Happy Earth Day To You

We’ve celebrated April 22nd in a number of ways over the years. For example, in 1985 I welcomed my little brother into the world (happy birthday Dan!) and in 2006 we put in an offer on a certain brick ranch and found out it was accepted later that evening. This year we’ve decided to do something especially earthy… we’re going to plan an edible garden! (Plan, not plant since many of the herbs we like need a bit longer before we dig them in).

Remember this post way back when about one of our bushes dying? We wondered what to do with the rest of the row now that one of the boxwoods bit the dust, but the overwhelming consensus was to rip out all the finicky overgrown bushes, expose more of that lovely brickwork, and start fresh.


We knew we could devote that small patch of dirt to something much more usable and functional (in fact it’s one of the only “full sun” areas in our entire almost-acre lot), so deciding to create an herb, veggie, fruit and even a bit of a cutting garden in that space excited us to no end. Don’t fresh organic food and flowers right out the back door sound like heaven? Here’s what we have so far:


Yes, there’s still lots of work to be done! And today’s as good a day as any (actually, it’s arguably better than most) to sit down with some gardening books and use trusty ol’ google to plan the rest of our garden. Other than a happy little raspberry bush (snagged for $9 at Lowe’s) and a surprise peony that sprung up from the earth (how did that get there?) we’re pretty empty.


Oh and we also transplanted a few daffodils (they never bloomed in the shade) and that tiny rosebush in the corner has always been there (poor guy was totally overrun by giant bushes his whole life- now he’s freeeeeee). We also dug in some spinach and lettuce seeds, but they’re taking their sweet time coming in. Here’s hoping they’re worth the wait!


So that’s the big Earth Day plan at Casa Petersik. What are you guys doing in celebration of good ol’ Mother Earth? Fill in the blank:

Today I’m celebrating Earth Day by ___________.

From unplugging the TV and keeping the lights off (playing cards by candlelight is always fun) to creating a compost bin, signing up for a rain-barrel workshop, or even swiching a few old bulbs out for compact florescents, there are limitless ways to show Momma E some love. Heck just bringing a ceramic mug to work can save a ton of trees. Tell us what you’re up to today! And of course any edible garden tips and suggestions are also welcome!


  1. Meaghan says

    Ooh, you should plant rosemary! It grows into a bush pretty quickly, plus it’s fragrant. Also–drought friendly, so it’ll survive the heat of summer. A friend of mine has it in her garden, but instead of planting it in the ground, she has it in large planters throughout her flower beds, which gives some interest to the bed.

  2. says

    Exciting! Jealous you have so much space to plant some summer veggies! I recommend that when you plant herbs for your garden, that you actually plant them in terra cotta pots, and plant the actual pots in the ground so the lip of the pot is above ground (you can cover it with mulch). This will contain those herbs that spread like crazy (oregano, thyme, mint, chives, etc), and will also allow you to un-plant them in the late fall, clean off the outsides of the pots, and put them in your sunroom for year-round herb enjoyment! I actually saw this idea in action at Marie Antoinette’s garden in Versailles – genius!

  3. dana says

    What a great spot for a garden! My husband and I are hoping to plant one for ourselves this season (but being new homeowners, who knows if we’ll get to that point this year).

    This year we’re celebrating Earth Day by punching up our curb appeal! Yesterday we created a new flowerbed at the corner of our corner lot where my husband planted a tree and added a large limestone rock for some pizzazz. Later this week we’re taking a trip to the nursery to pick up an array of shrubs, grasses and flowers. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  4. Devin says

    I actually bought some eco-friendly files and I’m going to be going thru all of our filing and recycle all of the paper/paper shreds we don’t keep. Simplifing my life and helping Mother E all in one! ;) I’d love to plant something tho… even if it’s just oregano or basil for right now. We’re really trying to get on the bandwagon with replacing all of our not so good items w/organic or eco-friendly ones. :) Happy Earth Day!! xo

  5. Jen says

    Consider lavender! While you can’t eat it (well, technically you can), it’s great on fragrance and you can cut the flowers and dry them for sachets to put in your drawers! :)

  6. says

    Today, I really wasn’t going to do anything out of the ordinary, but this weekend, I am leaving for Virginia for a family wedding and I was going to unplug everything I could, besides the frig, to save energy. So my Earth Day Celebration will happen tomorrow.

    By the way, I have a hard time getting Spinach to grow from seeds. Any tips?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Danielle,

      We’re first time seed-starters but it seems that planting our seeds with some organic compost from our compost bin and lots of rain has added up to a pretty good start. Although Jen makes a great point about them liking things a bit less sunny, so perhaps ours won’t work out as well as we hoped (and maybe moving your seed-spot to a shadier zone would help?). Good luck!


  7. says

    Wonderful idea! I have a medicinal herb garden – feverfew and passionflower for headaches, lavender for rest, sage and thyme for both sore throats and cooking and echinacea (purple coneflower) for those nasty summer colds. If you do decide to go with rosemary – make sure you get Arp. It’s the only variety that can stand up to VA winters (even the ones in Richmond). But like the previous poster said – beware! – it can get huge, just like your rasberry bush. Sage prefers a pot – that put in and take out idea sounds like one I’ll try if my sage doesn’t succeed in ground!

  8. Kim says

    I second the rosemary–in addition to being pretty, it also keeps critters away from your other plants. They hate it.

    We’ve planted basil for years because we use a lot of it. We recently found some very pretty varieties that have beautiful flowers (you aren’t supposed to let them flower if you’re eating them, but we let them go at the end of the season) and butterflies LOVE the flowers.

    Can’t wait to see what you do

  9. martha says

    I read your compost blog a few weeks ago and went right out to Target and bought a Rubbermaid container and looked for a kitchen compost container. I didn’t find one at Target but during a quick trip to TJ Maxx I spotted a cute red ceramic one and brought it home. It has a filter in the lid and there is no odor. I keep it under the sink although it is cute enough to sit on the counter. Love your blog, thanks for getting me started composting! I always wanted to do it but was daunted by the work of having a large compost pile. Starting off small is such a great idea and so manageable! Good luck with your garden!

  10. says

    what a great idea! herbs love lots of sun and most are also really attractive, so you can’t really go wrong. and great tip about planting them in pots (either above or below the ground, really) because i can personally attest that mint can go buck wild and sprout up everywhere if you let it.

    since you mentioned that spot gets the most direct sun, i would caution you about putting spinach and lettuce there. those guys really thrive in more shady conditions. if they get too hot they bolt (go to seed) and taste horrible. so berries, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs are your best bets for a really sunny spot. good luck!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Nicole,

      Good question. We have many recommendations for removing bushes:

      1. Put an ad up on Craigslist that says “free bushes if you come dig ’em out” – it worked like a charm for us after our wedding

      2. Tie a thick rope or chain around the base of the bush and attach it to the back of your vehicle and slowly drive forward, pulling them out

      3. Saw or clip off the big top part of the bush leaving just the stump base, which is then much easier to dig out without the bush in your way

      We used method #3 this time (it only took about an hour to saw off the tops of the bushes and dig out the roots) but they’re all effective. Hope it helps!


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