2016 Garden Wrap Up

Well, honestly the yard work isn’t quite complete and there are some things left in the garden that hasn’t been cleaned out.  Really out of pure laziness and putting other things first BUT truly the garden is done for the year.  It was a rough end of the summer for the garden but it continued to show me grace and provide me with a lot of food which is now either canned into jars ready for the long winter, waiting to be eaten in the pantry or already gobbled up by my veggie loving toddler.

It was a fantastic year in the garden for me.  The best yet, and although I’m definitely ready for a break I’m already dreaming up the plans for next year.  Each year I learn so many new things, this year a lot of my learning was about where to plant what due to the ample gardening space I now have.  I did a lot of experimenting with tomatoes planting them in the big garden, small garden and containers and have decided that next year they will only be planted in the big garden.  The peppers did pretty good in containers but I think next year I will plant some in the garden as well, later on in the season of course.  I may plant my lettuce into some long containers my dad made for me.  It will save space and I can keep it in cooler places on the deck rather than full sun in the garden.  The gardens in front of the greenhouse will have some ground cover and low lying flowers.   They are just not deep enough to get good roots for tall plants so I’ll try that next year.  The garden along the deck will have a lot of squash varieties and some flowers again, probably different varieties.  Flowers were one of my favourite parts of the garden, next year I’ll focus my flower growing on varieties that would be good cut and put into bouquets.  I could have probably done that with this years flowers, I just didn’t have the energy or creative inspiration to do it.

The tomatoes did amazingly, in the end I harvest a total of 136 lbs of tomatoes.  That’s a whole lot of canning (I’ll do a separate food preserving post later on) and I grumble through it but I am so grateful to be putting food I grew myself away for my family in the winter.  The onions produced pretty well too, I didn’t get huge onions but quite a lot and they are cured and now in my pantry waiting to be used.  The habaneros did way better than I expected and we have a full baggy in the freezer to use through out the year.  The kale just kept going and going but unfortunately didn’t get used much because I couldn’t stomach leafy greens for a couple months.  Same goes for swiss chard.  The spaghetti squash produced more than I expected and I have lots left to eat throughout the next couple months.  The other squash varieties did nothing – some I started in the greenhouse and they got root bound before planted so didn’t do well, others I planted in the garden from seed and they didn’t have enough time to produce anything.  I’ll work on that next year.  The other things like carrots, peas, beans, lettuce all did well as well.

I  didn’t take a lot of pictures of the garden at the end of the year because I didn’t keep up on it and it ended up not being very pretty, but here’s what I did take:

 

Garden Update July 31

Well, another 2 week garden update.  It’s been busy and I’ve been pretty tired lately so blogging hasn’t been on the top of my list.  However, the garden is doing pretty great!  I have a lot of cucumber’s starting but none that have produced anything, today I did some manual pollinating so hopefully I get a few!  Some of my peppers weren’t doing so great in the greenhouse so I cleaned it out completely and put all the plants on the deck.  I’m hoping they perk up.  I’ve had some zucchini’s, tomatoes, a pepper and of course greens harvested.  A lot of flowers have started to open which is fun for me, I’ve never really grown flowers before.

Without further ado here’s the pics!

July 24:

July 31:

Until next week friends!

Garden Update July 17

How did three weeks go by? It’s been a busy time around here.  The first of those 3 weeks was full of work for me, I worked 6/7 days which was nuts.  After that I spent time catching up around the house and garden and then we were off to Saskatchewan for a wedding.  This past week I’ve been doing things here and there around the house, doing a TONNE of walking (a post on that to come soon with an update on my health) and a couple night shifts thrown in there.  So to say we’ve been busy is a bit of an understatement but it’s been good, so so good.

The rain hasn’t stopped in what seems like weeks.  The yard and gardens are water logged and squishy and I’m really hoping for some sun this week to help the veggies grow.  Despite the lack of sun things seem to be doing well although my tomato plants are really begging for sun, a lot of the fruit is split on the bottoms and the leaves are curling on a lot of plants – sure signs of overwatering.

