It’s officially garden season around here, although I’ve been gardening since February! I thought I’d get you caught up to where I’m at and then try my best to get back to weekly garden updates. Now that the garden is planted I’m not feeling so pressed for time and I have some more downtime – there is still lots to do of course but hopefully I can keep up with weekly pictures and updates. The last two years I’ve made picture books of my gardening seasons and I love looking back on them so I want to keep doing that.
I ordered the vast majority of my seeds online this year. I ordered in January from West Coast Seeds, and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. What I didn’t order I bought from a couple local stores but kept with those two companies as well as Renee’s Garden, Strathcona 1890 and a local Calgary seed company called Seed Plus Soil. I’ve grown seeds from all four of these seed companies and have been impressed both with the germination and quality of produce. I like that they are all non-treated and non-gmo seeds and a lot of what I ordered has been heirloom varieties.
So without further ado I give you my gardening thus far. I will warn you this post is going to be very picture heavy!
I started my peppers back on February 3 – such a long time ago! I started a large amount of seeds this year and because I let them germinate on top of our fireplace for the extra heat, I had to start my peppers and tomatoes separately. Last year my peppers were later producers than my tomatoes so I figured I’d try starting them earlier. The varieties I started were:
- Thai Red Chilli
- Sunset Mix
- Orange Gilboa and Red Yardenne
- Red Habanero
- Caribbean Red Habanero
- Chocolate Habanero
- Trinidad Scorpion
Yep I definitely went overboard!
On February 15 I started most of my tomatoes. I planted 13 different varieties (!), I just couldn’t narrow them down! Online shopping for seeds is a bit dangerous but so much fun! The varieties I planted are:
- Toma Verde Tomatillos
- Marvel Stripe
- Black Krim
- Red Brandywine
- St. Pierre
- Bonny Best
- Amish Paste
- Arbason Beefsteak
- Fox Cherry
- German Lunchbox
- Italian San Marzano
Then it was a lot of watching and waiting for both my plants to mature and my baby to arrive!
They were doing really well! I probably could have transplanted them the last week in March or first week in April but I was pretty fresh postpartum since Eden came along March 17. The plants had to take a back burner for a couple weeks. I didn’t start transplanting until April 16 – the same day I moved them all out to the greenhouse, and didn’t finish until May 1! They were starting to look pretty sickly and I wasn’t sure how many would survive.
When all was said and done I had 136 tomato plants, and close to 90 pepper plants. Insane? Yes absolutely but honestly I’m totally OK with it! Initially I really wanted to start up a side job selling them which is why I planted so many in the first place. Then life happened (like having a baby) and I didn’t get on top of advertising and setting things up. I did end up starting a new instagram account to get the word out that I had some plants for sale but I’m not sure I’ll be able to get rid of what I wanted to. Feel free to check out the account (@plantloveyyc) and if you’re local keep your eyes open for some other things for sale!
Anyways, here’s the progression in the greenhouse:
Considering how sickly they looked when I transplanted them I’m so impressed with how they are doing. I planted the tomatoes and peppers into the garden just last week with my dad on June 4. I planted 32 Tomato plants and 36 pepper plants into the garden. The rest will have to be in pots, although I’m not really sure where they will go! I’m thinking of getting a shade cloth and trying to keep some in the greenhouse again. If I can keep it cool enough I think it would work. Also, last year I did little to no fertilizing of my potted plants and I think that had a lot to do with how poorly they did. This year I’m going to use a liquid kelp fertilizer for my potted plants that I buy from a local plant store here in Calgary (Plant). The fertilizer is from Strathcona 1890 and you can order it here.
Ok, so that takes care of the tomatoes and peppers but I planted a whole lot more!
In the deck garden I planted a variety of leafy greens:
- Ansar Lettuce
- Ghandi Lettuce
- Midnight Ruffle Lettuce
- Gourmet Mixed Lettuce
- Red Leaf Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
I also planted two varieties of carrots and two rows of onions.
In the greenhouse gardens I planted two different wildflower packets – a butterfly mix and a bee mix. I really can’t wait to see them bloom!
The big garden had a surprise crop of onions this year. I had no idea that the seed onions I planted last year would appear again this year. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with them so I let them grow for a while and then they started blooming! So I decided I would just dig them all up and preserve them. My husband made a batch of an onion/lemon/hot pepper hot sauce that he uses often and I canned one jar. The rest we dehydrated and made into onion powder. I bought a dehydrator for this task and I’m actually quite excited about using it as a method of preservation this year.
Other than the tomatoes and peppers I also planted zucchini, pumpkin, cucumbers and watermelon in the big garden. I planted along the side and back to give them room to grow out of the garden by the fence instead of on my lawn like last year. I doubt that any pumpkins or watermelons will grow but I thought I’d try for fun! I also planted two barrels of potatoes and I’m hoping for some big harvests.
We have two raised planters that my dad had built for us last year and so this year I’ve designated them for Ezekiel. He picked what he wanted to grow and basically just put them wherever he felt like it – I tried to give some direction but didn’t want to interfere too much. I really want him to have a sense of independence and pride over what he grows. So far his carrots have sprouted and I think zucchini.
We also have an old (I think) antique wash basin that my parents had been using as a flower planter. My mom had painted it up with the name and address on it and some flowers on the sides and they used it to mark their cabin (or house really) at the lake. Last year they decided they didn’t want it anymore and I had asked if I could have it when they were done with it and so now it’s mine! I’m trying my hand at growing some herbs in there – something I’ve never been successful at growing from seed so we’ll see how it goes!
Some other notes on the garden this year:
I knew that my soil would need some amending so I used 6 bags of sheep manure compost on the big garden and 3 bags on the deck garden. I also used a lot in the front of the house – that soil was AWFUL and the plants were showing signs of decline last year so I knew I had to do something. I also bought some fertilizer spikes for the front as well as for the rose bushes, Japanese maple and the mysterious tree with beautiful white flowers in the back.
So here’s some progress pictures bringing us to today – the next posts shouldn’t be as wordy or lengthy!
Thanks for plowing through this post if you’ve made it this far!
Happy Gardening Friends!