Fibre of a different sort!

I’ve taken most of my busy summer off from Fibre Arts like pattern writing, knitting, & crocheting, to enjoy planting and caring for a small urban vegetable garden.  It is part of my renewed efforts to live a healthier, more active lifestyle that incorporates more fresh, locally grown, fibre rich food–you can’t get much fresher or local than your own back yard!  I dug up the lawn at the back of my small lot, and planted most of my garden on the Victoria Day long weekend in May.  Here is a May 28th photo of the garden partially seeded and planted, and a photo taken in late July (standing at other end of garden).

28 may

When I was digging, it seemed larger than about 14 X 25 feet!

11698681_10153390406741885_3745948140103491358_n

It is so rewarding when your garden starts to really flourish!

The teepee trellis (which I made 3 years ago from 2 to 3 inch already-dead alder saplings collected from a country roadside) has provided a steady supply of snow and shelling peas, scarlet runner beans, lettuce/radish/carrots planted inside, plus the seed pods from daikon radish, which are a delightfully spicy, crunchy addition to salads and stir fry.

11228510_10153429793696885_8412682501725612266_n

Snow peas & tall telephone peas, Scarlet Emporer Runner beans

11209544_10153429794256885_6834899249745624644_n

The Teepee trellis is about 8 feet high…but that isn’t high enough to keep the Scarlet Emporer runner beans from reaching higher in the sky! The poles are popular perches for small birds & dragonflies.

I decided to plant some more veggies, so I dug up 2 other small areas.

11535903_10153313916891885_4509802906520437361_n

Ready to plant!

The first area I added, I dug about 2 feet deep, lay branches and twigs in the bottom then put on the grass sod, upside down; I replaced the soil and added some dirt from my haphazard compost heap (I just toss all my scraps and twigs and so on into a corner of the yard, and once in awhile I mix it around a bit.)  I planted slicing cucumbers, sunflowers, tomatoes, and a few handfuls of assorted lentils, beans and peas.  Here is a more recent photo of the same area, taken from the other side. The tomatoes, in the centre, are about 5 feet tall already! The pumpkin plant is starting to sprawl and take over the middle area.

suns toms and cukes

Sunflowers, slicing cukes, pumpkin, tomatoes…and a pot with herbs

The 2nd area I added is in the ‘front’ yard; I planted a package of seeds my grandchildren gave me, a “3 Sisters” pack from West Coast Seeds:  Golden Bantam Corn, Japanese Red Kuri Squash, and Scarlet Runner Beans.  I added a squash-family-seedling from the compost pile, plus some kidney beans, Russian Kale, and peas.

3 june_4

Newly planted 3 Sisters Garden

3 sisters

West Coast Seeds “3 Sisters” seed pack: Red Kuri squash, Golden Bantam Corn, Scarlet Runner beans; plus Russian kale, kidney beans

Here are some more recent photos of the garden! So many hours of work go into even a small garden like this! The only garden tool I have is a D-handle spade…and a wagon I use instead of a wheelbarrow as it is kinder to my back.

10906233_10153390405296885_601346622940021982_n

pickling cukes: planted at the request of my oldest granddaughter, so I could make each of the 3 oldest grandchildren their own jar of pickles!

10422325_10153390397981885_1973171306221077682_n

yellow bush beans and “mystery peas” from saved seeds

10407174_10153390384561885_639916480735076161_n

Roma cherry tomatoes

11049641_10153390407881885_5808756876497786259_n

the pole beans outgrew their pole supports!

I had extra Scarlet Emporer runner bean seeds, so I planted them at the front of the house–the shade helps keep the porch cool, the humming birds and bees love the  flowers, and I am harvesting more beans!

11241223_10153429795206885_683689252059894538_n

The Scarlet Emporer runner beans provide shade for the porch window behind them.

11846750_10153429795356885_610725920961069240_n

Scarlet Emporer runner beans, planted behind the heritage irises and a couple of tomato plants, cling to netting I strung up over the bamboo blind. There are also sugar peas and 2 volunteer squash or gourds climbing up with them!

I deliberately left the photos uncropped, so you can see the “brown” lawn…Vancouver Island suffered from drought conditions this summer, and water conservation included no watering of lawns.  Next year I’ll put in a drip watering system so that I conserve more water .

I am currently battling powdery mildew on my summer squash & spaghetti squash plants.  Do you have tips for how you prevent or ‘cure’ it? I don’t use fungicides.  I’m trying a spray of 1 Tablespoon baking soda/1 Litre water–I hope I salvage the plants so they will continue production… and prevent its spread to nearby pumpkin and cucumber  plants.

11822758_10153429793886885_1436846618093970329_n

Oh no! A very virulent influx of powdery mildew. Will baking soda/water spray save my plants?!!

I’ve really enjoyed spending time every day out in my garden.  As well as having fresh picked produce every day, I’m been able to freeze small amounts for future use and share a little with family members.  The digging, weeding, picking, and walking around admiring my little plot has provided exercise; the satisfaction I get from producing my own food is something I savour; and the beauty I find in the flowers, leaves, birds, insects, and the vegetables themselves is food for the soul.  I’m already planning next year’s garden!

10352954_10153390404946885_4582184703691189160_n

Dwarf Gray Sugar ‘Cabbage Pea’ has been grown since before 1773. …what beautiful flowers! Left to mature and dry, they make wonderful soup peas, too.

11811311_10153429793401885_5791309357432179576_n

Lovely white blooms on the volunteer potatoes which sprouted from the compost dirt I spread along my pumpkin/black beans row.

11855636_10153429794606885_8854312325556865307_n

My new Fig Tree is ‘hiding’ in the corn to keep it partially shaded.

11855864_10153429794361885_1264328249786076653_n

Green Dragon long slicing cucumber.

11169247_10153390410146885_379240189669261751_n

The Teepee Trellis has lasted 3 years already; made from already-dead, small 2-3″ alder poles that are about 8 feet long, held together with haywire, cotton twine, and the beans and peas that climb to the sky.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s