Saturday, May 1, 2021

Cucumbers - Hoping That This Year is Better Than Last


I sowed 3 varieties of cucumbers this week and, together with a few squash varieties that are yet to be sown, I am totally psyched for a great cucurbit year.

Garden Sweet (pickling) & Chelsea Prize (slicer) are two long-time favourites
while the Tasty Treat Slicer is a new-to-me variety

Cucumbers are one thing that I've always had pretty good success with.  While there may be some hiccups every once in a while, overall the harvests have been good to great.  That was until the disaster that was 2020, where I had the absolute worst cucumber harvest ever.  How bad is bad?  How about one cucumber.  Yup - short of zero harvest, you can't get much worse than that.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Under the Grow Lights

This year, just like last, the grow lights are nowhere near as cramped as usual.  The main reason for this is that we are revamping the side yard vegetable garden which contains 8 of our raised beds (Area #1).  The original plan was to redo that area last year...and then we had a pandemic and most plans, including that one, flew out the window.

So 2021 is the year.  All the beds (old and new) in that area will be out of commission for most, if not all, of the season.  While the actual building of the beds is a relatively quick process, everything else that goes along with that (such as filling them, mulching the paths and redoing the drip irrigation) takes much more time.  And just like last year, I'm planning on doing this at my own pace & not stressing myself out with deadlines.  I spoke about my New Approach to the garden last July and I intend to stay the course on that - more enjoyment & less pressure is the name of the game.

Lettuce will be on the hilltop this year - a little less convenient,
but you gotta do what you gotta do

Thursday, April 22, 2021

My Approach to Sowing Basil

A couple of weeks ago I spoke about the basil varieties that I'll be growing, namely Profumo di Genovese, Dolly, Lemon, Thai and the Botanical Interests Custom Blend.  When it comes to growing basil in my area, you don't technically have to start seeds indoors.  If I sow directly in mid-late May, which is a couple of weeks after our last frost date, I could start harvesting by the end of July.  But we all want our harvests earlier, don't we?  And that means that I'm starting my basil indoors about 5 weeks before our last frost date.

12 day old basil seedlings

Friday, April 16, 2021

The Garden Awakens, Part 2

Last year, I went a bit hog-wild when I was finally able to go to the garden centre after the initial lockdown.  All that pent up plant-shopping energy came out with a bang and I reverted back to type.  Instead of having a plan and a list to go by, I spent over 3 hours browsing and anything that caught my eye ended up in my cart (which quickly turned into two carts - #noguilt 😜).  After the stress of those first few months of the pandemic, I truly reveled in a good old fashioned plant shopping spree.


Monday, April 12, 2021

The Garden Awakens, Part 1

It's early April and the garden is coming to life.  There have been a lot of additions to the perennial beds in the past couple of years and I've been rather remiss in detailing those here.  I'm hoping to rectify that this year.

Puschkinia libanotica with
Iris reticulata in the background

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Basil for 2021


With the work being done in the garden this year, I am once again cutting back on what I'm growing to the essentials.  Well, the essentials according to me 😉.

"Regular" & lemon basil are always on the grow list.  I started growing lemon basil several years ago and I wouldn't be without it.  It's absolutely delicious mixed with Greek yoghurt - one of our favourite veggie dips.

When it comes to regular basil, I enjoy trying new varieties.  About 7 years ago, I had a very bad basil year when the entire crop was infected with basil downy mildew (BDM).  The following year, I grew Eleanora, a BDM resistant variety, and it was a success - the basil patch was mildew-free.

I always plant basil in the the tomato beds,
usually with a marigold or two

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Garden Bed Cleanup - I'm Early This Year!


I don't do very much garden cleanup in the fall which is good in a number of ways.  Firstly, it allows beneficial insects plenty of nooks and crannies to settle in for the winter.  Then there are the birds which are very grateful for the seedheads that continue to feed them through most of the winter.  Lastly, there is the winter interest that the plants provide - I, for one, prefer to see swaying grasses and seed heads covered with snow rather than a white, flat landscape, devoid of any plant material save for shrubs and evergreens.   And truth be told, by the time fall rolls around, I'm pretty much ready for a break, so the less I need to do the better.

Icy sedum heads are magical