I’ve had quite a bit of harvesting to do, mostly leafy greens, lots of kale and swiss chard.  There have been 4 tomatoes that we have enjoyed and 2 zucchini’s which have been sautéed and loved.  The spinach and radishes are completely done, pulled and composted and I’ve replaced them with three different types of lettuce.   I thought we would be drowning in greens but actually we keep running out and having to harvest more!  I’m finding that I’m just becoming more creative in incorporating them into our meals and so far everyone has enjoyed it which is a very good thing :).

Despite me not writing posts with updates I’ve been taking pictures with intentions of blogging so here’s pictures from the week of July 3.

Now from the week of July 10:

Finally, this past week:

Well that’s it for now.  Hopefully this week I’ll have time to do some more blogging that’s not just gardening.

Ciao friends!

Garden Update June 26

I’ve been waiting all day to be able to post this.  I literally had these photos done by 730 this morning and here it is 1030 at night when I should be sleeping.  It’s been a good day but a day that has been full of family and friends being together and the in between has been time to sit and just be.  So I may pay for this in the morning but I really wanted to get this update up.

The garden is thriving and I couldn’t be happier.  We are now enjoying garden goodies daily.  One of my regrets is not planting more lettuce earlier on but I will be planting more this week.

Let’s start in the big garden, the tomatoes are doing lovely.  I must admit though, they are now getting to the point of growing like crazy and I’m a little overwhelmed with the upkeep.  I thought I’d be able to do weekly up keeping but I’m finding it now has to be done every few days.  I can’t complain though, they have some beautiful looking tomatoes on them!

 

I have thinned everything out to the best of my ability and now it’s just weeding and harvesting to do.  One variety of carrot did really well, the other is pretty sparse.  The seeds were a few years old so that’s likely why.  My terrible planting is really evident by how much (or little) space is between things.  I’ll be pulling all the radishes this week.  We aren’t huge radish eaters so I didn’t plant a lot but what I did plant has done really well.  I’m actually really impressed because I’ve tried to grow them several times with no luck.  The three varieties of lettuce I tried growing did absolutely nothing – there is some romaine growing though.  In the place of the radishes and where the lettuce didn’t grow I’ll be planting a mixed variety of lettuce which I have been growing in a container and we really like.  I’m not sure how the beets are doing, but judging by their tops I think they are ok.  The spinach and kale are doing really great, I did a big harvest today which is almost gone already, we are eating greens like crazy lately.

Now the smaller garden:

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The butternut squash plants are struggling, I’m not sure if I let them grow too long in small pots before planting them.  I’m going to pick up a plant tonic to try out and see if that makes them happier.

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The spaghetti squash, zucchini’s, and cucumbers are doing well though:

The pumpkin seeds I thought were duds finally sprouted.  I doubt anything will produce from them but I’m willing to wait and see.

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The flowers are doing well other than the Violas which I’m pretty sure never germinated, there are some plants growing there that I’m almost positive are just weeds but I can’t pull them just in case!

The greenhouse gardens are doing well.  Everything is coming up, some more slowly than others but I have high hopes.  I ended up deadheading the snapdragons after this photo.

The greenhouse plants seem to be doing well – the peppers especially.  The tomatoes I’m not sure about, one of them seems to just be shooting high with very little branches.  I’m interested to see if it produces much.  I’m really excited about the amount of blooms starting on the habanero’s and there’s a few peppers growing already.

The deck tomatoes are doing so much better than I expected and our container strawberries started to really produce!

Now it’s way past my bedtime and 5am is going to come quickly! I have some posts brewing in the back of my mind so I hope to get some time to jot those down.  For now I’ll just say see you next week! If you have a garden blog please share it with me, I’m obsessed with browsing gardens 🙂

Ciao friends!

Weekly Garden Update June 19

Ok, I figured I’d start my weekly updates today and then try to do them each Sunday.

