Online Herbalism Courses for all levels

I love documenting the garden’s progress with photos and video. Partly because I love sharing it with others, but it also serves a very practical purpose as well. Documentation allows us to remember what worked and what didn’t. And there were lots of lessons this year I tell ya! It also provides us with a record of where we planted what so next year we can properly rotate our crops (because I don’t want to rely on my memory for that!).

 

The beginnings of a vegetable garden

The beginnings of a vegetable garden

 

This year has certainly been an interesting one in terms of gardening. Back in September we left our townhouse in the suburbs and moved to a more rural location. We went from a very small backyard to a half acre property. Last year our vegetable garden consisted of two large garden boxes and a herb spiral. This year our main vegetable garden is over 1200 square feet (which is larger than our house). If you are interested in lasagna gardening you can check out my post on that here. Looking back I realize we were quite ambitious in our plans and while I wouldn’t change a thing, there are many things that we are struggling to keep up with.

Garden yield, watering and pests have been our main challenges with the garden this year. We simply aren’t used to produce coming in so quickly and it’s only going to produce more and at a faster rate. All our tomatoes are still green but that won’t be the case for much longer!! Southern Ontario is currently in a drought so we have been watering our extensive gardens by hand using rain barrels and watering cans. If both Paul (my husband) and I are watering it takes us an hour and a full rain barrel – and that’s watering modestly since we often have no idea when it will rain next.

My arch nemesis this year has been the cucumber beetle. Oh how I hate thee cucumber beetle. First major issue was the drought; the lack of strong spring rains allowed these guys to flourish. Having never heard of one or seen one before in my life (until this year that is) we planted our cucumbers, pickling cucumbers and zucchini right after the May long weekend. No rain, young plants and a lack of knowledge about these black and yellow destroyers resulted in a depressing outcome – they killed all 25 pickling cucumber plants, 10 zucchini plants and 8 cucumber plants.

 

Cucumber Bettle

 

Despite the challenges, tears, sweat (so much sweat) and cursing, we are extremely happy with our garden this year. It was a lot of work and to look at back at what we’ve accomplished fills us with pride. It was an ambitious plan and honestly there was no way we could have pulled it off perfectly without some errors and plant casualties; especially in our first year.

All right Correne… enough yammering!! Where are the photos?

So glad you asked…. xoxo

 

Project sunflower was a success! After three attempts at growing them we finally have big beautiful (not quite flowering) sunflowers.

We planted 16 tomato plants this year – mostly paste and canning tomatoes but also some beefsteak and cherry… still green but ripe with promise!

Beets       Carrots

We are about to pull up the last of our beets and carrots and being sowing a second crop for a fall harvest. They are delicious I must say! We’re still trying to figure out how we will store them over winter though…

Our mammoth melting peas are finally flowering and little baby sugar snap peas are popping up everywhere!

Sugarsnap peas

 

Cabbage     Broccoli

Cabbage and broccoli are both first time crops for us. The broccoli plants that are in full sun are happy and coming in well. The cabbage is a little bug eaten but I’m making sauerkraut so that’s fine by me. One of the cabbages we planted has too much shade so it’s not forming a ball. Live and learn!

Corn2

There be corn here! Okay I know farmers have been growing corn for a zillion years but this is our first time so we’re just a tad excited. My husband asked me today what I was most excited about; I honestly haven’t decided but for him it’s the promise of sweet sweet corn.

Corn

A nice close up of the corn :)

2016-07-26 15.21.20-2

I had no idea how gianormous patty pan squash would get. Scroll up for one second and look to the left of the corn. See that beast? That’s one of our patty pan plants. Oy do they take up space!

2016-07-26 15.22.00

The package for the achocha cucumbers said they like to climb and boy were they right! I can’t wait to try one of these.

Eggplants

I’ve read eggplants are very difficult to grow. This is our second year trying them and this year we actually have flowers! I’m hopeful it will result in some home baked eggplant parmesan.

Peppers

We have quite a few pepper varieties in our garden this year. Unfortunately the tomato plants have gotten so large (some are taller than me) they are crowding out some of the peppers and eggplants. But the ones that are getting enough sun should do well.

2016-07-26 15.22.20

I couldn’t resist sharing my son’s garden box. Just as requested – sugar snap peas, carrots, a red pepper plant and red flowers. It’s doing so well.

2016-07-26 15.23.14

The medicinal herb garden is just rocking!

2016-07-26 15.23.02

The elderberry plants are getting bigger by the day. No flowers or fruit this year but I’m crossing my fingers and toes for next year.

2016-07-26 15.23.36

The property came with established concord grape vines and despite my complete neglect of them (I have no idea what to do with grape vines) they are producing tons and tons of fruit.

Raspberries

My mother in law gifted us with 10 raspberry canes that encroached into her backyard from the neighbours. Of the ten, 8 have taken root and are doing well. We might even get some fruit this year.

Some crops that didn’t make it on camera – potatoes are doing awesome and we are hopeful for a good harvest. Our onion sets are doing okay (I think) but it’s our first attempt so it’s an unknown. We’ve already harvested our garlic and have 60 beautiful bulbs curing in our garage. The trellised butternut and acorn squashes are not getting enough sunlight so that trellis is being moved next year. Despite being hasty and placing the trellis in a less than ideal spot this we are still seeing growth. Our baby watermelon plant is not so happy either but there is one teeny tiny melon on there so maybe we will have a yield. As my friend Anita says; have patience.

 

Thanks for joining me on a tour of our gardens. I’d love to see how your gardens are doing! Email me and share some photos.

Until next time,

signature