Friday, May 29

Oh She Grows: The Gardens, an Overview

 With the garden all planted in, finally, it's time for some overview images! Things are about a week ahead of last year, and some even more! The early birds this year are peas, radishes and spinach - none of which I grew last year.

My peppers and tomatoes are more mature going into the ground as well, so maybe that will bring the around a tiny bit sooner.

I've also 'expanding' my vegetable garden to my flower gardens. We didn't do much with them last year, as it was out first summer here and I wanted to see what perianuals would pop up. Wasn't super impressed, so I thought we could put some vegetables in there, mixed with flowers. In the above corner, a tree was previously living until this spring, it was too close to the house - damaging the roof, so it had to go - opening up this now sunny corner!

Mixed amoung some Hotsa's and annuals are a tomato, pepper, kale, brussel sprouts and various vegetable seeds yet to sprout. Some pole and runner beans will climb up the teepee, giving a beautiful display of flowers that the bees and hummingbirds will love!

Along the side of the house, we have the same thing - except the beautiful garden has to live with that sight-sorry air conditioner.

I've even placed a tomato in a pot to try - not sure what it is, it lost it's label through it's growth and transplanting; and it didn't make the cut for the gardens, but it was the healthiest of what was left. The other pot is mint - so that it stays nice and contained.

There's still some tulips mixed in - I'm just letting their foliage die back a little bit more before cleaning it up.

I got these really nice square cages this year for the tomatoes - I know it seems super small now - and you might be skeptical...but let me remind you of last year:

That's my tomato jungle circa 2014. All those plants started out just as small as this one. If anything, the cage will not be enough ;)

If you're looking for some garden inspiration - this video is amazing. It about a couple that converted their front yard into a gorgeous vegetable garden. The live in Canada - so a garden like this is totally possible for many of my Canadian friends. :)

Thursday, May 28

Oh She Grows: All tucked in!

I awoke this morning to this lovely sight - the sun shining upon my garden, with the closest beds ready and waiting for their new friends to be all tucked in.

Having been patiently waiting - and possibly outgrowing their homes, it was time to plant my tomatoes and peppers in the garden! Yippie!!! 

I first lay out all the plants where I would like them. As you can see, I have four purchased peppers. The cat ate some of mine, again. So as luck would have it, Home Depot had them on 3/$5 - couldn't go wrong filling in the gabs! I settled on a yellow pepper, a sweet banana pepper (I grew hot banana from seed), a jalapeno (I only had one or two seedlings that made it to plant, and then survived the cat, and I really want to make pickled jalapenos), and another hot pepper (the name is escaping my mind right now).

And here we are all tucked in! I know, I know - what am I doing with that fugly landscaping fabric. Well, my peppers took a really, really long time to mature last year due to the cooler summer we had. I'm hoping this black fabric will heat up the soil more, and move things along better this time around. I did this for my tomatoes too. We will see if it makes a difference at all.

My tomatoes all tucked in! I placed my Determinate plants in cages, and I staked my Indeterminate plants.  I saw some 'tomato tee-pees' on a few blogs, and thought I might try it out.  Already, the structure is giving the garden a little more dynamic than last year :)

Also snuggled in is an eggplant - I'm not sure if I even like egg plant, or how it will do. But plants were 3/$5, and I needed one more, so I thought - heck, I'll give it a shot! Worse case: I bring the vegetables into work, and pawn them off on other people ;)

Thursday, May 21

Oh She Grows: Hello to some new seedlings

My precious little garden continues to thrive through these chilly nights, despite a number of non-cold-hardy plants I have sprouting up. My radishes are coming along well, and I pulled one the other day for a lunch time salad :)

Newly sprouted (just), is a lone cucamelon seedling, and then below, my first purple kohlrabi seedling (just planted not even a week ago!

Also new to the garden, is some brussel sprout seedlings. I wasn't going to grow them - I had so many other plants to start - but then I found these starts looking all healthy in a store for a couple dollars, and couldn't resist giving them a try.

My lettuce and carrots have finally graced me with their presence, sort of, and in partial spots only...

I'm going to have to thin a few out shortly, and then add a few more seeds I think....

And some more beautiful shots of the goodness growing:

Spinach growing well in the cooler weather

The purple peas are starting to make their climb

Broccoli also loving the cooler, sunny weather

A little baby bok choi - so excited about growing these, they will be delicious in stir-fry and grilled on the BBQ.

Beets starting to pop up

Another brussel sprout shot

The ever hardy kale - note to self: plant more of the beautiful Redbor variety!

Purple beans

The beginning of my cucumbers

Purple bean seedling just starting out
Marigolds to help protect all of my green goodness!

Saturday, May 16

Oh She Grows: Outdoor babies popping up!

