Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Raised bed #3 is jinxed.

I have a raised bed that just seems to grow nothing. Everything is yellow, stunted and pathetic. This year I put identical plants in bed #3 and bed #1. The difference is staggering. They have identical wood boxes, soil, amendments and mulches. I used to think it was because it was much shadier. Now it's in the sun and the same light-wise. So now I think it is the cedar hedge behind me sucking out all the nutrients. Through the process of elimination, that is the only culprit left.

Sorrel...garden shoe for comparison

Sorrel in Bed #3...about 6" across the whole plant...plants were the same size.

Squash...about three feet across in the Back to Eden garden.

Squash in Bed #1

Squash in Bed #3...plants were all seeded in my greenhouse. Identical soil, planting dates etc.

Thyme in Bed #3...not nearly as large, but not too bad.

Artichoke...with my garden shoe for comparison...about 2' across.

Artichoke in Bed #3...leaves are about 5-6" long at most.

Black Krim tomato in Bed #1

Black Krim Tomato in Bed #3...again both grown from seed in my greenhouse. Plants were identical when planted. This is pretty sad.

I will be removing bed #3 when I have time.



Monday, June 29, 2015

Clematis Elsa Spath

              Elsa Spath Clematis    {This is not my plant}

I am in love with purple Clematis. I started looking when I saw they were flowering at garden centres. Marigold Nursury had a lovely selection of clematis about a month ago. The purple flower on the Elsa Spath Clematis was so spectacular, I knew I had my flower. I have been unsure where to plant it. My Mom dropped by for a garden tour today and we were chatting about where it could go. Ta Da. Snugged right between the Fallgold Rasperry bed and the compost bins. It is completely shaded, but when it's head pops up over the fence level, the top will be in full sun. PERFECT. Cool feet, hot head. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Squash / Pumpkin / Cucumber / Watermelon Cross-Pollination chart

Everyone who grows squash and members of the squash family, wonders about cross pollination of the squashes. It will not affect your squashes in the growing year. It will cause the seeds to not be true to the parent the following year. So you can limit the varieties you grow, or you can buy new seed every year. If you chose to plan your growing so you won't have this crossover, here is the chart to make that easy. There are groups A to G. Only the plants within the separate groups will cross pollinate. So now, wasn't that easy. I know I'm going to print it off and use it. 

Group A Cucurbita pepo:

Summer squash
Yellow crookneck or straightneck
Zucchini, Cocozelle
Scallop/patty pan

Winter Squash

many ornamental types.

Many Pumpkins including Cinderella, Big Tom, Jack O’Lantern, Jackpot, Small Sugar, Sugar Pie and Connecticut Field.

Group B Curcurbita moschata:

Winter Squash
Butternut squash

Dickinson Field
Golden Cushaw
Kentucky Field

Group C Cucurbita maxima:

Winter squash

Big Max
King of the Mammoths
Mammoth Chile
Mammoth Prize
Atlantic Giant

Ornamental squash
Turk’s Turban

Group D Cucurbita mixta:

Green-Striped Cushaw
Japanese Pie
Tennessee Sweet Potato
White Cushaw
Mixta Gold

Group E Cucumis sativus:

All slicing and pickling Cucumbers (except Armenian cucumber):
Beit Alpha cucumber
Lemon cucumber

Group F Cucumis melo:

Armenian (Snake cucumber or Serpent melon)

All muskmelons

Group G Citrullus lanatus:

All watermelons
All citrons

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Now THAT is a Rhododendron!!

My friends Rob and Patty are lucky enough to have this amazing Rhododendron 'Tree' in their yard. Isn't it amazing. I planted my rhododendron, the same pink as this, 36 years ago. It would reach about the top of Rob's head.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Hosta Bed down the side of the veggie garden.

I was originally going to put shady veggies down the East side of the East yard. Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts etc. I changed my mind. This side is visible from the street and we walk it often, so I thought I'd turn it into eye candy. I am not sure how many hosta's I planted today...maybe eleven counting the one I put elsewhere, and two hydrangeas. So a few of the hosta's are in a spot that they will get a lot of sun for a few hours in the afternoon. The rest are further down the side and shady. We will see how it goes.

The varieties planted today:

Halcyon {43" wide}

Elegans {61" wide}

Twilight {28" width}

Minuteman {50" wide}

Sagae {70" wide}

Wide Brim {45" wide}

First frost {36" wide}

I can see I have made some overly large choices. Cool.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Negronne Fig is figging...

