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!


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.


Snow peas & tall telephone peas, Scarlet Emporer Runner beans


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.


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.


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!


yellow bush beans and “mystery peas” from saved seeds


Roma cherry tomatoes


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!


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


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.


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!


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.


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


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


Green Dragon long slicing cucumber.


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.


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