I've been good about being busy filling in my garden - and then proceeding to fill in my garden journal. While, I do talk a lot about my garden on my blog, the journal keeps a very detailed record of what went in when, where it went and when it came up. I found it very useful this year in planning my crop rotation, knowing what I wanted more / less of, and just to generally get my excited about my upcoming garden in the dead of winter.

I garden the square-foot method (for the most part - sometimes I break the rules and just do what I want, hehe), and so keeping track is as easy as making a rough grid for each bed. Yes, I made a plan to start off with, with a lovely computer generated grid - but what I plan for isn't what always gets planted. Things change.

But onto the green stuff - what's been growing!...

My snow peas are just growing away! We had a light frost earlier in the week - and they paid no mind to it :)

My broccoli (two varieties) is happy to be outside, at last. It always just seems to take off when I plant it outside, giving it more root room - the same thing happened last year! Along the fence are my purple climbing peas, and a handful of Russian Mammoth Sunflowers. The sunflowers got tucked in on the frosty night - wasn't sure how tough they would be to handle it.

The spinach is looking well too. One of the seedlings just spontaneously shriveled up. I'm not sure what that was about, but the other's are healthy, and a second, staggered, planting is just beginning to come up.

The kale is super stoked about being outside too! I have three varieties here: Red Russian, Redbor and Winterbor kale.  I just love the colouring of the purple stuff!

Here is one of my sweet cucumber seedlings. I just direct planted this year. Last year, I started indoors, and they did not take well to transplanting. By the time they started growing again (if they didn't die), the direct seeded plants were all caught up and healthier looking. I saved some indoor seedling space but not bothering with that battle this year. I simply thought, what's the point if they truly don't do well.

A surprising development - one of my purple pole beans have sprouted! I had planted a handful by one of the trellis, and then it got really cold and I figured they would probably just rot in the ground. But it popped up the afternoon after the frost. I'm hoping the other's will too :)

I have been patiently waiting for my lettuce and beets to sprout. I think the first picture above is a beet sprout, and the one just above is my lettuce. I have so many small weeds sprouting though (the only con to the beautifully rich compost I receive), that I cannot tell. Only a bit more time will tell!
Still to plant: beans, lettuce, spinach, herbs, zucchini (reseed - birds ate them)
To transplant outdoors: tomatoes, peppers, herbs, ground cherries

Friday, May 15

Oh She Grows: Thinning out

I got my first exceptionally small radish this week. I pulled it out to 'thin' out the row, and of the thinnings, this was the only one that had started to form a bulb. Yay! First thing out of the vegetable boxes. I imaging in a week or so, I will have many more - properly sized - radishes. 

I've also made my first harvest of rhubarb! From it I made a delicious lemon-rhubarb cake... now I'm just on to thinking what will I make with it next? Look how big these stalks and leaves are!

As with spring, comes the mud. The beast, Chewie, just could not stay away. He jumped into, and then proceeded to lay down in a deep 'tire rut' mud puddle.

Yup...that happened. He was in there - already dirty...figured I may as well just take pictures. He does look oh so happy - wasn't so much when we had a bath later ;)

The part that I forgot about after he came out, was that he was going to shake all this mud on to me. We looked like quite the pair, hehe.

Wednesday, May 6

Oh She Grows: Seeds to soil

As I mentioned the other day, I got to 'top up' the dirt in my boxes this past weekend - it had settled down to being only half full through the winter. So today, I took advantage of the nicer weather, and planting a lot of my seeds that can take a little cooler weather than some other plants.

Chewie above looks like he was a great little helper - but you just wait till you see what he did below. He is much better the designated stick chewer..

I got my seed box out and went to work, sorting out what I wanted to plant today. I ended up putting in the ground: Napoli carrots (55 days), Rainbow mix carrots (75 days), Rudolf Radishes (24 days) and Watermelon Radishes (60 days) (trying to 'spread out' their planting time, so their harvest time is also spread out), more Avon Spinach (45 days), Lettuce Mix and Romain Lettuce, Beet Blend (50 days) and Bok Choi (52 days). As well, I planted some Russian Mammoth Sunflowers (to bring in bees, and than later feed the birds). Not sure if they will take in this weather yet or not - but I have mountains of seeds, so there is no worries if I need to replant.

I also checked in on my sprouted babies - the peas are still little handsome morsels.

They look randomly planted, but I follow the Square Foot Gardening method - so they are all evenly spaced, eight to a square foot.

...and they did look all perfect - until the dog thought it was a wonderful idea to jump into the garden beds. He is just a puppy. Since this soil is never really "packed down", his paws just sunk. I dug up what little seedlings I could and righted them up again - but they aren't really in a super nice formation in this particular area anymore. As long as they grow, I'm okay with it!

....sigh... I just love, love, love the picture of little plants in my gardens! :D

The little Rudolf radishes are working away too! We have some mid to high 20 degree C weather coming to us soon, so they should really grow then!