Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2010 Garden

Anas bin Malik (ra) narrated that the Prophet (saw) said: "There is none amongst the Muslims who plants a tree or sows seeds, and then a bird, or a person or an animal eats from it, but is regarded as a charitable gift for him." (Sahih al-Bukhari: 2320)

Alhamdulillah, the time has arrived! After all of the digging and roto-tilling, the time to plant for our time zone has arrived.

Our time zone claims that it is relatively safe to plant on Mother's Day. However, last year, we had a hard frost a week after Mother's Day. My garden at that time was only a space behind my garage. It was a great jihad for my husband and I to scramble to put a tarp over that area. This year, I extended my garden all the way across my property. It is now THREE times as large, Masha Allah!

During the winter (because gardeners dream of their gardens the entire year long, lol), I read a great book called "Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening" by Louise Riotte.

She also wrote another book about companion planting called "Roses Love Garlic."

In the Introduction of the book, she states "The magic and mystery of companion planting have intrigued and fascinated humans for centuries, yet it is a part of the gardening world that has never been fully explored. Even today we are just on the threshold." Ms. Riotte says that some plants "assist each other to grow well" and that other plants repel insects and even other plants.

For example, "a major enemy of the carrot is the carrot fly, whereas the leek suffers from the onion flt and leek moth. Yet when leek and carrot live together in companionship, the strong and strangely different smell of the partner plant repels the insects so much that they do not even attempt to lay their eggs on the neighbor plant. They take off speedily to get away from the smell."

So, during the winter, I mapped out a companion garden. And, with notebook in hand, my feline companion, Buddy, and I headed out to our garden.

This is what the garden looked like after roto-tilling. Some weeds have grown around the edges, and strong winds from a few weeks ago had scattered maple seeds all over.

In the background, are some mums from last year, and a sage plant that survived the winter.

I used to have chives and lemon grass back there, too, but I moved them out of the garden to another area of my yard.  In that area, I also planted two strawberry plants and a big thyme plant lives there that was also transplanted from the garden area.  (Strawberries and thyme are hidden in the background of this image.)

With tomato cages and other supplies at the ready, Buddy and I begin our work of weeding and planting.

Wait a minute!  Where did my helper, Buddy, go?  Oh no!  There he is!  Can you believe it?

After a few hours of work, the garden starts to take shape!

Look who comes strolling in now that most of the work is done!

After all the work was done, the initial layout looks like the picture below.  What looks like bare areas were actually planted with seeds, and will Insha Allaah, be filled up when I separate the seedlings after they come up.

As you can see, Buddy approves! (Those are pepper plant starters.)


C said...

Asalaamu Alaikum

Wonderful post. We are going to extend our garden this year too insha Allah. Your cat looks like he is having a wonderful time scratching his back, lol. I've heard of companion growing before, these books look quite useful. We don't use the tomato cages, do you feel they are a big help? The whole companion gardening thing makes me wax philosophical about nieghbours in general.

Safiyyah said...

Wa Alaikum As Salaam C

Great that you're extending your garden, too. I think you'll be happy with your decision :)

Yes, I like the tomato cages - initially. Use them for things lik peppers, too. The problem is that if you are successful, and the tomato plants become extremely heavy, the cages may bend over. I usually put them very securely in the ground. Last year, I also anchored the cages to my garden fence. Another option is to get those cheapie gardening bamboo stakes and put them in the middle of the cage and tie the plants to them if extra support is needed.

Ah, yes neighbors ... we have renters next door (not my renters) and they don't keep their outside nice. Problem is that every time I pull in my driveway, I have to look at the side of their house :(

Looking forward to your gardening post, C!