Saturday, May 16, 2015

SHAPE Eco Farm’s Garden Journey



My garden known as “Elizabeth’s Secret Garden” on SHAPE Eco Farm is bursting with life in elaborate display. Flowers are beginning to bloom and many hours of work are paying off. A garden requires patience and planning, but the great thing is you get to see the “vegetables” of your labor unfold before your very eyes. The important thing is not to give up and use everything as a learning experience.


My kitchen garden continues to flourish. A fun fact is that if you leave your carrots for a year, they will go to seed! I had lots of baby carrots sprout with zero effort. Well, except for watering. Those carrots sprouted, but only a few that I planted actually sprouted. My carrots and my leeks currently are developing flowers. I’ll have to be surprised of the variety of carrots I had planted. Do make sure you label the varieties you plant!


My pea plants are looking gorgeous. I love the pinkish purple flowers that are beginning to bloom. These peas were actually chicken forage my dad spread for me as a winter cover crop.


Cilantro is one of my favorite herbs. I’d use it for pretty much everything (except deserts. lol). It is great in Mexican dishes and in guacamole.


Nasturtium is a companion for many vegetables. Companion planting involves planting vegetables or herbs together that work as a team to ward off pests. Nasturtium is especially helpful against aphids, squash bugs, and striped pumpkin. You can plant them around tomatoes, cabbage, cucumbers, and fruit trees as a barrier against pests. The herb’s leaves are said to have a peppery taste and can be used in salads. The flowers can also be used in salads.


Snap dragons are a beautiful flowers that can be perennials in zone 8 or higher. I live in North Carolina and even after a few times of receiving snow they came back! Plants can surprise you. The very ones you figured were goners just might come back. That unfortunately includes invasive species.


My Common Milkweed for the Monarch butterflies was small a puny last year so I figured they were dead, but then the rhizomes must have spread resulting in even more than last year. Now I know why people call it a weed, but I see it as a treasure since I’m a butterfly raiser.


My vegetables include kale (pictured above), beans, squash, tomatoes, eggplants, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, beets, butternut squash, cabbage, and more to come. I have a plethora of herbs to choose from as well as flowers.


If you are interested in seeing “Elizabeth’s Secret Garden” on SHAPE Eco Farm is now open and provides educational tours and classes for track out camps, schools, home schoolers, girl scouts, youth groups, preschools, and families. To schedule an event, call Kim Mann at 919-435-4099 or email

Our event schedule runs from April 1st – mid-November. Go to to learn more about our events.