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