Garden Tool Tuesday – Books – the unconventional Garden helpers.

booksIn the age of the internet it’s so easy to look something up or google the wanted information but I am still a lover of  gardening books. Note books, How to books, reference books, old & new books, sometimes it’s just nice to hold them in your hands and take your time looking through without the glow of a monitor looking back at you.

One of my favorite books I use each year is a graph paper book. It lets me plan out my garden in square feet.  It’s so helpful to me to get a graphic view of where I’ll put my plants, knowing that each one will have the room needed to grow and thrive. It’s also helpful to determine which plants will be neighbors by taking into consideration the amount of space is needed for each one.  If I’m feeling especially creative I might use colored pencils to add life to my garden planning. The one I use regularly is in the photo accompanying this blog. It’s nothing extraordinary, just something I picked up at Joanne’s for about a buck but it has flowers on it and it makes me happy.

I also have a garden journal that has dream garden starters like, wish lists and colors I’d like to try. The one I have is one that I received as a gift years ago. It’s a great way to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. I like to reflect on my gardening successes and some of the not so successful things. It helps me keep track of plants I may have moved and how they grow in different areas of my yard or garden.  I keep my garden design graphs in the journal as well.

I also have a small collection of reference books that I have held onto through out the years. Burpee’s American Garden Series is a great source of information an inspiration. There are some How-to books for a variety of outdoors projects on my shelf too. One thing I’ve found is that you can usually find some old but very interesting gardening books at tag sales. I picked one up a couple of years ago about the Victory Garden and another about Homestead gardening. These books are just fun to read. It’s interesting to see how folks have gardened in the past 60 years or so.

I have to admit I don’t have a Farmers Almanac this year. I used to get one for my Dad every year when he had a garden but now I just look online. I have always liked checking the growing seasons in the Northeast and what the weather predictions might be. Even though we live in a digital word I’ll still be on the look out for books that pique my interest to add to my library. Sometimes these books are helpful to my gardens and my soul.

What are some of your favorite gardening books? Please share, I’d love to know!


In the beginning …. chives

This is my first blog post for the Happy Herb Gardener so I wanted to start with the first herb I see in the spring, chives.

The first herb I see after a long winter is chives.  My other herbs are still asleep under the leaves but the chives poke through with their new green blades. I know that spring is here and that makes me happy. It’s still pretty cold in the North country when they come up and I’m always surprised at how they survive.

Chives are a perennial plant that grow from 12 to 20 inches tall and are closely related to garlic, scallions and leeks.  They don’t mind the cold and will spread out on their own. They also have one of the longest growing season of all my herbs. Those are just a few of the reasons why chives are simple to grow and are one of my favorite herbs.

Chives blossom with a pretty purple flower. The flowers are edible but sometimes I just make a bouquet of them. They dry nicely on their own.

I would not recommend to hang dry chives but it is quite easy to freeze dry or make ice cubes with it. I think that fresh out of the garden is the best . You can’t beat some fresh cut chives on a baked potato with sour cream. Chives are also a delicious simple addition to biscuits, dips, dressings and more.

I’m looking forward to sharing more photos and information that make me a happy herb gardener. If you would like to join me, please subscribe, like or comment and we can be happy herb gardeners together!