Garden Update July 16,2017

Look at me go, an actual week update! 

It’s been a bit of crazy weather around here and it’s kept me on my toes hoping the garden survives! We’ve had a heat wave but with heat waves come storms.  I’ve thought we were going to get hail a few times and we did get hail once.  I watched and hoped it didn’t ruin everything and thankfully we had no complete casualties although there was some damage.  There were a lot of damaged leaves to the tomatoes and peppers, a couple peppers that were growing ended up ruined, the greens were pelted pretty bad but there’s still lots left to grow and eat.  The watermelon, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin and zucchini all had damage, the most being to the watermelon and cucumbers – I don’t think we’ll get any harvest from either of them anyways.  The other damage was to the flower gardens, they are now laying down and leaning everywhere so I’m going to try and hold them up somehow. 

Otherwise, this week I’ve been working away at getting the tomatoes all supported, pruned and fertilized – still not done, and never will be I’m assuming. I also hung the shade cloth in the greenhouse with some trial and error, but it’s hanging! The plants seem to love the shade, it still gets smoking hot in there but the sun isn’t scorching them.  I got all the peppers either potted up or planted in the garden.  I’ve now realized my big mistake with all the peppers in the garden – I didn’t bother to harden them off. See, I haven’t hardened off the tomatoes at all and they’ve done well so I didn’t even think about gardening off the peppers! So they’ll survive I’m sure but their growth won’t be nearly as good as it would have been had I taken the time to harden them off.  I’ve also thinned out all the carrots and we’ve been munching on the babies.  

Whew – when I write it all out I realize how much I’ve actually done! Sometimes it feels like I’m just spinning my wheels and getting nowhere.  That’s another reason I like doing these updates, to remind myself that although some days (right now it feels like all days) seem like all I do is feed kids, put kids to bed and clean up all the messes that I am actually able to accomplish much more than that. 

So here’s what the garden looks like:


The herbs are flourishing! I can’t wait to use these in my cooking soon! The fill definitely needs to be harvested, I’ll be using it in a lot of roasted/BBQ potatoes. 


Ezekiel’s gardens are doing pretty well! I think the carrots and peas are going to be great! 


The potted tomatoes seem to be doing great! I’ll need to fertilize these ones real soon. 


You can see the greens, carrots and onions had some hail damage but I think they’re bouncing back. 


The squash, zucchini and pumpkins are taking off but the cucumbers and watermelons suck.  



The peppers! So many of them! Some days I look at them and think “they’re doing so well!” Then the next I look and think “they look so sad!” Despite that all, there are quite a few peppers growing and lots of flowers so hopefully we’ll get a good harvest. 


The tomatoes….. allllllll the tomatoes.  One is going to be ripe soon, and I can’t wait to eat it! The tomatillos are going nuts, I seriously under estimated how much room they would need, unlike most of my tomato varieties which growing like a vine and are easily contained – they grow up and way out! They are really pretty though. 


The potatoes look like they’re growing well. It’s always a nice surprise at the end of the season to see what’s underneath the green! 


I love these gardens more and more each day. 


The greenhouse is doing fantastic, and I love it more this year than last.  

Well, that’s it for this week.  Always lots and lots to do, but it’s slower work and I can do a tiny bit each day.  It’s been nice to slow down before the craziness of harvest comes and I’m drowning in tomatoes. 

Ciao friends! Happy Gardening!

Garden Update June 22

I’ve been trying to sit down and write this for a couple days but each time I try a little person needs my help.  I suppose that’s the life of a mom – especially moms of younger ones.  So I’ve resorted to writing this on my phone – convenient but not as trust worthy when it comes to spelling (dang autocorrect!) so forgive any grammatical and spelling mistakes.  

It’s been a good week in the garden. We are going to be having fresh salads next week and I cannot wait! There’s several tomatoes forming, some of the plants have sun damage but there’s lots of healthy new growth which is what really matters. The hot peppers seem to be struggling I guess I should have been a bit more patient before putting them in the garden.  I have a lot still in the greenhouse to fall back on if they don’t produce anything.  My paprika peppers, jalapeños, and sweet peppers all seem to be doing well though! The rest of the garden is sprouted and growing – I’m most surprised by the watermelons, really hoping to get at least one! The wildflower gardens are thriving as well – it’s going to be fun seeing what pops up there when they start to bloom.  

Here’s the pictures this week: 


Gourmet, rocky top, and midnight ruffle lettuce in the back.  


Arugula (super delicious!) and kale in the back.  Swischard and spinach in the middle.


Butternut squash, cucumbers and watermelon, peppers in the back. 


The tall pepper plants are paprika, then there’s the tomato forest! 


The rest of the peppers and the squash at the back. 


I’ll never tire of looking at this! Greens in the back, carrots in the center and onions in the front. 


Barrels of potatoes are doing well – time to add more dirt.


Ezekiel’s gardens are also doing pretty good.  I’m interested to see for how long they do well.  Carrots in the top picture and peas in the bottom.


Wildflower beauty.


Last but not least – the greenhouse.

How are you gardens growing? Any fun surprises? Or hard challenges? 

Happy gardening friends! 

2017 Garden

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:

  • Jalapenos
  • Paprika
  • 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
  • Caiman
  • Roma
  • 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.

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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
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Arugula

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!

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!