A Garden Update

It has been a couple of months since I put in the new front yard vegetable beds and I have begun to relax and enjoy them since the bylaw officer didn’t come back. They are coming along quite nicely and I thought it might be time for an update.

It looks like far more dirt than greenery in the beds, but it is still early in the season. I am confident that everything will continue to expand as the summer days roll around. 

The peas have climbed halfway up the wooden support and the beans on the other trellis have finally gotten underway, too. I love these obelisks made from thin branches. I found them at Sheridan nurseries and fell in love with them even before I saw the $10 price tag!

I planted an entire flat of basil that I grew under the grow lights this spring. They are doing very well, except for a few that I have lost to grubs (my theory is that they were in the grass when we installed the beds and munched their way through to the roots of my poor basil). The garlic has almost all come up and spends its days happily waving in the wind.

The “Bright Lights” swiss chard looks fantastic. It had a few rough days when it was transplanted into the garden, but is now healthy and strong. I love the colour variety in it; there is a reason is is favoured among garden designers. It is part of a trend toward “Edible Landscaping” that uses plants not only for their shape and colour but also for their usefulness. 

A couple of weeks ago the kids came rushing in the front door after school telling me that something was making strange mounded holes in the garden. They guessed it was a bird and were very distraught. When we went out to look, however, we discovered that everything was exactly as it should be: those little hills were potatoes that had begun to poke through the soil! Since then they have really come along. I will need to hill them later today to keep the roots (the potatoes) from being exposed to the air. This, I am told, results in green potatoes that are inedible.

In the spring I was very eager to plant the cool weather crops like spinach. I got them in the minute the beds were finished, but they have really taken their time in getting started. They are still so tiny it’s hard to imagine them getting big enough to eat. A friend who stopped by last week reassured me that once they take off, they’ll grow like crazy. Here’s hoping!

The backyard is looking lovely right now. Iris continue to bloom as the hardy geraniums finish off. The forget-me-not has all run to seed, although the blue bachelor’s buttons soldier on.

The peony have just begun to open up. I know they make beautiful cut flowers but I can never quite bring myself to lop them off and take them away from the garden. I think it’s so lovely to look out the window and see their huge splashes of colour. I may be missing something though, since their fragrance–which is so beautiful–is probably best enjoyed when my nose can be in close proximity to the blooms. Maybe when there are more blooms I won’t mind sacrificing just one or two…  

I have a little spot near our back deck where I plant cucumbers every  year. It is a hot, sheltered corner where over the years I have dumped huge buckets of compost and except for the year we were overrun with cucumber beetles, we have seen bumper crops from just a few plants. This year, inspired by the medieval gardens I  have been reading about, I made my own support for them to climb on. After I trimmed the forsythia bushes, I had several long, thick branches left over. I just pushed them into the ground and tied the tops together. It was cheap, easy, and even looks good.

I still have a few more annuals to put in where the forget-me-nots are finished for the season and in a bare spot in the side garden. And these days I need to spend a fair bit of time watering, too, since we have had very little rain. There is still lots of work to be done but you won’t hear me complaining!

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3 Responses to A Garden Update

  1. Stacey says:

    also, looks like spinach likes an alkaline environment: if it’s not booming soon, try sprinkling some wood ashes from a nearby fireplace or campfire 🙂

  2. A campfire? Yay! I keep meaning to use one of those soil testing kits from Lee Valley but haven’t done it yet. As I say about everything these days, “There’s always tomorrow….”

    Thanks for the link to veggie gardener. I hilled my potatoes this afternoon using a mixture of soil, old leaves, wood shavings and rough compost. I think I may add some more soil around them, too, just to make sure I keep the light out. But I thought the nutrients would be good for the taters–I hear they are hungry plants!

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