Happy Fathers day by the way!

Here’s a big view of the yard as best I could get it.

Now I’ll take you through each of the gardens and then do the tomatoes and peppers separately.  I’ll start with the greenhouse gardens.

IMG_5175In the left hand garden I have morning glories and sweet peas planted to the back of the garden which will climb up the trellis and hopefully make it gorgeous!

IMG_5177I have three teepees with different types of peas planted at the bases of the poles.  Hopefully they climb up the poles.  Between the poles I have Tom Thumb Peas planted which don’t climb.

IMG_5180In the right hand garden I have bachelor buttons planted in the front of them.  I have a number of edible flower varieties planted that I purchased from a local plant store that supplies really great seeds.  The edible flowers came in a kit and so far all the seeds have done really well.  You should check them out here.

IMG_5181These are the snap dragons I grew from seed.  I started them in February at the same time I started my tomatoes and peppers.  I have never noticed snapdragons in previous years of greenhouse wanderings and had no idea what they were supposed to look like or how to grow them – so all of that considered I’m pretty impressed with them!

IMG_5182Behind the snapdragons I have three more teepees that have a couple different of varieties of beans planted at the bases.  One morning I came out to find a lot of the seeds at the surface, I have a feeling some of them were stolen by some kind of animal – likely birds.

Now on to the large garden:

And the smaller garden – the back of the garden is tomatoes, the middle is flowers and the front is squash varieties and cucumbers (and failed pumpkins).  I’m pretty sure the viola’s failed as well and are just some weeds.

Now the tomatoes and peppers.

Lastly – the containers!

Overall I’m pretty happy with how things are going.  There are some flops but that’s to be expected!

Until next week!

Mid-June Garden Update

Well, now that we are already in the middle of June and the garden has been planted for two full weeks I figured it was time to do a catch up post in anticipation of starting a weekly update.  I’m very optimistic about this years garden, things seem to be flourishing early on.  I learned last year that it’s not what happens in the beginning that matters but the maintenance throughout the season that will make the difference.  This year I’m trying to be very intentional with things like thinning out the plants so they have the appropriate amount of space to grow, as well as pruning the tomato plants.

I apologize in advance for the length of this post but I do promise to try and get out a weekly update on the gardens.  Maybe I’ll even cut this into a couple posts, we’ll see!

When I left off last time we had just finished filling the two biggest gardens with soil and I was just waiting to plant.

Here’s what the greenhouse plants looked like before I transplanted them into the gardens.  I didn’t harden them off before putting them into the gardens which wasn’t the best decision but everything is still alive and growing! 


Here’s a snapshot of the containers that I had planted – they were doing well aside from the rectangular lettuce container that barely grew at all.  When I moved them outside the majority of them declined rapidly.  I’m ok with that, I’ll try some more again soon. 


It was finally time to plant! I planted 4 days before our last frost date on May 25 and had a slight scare with very light frost the next morning – thankfully it was just a scare! 

First thing in the ground was the squash plants and of course tomatoes.  I did 24 in the large garden and 14 in the medium one.  My husband saw me struggling and was kind enough to help out 🙂 . Then over the next couple days I planted the rest of the seeds.  I (very) roughly followed a square foot pattern and it seemed to work ok.  Definitely not the wisest or prettiest ways to plant but it worked.  Also I’m actually really terrible at the planting of seeds part of gardening but I’m trying to get better at it as well as thinning out the young plants to make room for actual growth.  


Finally, here’s some progression shots in chronological order – my favourite way to see progress! 

May 26


May 28 (flower seedlings started in the greenhouse) 


May 31


June 1: repotting the remaining tomato plants (18).  I’ve since got rid of 9 of those, I’m growing 4 on the deck and 5 in the greenhouse. 



