Friday, June 18, 2010

Down to earth - for real

Yep. It's that time of year.  The garden is screaming for attention. And I have been down to earth and wallowing for real.

In early spring I hired a young neighbour to dig up some sod for me to enlarge two of the vegetable gardens.

After he extended the East garden by the several foot wide strip you can see here (the long strip at the right side that is not yet covered with straw) he moved on to enlarge another garden on the South side.

After finishing this job the six foot tall 250 pound 21 year old neighbour boy laid down his shovel, proclaiming the work was too hard.

Then  MY hard work began. I had to take out the rocks he left in the soil and replace the good top soil that he took away with the sod. 

But I caught a break when I discovered that the old sod from a couple of seasons ago was now nice new crumbly composted soil. So that was a bonus as I did not need to purchase any.

I ended up shovelling thirty wheelbarrows full and distributing it between the newly enlarged gardens. Once that was mixed with dozens of bags of peat moss, black earth and manure I felt it was ready. And just in the nick of time -  as it was now the beginning of June. It had been dry and very hot. But as soon as I got all the veggies in the rains came like a wonderful gift from the heavens. They have continued for several weeks on and off.

Here is the South garden with a view of the tomato plants.  I went nuts this year and bought thirty two of them!  But you never know. The first year I had eight plants and had just about enough tomatoes frozen to get me through the winter.  The second year I had 15 plants but because of blight I got hardly enough for half the winter. So far this year things are looking good - weather-wise.
In addition I put in about 50 potatoes, planting them in shallow holes with dead leaves and pine needles added, then piling straw on top.

If this works you end up with easily harvested potatoes with no loss due to cutting with the shovel when you harvest. You can just move the straw aside and pull a few out! And very little digging at all as you just keep pulling the straw up with your hands and tucking it around the leaves as they emerge.  I am excited to see if this works. Here are a couple of potato sprouts pushing through.

In this East garden are also hundreds of onions and garlic, leaf lettuce, radish, spinach and Giant Red Asian mustard. And peas!

Here they are clinging to an old farm gate that I found behind the barn.  Forms a little privacy fence too.  You can see the difference a month makes.
If Peter C Tail allows it I will share the wealth with neighbours, friends and maybe even the food bank.  The little darling had already mown down a third of my peas before I put up chicken wire.

I did an experiment in January with Winter Sowing of a number of seeds.  I cant sow seeds inside my house as I have not enough room or the proper light. So I chose wintersowing.  Out of 40 different types about 15 came up.  Of those about 12 survived till I got them planted. Originally I had them against the west fence where they would not be blown over and would get plenty of sun.  But when spring arrived I didnt want to impede the growth of the other plants that they were sitting on top of so I moved them to a little greenhouse which I placed on the back porch.  Up came a big wind and down went the greenhouse spewing the seeds all over the sidewalk. I scooped them up as best I could and miraculously most survived. I see that they should have been transplanted to a larger container and fertilized as they are very tiny.  Next year I will try again.

If you are interested in learning about Winter Sowing check out the original website. It is very informative. Try keying in

Happy Gardening to all.

1 comment:

Joyce said...

Hi Jane--So glad your back it seems like forever since we spoke. Glad your back to blogging a little. I love all the new things going on at your house. You have put in alot of hard work there!!! You are awesome, with all those great veggies. I love the garden gate idea, perfect. Sorry to hear about your winter sowing problems. But that's ok! Trail and Error. A garderners life.
Did you put in any new flowers this year, inquiring minds need to know. Happy Day to you......:)