The Negronne Fig, or Violette du Bordeaux, was planted three years ago. It has been slow going, but suddenly it is having a growth spurt, complete with more than a dozen figs. Well, how exciting is this?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Bird houses and whirligigs

Robin whirligig

My sister and I were in Ontario a couple years ago. During our time there, we spent every minute we could with our Uncle Orrie. He is such a sweet man and has the best laugh. He is in his early nineties and still mows his lawn, weeds his gardens and takes care of the neighbours yard because she works two jobs. These are not tiny yards. Probably a half an acre.

Uncle Orrie is a little shaky now, but back when he had a steadier hand, he made some gorgeous whirligigs. The most stunning was a Canada Goose that was about three feet long. Tucked up by the rafters, was a little flock of robin whirligigs. I fell in love with how realistic the colours were and how perfectly 'Ontario' they were. I brought one back. Carefully placed dead centre in my suitcase to keep it safe.

Uncle Orrie is a builder of birdhouses. He has a classic style I call Uncle Orrie blue and red. Here is a picture of the house I bought on this trip and one that my sister Jess gave me. I chose a natural base colour. You can't see the red heart from this angle, but Classic Uncle Orrie. 

         Allan put them together on this tall post for me. 

Uncle Orrie does not have an easy life. After standing outside for at least an hour with us and then scooting up his stairs without holding the railing...he said "I love my life." He is a treasure. I love you so much dear uncle.

    Uncle Orrie then.

   Uncle Orrie now, with my incredible sister.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Food Forest Step 1...creating paths.

The first step in the new food forest was roughing in paths with my hoe. I just walked around the yard as if moving through the garden from one area to the next, dragging the hoe to mark where and how I needed access. Then I used my rake and etched in narrow paths. When I had them arranged the way I wanted them, I used my rake to carve the paths into the wood chips. I left a fine layer of wood chips that will be much easier to walk on than the previous deep and chunky chips. I then created islands in the paths so that there are areas of high use that you can move freely in...like little pathway patios. I then cleared a path around each of the raised beds so that access and walking will be easier. 

One of the pathway 'patio's'. You can see that there is a large area in front of the greenhouse so the coming and going doesn't happen on narrow paths. You can see the garden starting to take shape. 

There are a LOT of grass clumps that need to come out, so I am doing it as I work a section. I have pulled 1 1/2 large garbage cans of grass. I thought about moving wood chips and putting newspaper under the chips like I should have in the first place. Then I realized it would probably be a lot faster to just pull it. 

Here is another picture of NW Edible Life food forest inspiration!!

Friday, June 19, 2015

The seed is planted (so to speak)..I am creating a small food forest

I recently saw these pictures on the blog Northwest Edible Life.

I had been grappling with my back yard. I have some raised beds and quite a few fruit trees. And lots of wood chips. LOTS. I know the trees are immature and it will look a lot greener when they grow up, but there just wasn't enough green. See what I mean!? 

Then I saw Erica's garden pictures above. FOOD FOREST!! I spent Easter weekend 2014 at a permaculture/food forest class. It was inspirational. I have limited room, so I banked all the knowledge for another time. And then I saw the pictures. Erica did it all in a small space, so could I. This whole area made sense. So I have some Honeyberries, black gooseberries, a black currant and lots of Alpine Strawberries. Just enough to start things off. Today I started roughing in the pathways. Let the Food Forest commence. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Old German Tomatoes...new for this year

If my Old German tomatoes have tomatoes this large while they are still in the pot, I have high hopes that I could have some really lovely tomatoes this year. 

And this is what I am hoping for!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Little apples everywhere.

Ambrosia Apples. How beautiful are they. I cannot wait to try one of my own home grown !! 

Florina Apples. Aren't they beautiful. And look how big they are already. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Lime tree transplanted

Because of the Bindweed, the citrus house has been delayed. There is no point putting the citrus in the ground within a new greenhouse, if Bindweed will be all over in there. In the meantime, the poor lime tree hadn't been transplanted when it should have been because it was going in the ground soon. So now it has been done. Much bigger pot. Some bone meal. And over into the shady-ish part of the yard to settle in for a couple of days. It has been extremely hot the past couple days and that is hard on new transplants. I finally got the tomatoes planted, but I'm watching them like a hawk for wilting.
Did you know that when a lime is ripe it turns yellow? I just read that the other day. As is typical, they are picked before they are ripe as are all fruit and veggies. I will take pictures when I cut one open. I bet it's pretty with the yellow skin and soft green on the inside.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Doorway to Fairy Land

I love to have little hidden fun things in my gardens. This little door is hidden if you don't scrunch down by the raised strawberry bed with the lavender border. So these particular fairies live under the strawberries.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Bindweed daily ritual

At least once a day Amanda and I dig out Bindweeds. If you come back five hours later, there will be more. So this is Amanda in a very familiar pose.