June 6



June 9 


June 11


Ok, I think that’s enough for now! You’ll notice that I’m still obsessed with coffee 🙂

If you don’t already – be sure to follow me on Instagram for more up to date pictures.  I will definitely try to do weekly up dates – they are my favourite way to see how well everything grows.  

Ciao friends! Enjoy your week! 

Mid Spring Garden Update

I am severely lacking in the garden post updates!  The garden isn’t planted yet but we have been hard at work getting things prepared.  I’ve been wanting to do a bit of an update for a while but wanted to do some close ups with the seedlings but I haven’t got those done yet so I decided something was better than nothing!

I’ve become very interested in following all sorts of gardeners and farmers on instagram and I’m envious of everyone who has full lush gardens and have already had a harvest or two of certain vegetables.  Of course they are growing far more south than I am but still, it’s testing my patience! I will say that having the greenhouse this year is helping with settling the impatience I feel.  I still get to “garden” every day, just in a bit of a different way.  Most of the plants are thriving in there right now but that didn’t come without some bumps in the road.   I have 3 or 4 rectangular planters that I wanted to experiment with so I  planted a variety of leafy greens, some Tom Thumb Peas, Bush Baby Zucchini, and sunflowers.  They haven’t done the greatest and one of the boxes got knocked to the ground by my husband. I did learn that they shouldn’t be in direct sunlight in the greenhouse – just too hot, so I’ve got them tucked to the back of the shelves for some shade.  Some of the plants died – a combination of getting too dry and sunburn.  I have a hanging planter full of lettuce that is growing beautifully.  I bought 6 strawberry plants and planted them in planters to hang off the deck, we’ve already had our first taste.  The pepper plants are chugging along, once again slower than I like but they are showing promise.  The tomato plants are going crazy, several of them already flowered and the rest producing flower buds.  I spent a couple hours one day meticulously caring for each one, pruning suckers and any yellow leaves.  They really liked that and have grown immensely since then.   The geraniums are doing quite well – I did lose a couple of them that just didn’t seem to want to grow but have plenty left to go into planters.  The snapdragons are also doing pretty well – to be honest I’ve never heard of or seen snapdragons before growing them this year so I have no idea what I’m supposed to look for in terms of good growth.  I have 4 butternut squash seedlings that are also doing great – I need to get them in the ground asap though.

I have a variety of things I’ve started/attempted to start as well – lots of different types of flowers, a bunch of herbs, spaghetti squash, perennial grass, cucumbers, pumpkins.  I was surprised this year to realize what a difference the seed company makes to the yield of each seed.  One company in particular – I think I may have successfully started a few seeds at the most and everything else that I’ve attempted several times has been a complete fail.  So there’s a huge lesson for me – I will be getting rid of those seeds and not buying from that company again.  I’ve also bought from companies I’ve never tried before this year but who have great reputations so I’m excited to see how well they do.

Aside from the plants in the greenhouse, we’ve also been doing a lot of updating in the yard.  Last year I had 3-4×4 gardens, this year I decided I wanted more space to grow so I had my husband build me a rectangular garden around the already existing gardens.  It ended up being 5×16.  Then on a whim I decided I also wanted a garden that would be partially shaded for part of the day and had him build me a 3×14 garden along the bottom of our deck. We also have 2 more boxes to build for the front of the greenhouse which will be 2×4 and 2×6. This increases our garden space from 48 square feet to 142 square feet! That is insane! I may have gotten carried away with myself this year, but I’m excited to continue to learn and grow things! Wednesday I had 5 cubic yards of soil dropped off to fill the gardens, and it was a bit too much – oops! But it’s a great excuse to start working on the front garden.  I don’t know that I’ll plant anything this year but we will start getting the ground ready to plant next year for sure – lots of landscaping work to be done there and unlike the backyard where I’ve taken lots of short cuts (and a professional landscaper would cringe at what we’ve done) we’ll have to do it right in the front.  So I’m going to go ahead and taken the time to do it well. I’ll keep you post on that progress as well!

Here’s some pictures of the last month or so of growing:

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