|Photo by The Woodland Trust, "Swithland Wood near Loughborough, Leicestershire. Swithland wood is an ancient oak woodland and part of Charnwood Forest."|
This year I am planting Valerian, Lavender, Parsley, Basil, Cilantro, Dill, and Tarragon, to go along with my perennial herbs that overwintered of Thyme, Sage, Fennel, Lemon Verbena, Yarrow, and Oregano. For vegetables, I'll be planting (and already have planted a few of these) parsnips, beets, tomatoes, pumpkins, acorn squash, eggplant, green beans, and several others.
The hardest part of gardening where I am is improving the soil, which is red clay, and keeping the bugs away. In places where winters are comparatively mild, insects appear with the first tree buds, ravenous and vicious. Improving the soil is easy in comparison to fending off insects; I've put mounds of top soil hauled from the woods and compost from my backyard into my various beds and plots of ground.
But the insects just keep coming; I tried organic methods, and I tried harsh chemicals. Both yield paltry results. In the end, the best defense is the bugs themselves, namely spiders and wasps. But this year more will be required... I shall find a way to win.