponentially and need room.  Make sure to follow the recommended spacing guidelines to avoid overplanting.

Beyond physical space, you need to think about the space in your life that you can dedicate to your garden.  The more plants you have, the more time you will need to spend caring for them.

SOIL

Repeat after me… Soil is not Dirt.

Want to know the top secret of farmers?  It's in the soil. You can not have a successful garden without first taking care of your soil.  Soil should be tested before planting to learn of its pH level and the nutrients that are present or lacking.  Once the levels have been determined, soil amendments can be added to compost to support healthy plant growth. Seasonal vegetables also benefit from crop rotation to help keep the soil nutrient rich and balanced.  

SEEDS

Did you know that most farms start their seeds in March?

Many types of seeds do best when started early in greenhouses.  This helps to ensure gardeners get a full harvest during the short New England growing season.  We believe in buying seeds and seedlings as locally as possible. This helps ensure that you are getting healthy plants that are made for our local climate.  Big box stores may offer a large variety of tempting seedlings but they are often root- bound, and treated with chemicals that will prevent pollinators from visiting your garden.  

We hope to see you in the garden soon!