The Garden is Growing

I think this year is the first that Attila has had the opportunity to create a full-blown vegetable garden. We have had gardens here at Mist Cottage ever since it was purchased in 2010, but renovations came first, and the five hour one-way commute slowed down any long term gardening interests, or even keeping up with watering and weeding in the short term. But this spring, there are no big renovation projects underway, and we are here almost all the time, so watering and weeding are easy to keep up with. And last night, Attila finished planting the very last of his seedlings, started earlier in the spring, they were waiting patiently in the cold frame.

Already I’ve had two meals made from ingredients from the garden. Both were sauteed spinach with garlic scapes, and oh my it was good. I’ve been eating bits of produce as well, every day. Usually there is one ripe strawberry on the hanging basket, or a sweet pea, or a leaf of spinach. Over the weekend we also harvested about a cup of wild strawberries from the front “lawn”, and I made a batch of muffins with them. Wild strawberries have an intense and exquisite flavour, the best strawberry in the world in my view. But very labour intensive to harvest, they are the size of small peas.

We have flowers! The cosmos is blooming, as are the Dianthus and Peonies. Attila brings cut Peonies in for me every so often. They make the house smell wonderful. I am careful to capture the ants though, that come in with them.

Wildflowers are in full bloom, the Hawkweed and the White Clover, and even a few dawdling Dandelions. The Wild Geranium blooms are spent though, but even their seed pods are pretty, so they continue to grace the garden. The Wild Geranium were particularly popular with the smaller bees in the garden, the blooms saw constant activity.

Our Scarlet Runner bean plants were attacked, and almost destroyed by Bean Leaf Beetles. When we first discovered the problem, many of the leaves were already past hope. On Sunday we killed over 30 beetles, and we did not get them all. Since then we have been killing any we find, and we check several times a day. I knew that Neem oil would control them, but it is not readily available for sale here, or if I an find it it costs a small fortune. So I decided to give Tea Tree Oil a try. I filled a liter spray bottle with water, a tablespoon of dish soap (not detergent), and 10 drops of Tea Tree Oil. So far no new damage out there, but it could be that we knocked back the population by hand, rather than the spray being effective. Only time will tell.

Attila even planted a tomato out at the Camp, and it seems to be doing quite well, probably because we have received adequate rain, at adequate intervals all spring.

Life is quiet, enjoyable, peaceful, uneventful, busy…

I had a routine doctor’s appointment earlier in the week. When I checked in at the reception desk to let them know I was there, I was told my appointment had been cancelled. Well, nobody told me! Apparently they should have called me to reschedule, but this had not happened. I wasn’t happy about it. So we rescheduled for a another day, problem solved. I sure hope that doesn’t happen again!

We have had the windows open every day throughout most of the spring, but summer is arriving today, so the windows will be closing. It is 18C as I write, lovely temperature, but severe thunderstorms are in the forecast and then the temperature will be 28C and humid. And so it begins.

wild geranium gone to seed
The Wild Geranium bloom gone to seed, the subtle colour and shapes are beautiful.
Hugelkultur bed
This is the first half of the Hugelkultur bed. It consists of layers of logs, small sticks and branches, wood shavings, sod and topsoil Atop are the Cucumber plants, not thriving, but surviving and hopefully they will produce. This is the first of two Hugelkultur beds, the second will be added at the open end of the first. Over time these beds will diminish in height.
one ripening strawberry handing from a potted plant
This strawberry, hanging from the potted plant we purchased at Costco, is almost ripe. The taste is mild, and not very sweet, a bit disappointing. This plant is very hearty, and is covered with blossoms. I usually get a fresh strawberry to eat every day. Surprisingly, almost all of the runners I set in my raised bed have survived. And even more surprising, many of those plants have blossoms and will bear fruit this year. In the fall the strawberry plants will be planted in the new garden bed. In the meantime, the new garden bed has been planted with Spinach, and when that is spent, who knows! Maybe radishes, or Swiss Chard.
raised beds and composters
This is how the gardens, in the back yard, look today. On the far left is the new garden bed, intended for the strawberries when they are transplanted. It is built from Ash logs, from the Ash tree that was felled in our front yard last month. The three raised beds are made of pine flooring, seconds Attila purchased at a discount, years and years ago. I love them. I don’t have to reach down to weed these beds, and so I weed them every day, and the plants are doing very well as a result. The closest bed has strawberries, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. The middle bed has a row of spinach, a row of beets, and a row of sweet peas, which have a trellis to follow skyward. The far bed has tomatoes, basil, radishes, and bush beans. The bird bath has been visited by birds, but it isn’t as popular as I would have hoped. You can see two of our three composters, they are filling up fast. Kitchen scraps and yard waste do not leave the property.

