Thursday, June 20, 2013

the new bed

it's been such a busy past couple weeks, luckily the weather has been decent. i finally got to finish the bed along the back fence with the ontario natives, some blueberries and blackberries, wild ginger, sunflowers and a few other things. the sunflowers are the ones i started from seed, so it will be exciting if they take off.. they will be the biggest things i have ever successfully started from seed. i have a [mostly] green thumb but when it comes to starting seeds i usually don't have much luck unless it's directly in the ground.

 [more freecycled garden ties]

another seedling that i am quite proud of is my scarlet runner. four years in a row i have tried sticking these things in the ground, starting them in deep containers, planting them along fences, and nothing... finally this year [while i was away actually] one of the beans in the cups sprouted! it was quick to take off so i had to get it into the ground right away.

when i first dropped it into the ground a day or two ago, it had it's two huge first leaves, and a little something was starting to come out the top. now it has three more leaves and it's starting to spread out. i planted it in front of what used to be a tree, and is now a couple foot tall log sticking out of the ground. it will give the beans something to grow up, maybe creating a bush, and giving the vines a way to reach the fence.

the blackberries seem to be happy in their new home, the plant has really bushed out, and it's starting to fruit! usually in the first year fruiting perennials don't produce much if any edible fruit, but we'll see.

one thing that i was worried about was the rhubarb. i had planted it a couple weeks ago and it didn't do much, except lose a couple of leaves and look really unhappy. this shocked me because usually rhubarb is so easy! i asked the woman at the farmers' market what was up with it, and she said it should be fine if it's still alive, just give it a couple more weeks to take. sure enough a few days later it started to perk up and produce a couple new leaves! that's it for now, i'll post later today about the benefits of polycultures. toodles!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

no place like home.

i'm back! finally.. well i have been for a few days but unfortunately returned to a wet basement and i've had little time to post. being gone for over a week the one thing i was worried about was no one remembering to water the garden in it's youthful freshly planted state.. but mother nature took care of that for me. apparently it rained almost every day.

besides mostly everything still being alive, the biggest surprise was this sprout! i have tried to grow these scarlet runner beans a few years now and they either get knocked down or torn out mistaken for something else, or they just don't sprout! my guess is that they'd rather be in the ground than started in a cup, but with my track record i thought if they won't start this way, i'll never start these beans. and voila! not only did it sprout but it seems to grow super quick.. gotta get it in the ground soon!

Matt's lettuce patch is doing really well too. it seems something else besides us is enjoying it, but we've snagged a few delicious crispy leaves for ourselves. i love the colour! i'm hoping i have more seeds to throw down to continue growing lettuce later in the season.

besides the garden, another thing that is flourishing is the community around it. this house has always have five or six tenants, but the back yard was rarely used, it was left to become overgrown. since Matt and i have moved in, we have converted it into somewhere nice to hang out, grow food and relax. now when i arrive home from work more often than not everyone that is home is in the back yard either cooking on the fire or coals, hanging out with the dogs or checking out the gardens. i love it!

 [upcycled truck tire rim into fire pit]

the culture part of permaculture.. the human connections, those are just as important as the networks being built in the garden. somewhere along the way people are losing touch with the sense of community and working together, and i think these things are just as important to cultivate as the food is.

that being said, we have done a lot of networking at the farmers' market, and if my timing is right, i should be able to get in on the good stuff today. gotta fly! it's good to be home... <3

Sunday, June 2, 2013

a week away..

bad timing i know... i don't have much of a choice though. i have been chosen as the delegate for my district to represent at an international shareholders conference, and it just happened to be the first week of June. worst week to step away from the garden.. i'm nervous for the most recent planted beds as it has been very hot this past week. the first couple patches planted are already well enough established that they no longer droop in the heat. it's supposed to cool down this week, here's hoping..

we created this series of beds [which is truly one connected bed] one section at a time, so we have had the benefit of a couple weeks to observe how the first sections took before planting more. we used a sort of 'lasagna' style of building beds, we turned, mulched with cardboard, composted mulch, topsoil and composted sheep manure. there has yet to be a weed.

tada! well, this is the garden so far.. i had to halt production to reserve funds [and time] for this trip that starts tomorrow. what we have in the buckets is orange mint and peppermint, a fig tree, in the back bed lettuce [mesclun mix], carrots, radish, tomato, and rhubarb. in the main beds we have purple kale, regular and oriental eggplants, bok choy, rainbow swiss chard, and more radish. for peppers there's hot hungarian, long red italian, hot cherry, cayenne, bell pepper, and possibly a couple other i can't remember. there's a variety of tomatoes too.. cherry, black cherry, burgundy stripe heirloom, early girl, and i think there was a yellow one as well. oh, and blackberries and red onions!

the corner closest to the door houses most of the herbs, things we will want ready access to when cooking. the variety so far includes rosemary, french tarragon, regular and hot oregano, basil, sage, lavender, flat and ruffled parsley, dill, thyme and lemon thyme, chives and a little curry. i also finally found some chamomile seeds! i was excited to find any at all.

we wanted to plant a fruit tree of some sort, but we aren't sure if we can put a tree on this property.. so we decided to start with a tree we can keep in a pot; a fig tree. a woman at the farmer's market had held onto it for me, i fell in love with the idea of fresh figs. i covered the top with rocks after mulching with composted manure to keep the moisture in.

this will be the last entry until i return next weekend, when i will evaluate how the plot survives my absence in such a sensitive time. hopefully the housemates will remember to water [and love it!].