Worldly

Weather

SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH
18°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 26 June 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy, Lightning
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 18.3°C
Dew point: 17.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: S 14 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one.”
Joan Baez
1941-

I guess I am doing things the one-on-one hard way! Most of us are, I suspect, when it comes to relationships.

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8 Responses to The Garden is Growing

  1. We’re on an acreage that is part of an organic farm, so there is no such thing as poisoning the umpteen thousand dandelions. I think I’ve mentioned before that in the large patches where Scott dug them up by the roots, those places very obviously have far fewer dandelions than the places he never got around to. Then I read that they don’t like water much and we experimented with that and holy cow, it was amazing! The very next day, you could see a huge difference between the spot heavily watered the night before, and the spot not. Of course we are on our own well and don’t pay a water bill … but even so, with an acreage we’ll never get in the habit of heavily watering the whole thing. Right now Scott gets on the riding mower and “vacuums them up” before the seeds blow all over. I think it’s an unwinnable war but he’s fighting it anyway.

    Thanks for the tour of your garden, yard, and life!

    Kate

  2. Kate, it sounds like you could make a living from selling Organic Dandelion Jelly, if only you could find a reasonably easy way to pluck the petals. You could market it as a Canadian delicacy, and ship it internationally. I am prone to fantasy. Good to know about the watering though, I didn’t realize it would make that much of a difference. Good luck to your Dandelion warrior! 🙂

    We like our Dandelions in the “lawn”, but not in the garden. I just pull them, in our little garden, and leave them in the “lawn”.

  3. Sandy says:

    I bet people in the U.S. would buy organic dandelion jelly. Here it seems people automatically turn to pesticides to get rid of dandelions 🙁 Maggie, your veggie garden sounds wonderful. Home-grown tomatoes and strawberries are wonderful. And I think leaf lettuce is such a gift. You snip off some and the leaf lettuce keeps on growing. I also love your raised beds. Have you ever seen those raised beds made out of hay bales? I wish I had some land to experiment 🙂

  4. Teri says:

    Very nice garden! And it sounds like it’s just the right amount of work for you and Attila.

    Living near a high school covered with dandelions in a city that has banned all herbicides except those natural ones used by lawn care operators, we finally gave our “grass” over to a lawn company and after 2 years are finally seeing some 70% lawn and some small greens but only a few failing dandelions that DH mows down before they can seed. I’m so much happier than when we were nothing but schoolyard weeds.

    Oh, and we have daylilies planted along one fence line. About half of them are finally getting tall enough that you can tell they’re along the fence on purpose and aren’t just weeds. Since some were just planted last year, I’m looking forward to seeing some new flower colors.

  5. Sandy, yes, it is probably difficult to find dandelions that would be considered organic. Ours are ten years without treatment of any kind, so I trust them to be in pristine condition.
    I think you can grow lettuce in a container, and a tomato plant. I was tickled to get a hanging strawberry basket, easy to care for and easy to pick. I’ve seen the hay bale beds, they look so interesting! I wonder if there is a community garden, or garden allotments where you are, that would be fun.

  6. Teri, I love daylillies! We have some in front of the house, two varieties, and they are beautiful. I also have one growing right alongside the Rose in the backyard, and one out by the iris’s as well. They make a wonderful row of colour along a fence!
    Having someone else take control of your lawn leaves you to focus on other things, like the daylillies. Enjoy!

  7. Bex says:

    The doctor’s office canceling you while you were there is unconscionable! I would have told them that they will be receiving a bill from me for my time – just like they say they will do if you don’t cancel an appt. and not show up at an appointed time!

  8. Bex, it was a very disconcerting experience! I will be discussing this with her when I go for my rescheduled appointment though, just to make sure they know it isn’t on. It doesn’t do to be too nice about things. It is a staff/administrative failure, so taking to her during my appointment will probably work wonders. They need to know what their staff are up to.