tardis' 2012 garden
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Well, I've been enjoying all the other garden threads so thought I'd do my own. No pictures yet but I promise they'll come :)
I garden in zone 3a, Edmonton, Alberta, but I have some pretty good microclimates so I can grow a few things that are supposed to be for warmer areas, like lavender, if I put them in the right place. Love pushing the zone boundaries!
I have just been playing with my compost and wow! Is it steaming! I thought it was hot last week, when it was 56 Celsius - today is 63 Celsius!!!
Glad you started your own thread, tardis. I want to see pictures, SOON.
Woo! I used to love to see my compost pile steam in cold weather. I've got a barrel composter now, so I don't see it steam.
Just put the grid on my veg garden - decided I was kind of bored with the traditional square foot layout. I'll still plant intensively as with SQFT, but I went with diamonds this year - they're larger than 1 foot square so will scale up the # of plants as required. I think I'll use edible ornamentals (nasturtiums, pansies, etc.) in the triangle bits around the edges.
7: And my back yard is a mess:
Well, the grass isn't a foot high. Mine's been worse. :-)
It's not a mess, it's a work in progress... :D
I love the primula. I can't grow them here, it gets too hot. :(
8> Mine's been worse, too. In fact, it was worse earlier in the day, before my sons chopped up the big brush pile left over from pruning shrubs. You can't see where that was in this picture - it was the other side of the clothesline. By the end of the day I got all the leaves off the lawn and into the compost bins and most of the actual garbage is gone. Still badly needs mowing - it is actually a foot high in spots, and sort of dead in other spots.
9> I love the primulas. These yellow ones are my favourites, although I also have some darker red/brown ones that are quite nice. The darker ones aren't blooming yet.
If you get right down and stick your face in them, don't primulas have the greatest scent? Really like your diamond grids.
And I love your blue terracotta bird bath. I'd love to own one of those some day...
Almost a secret garden, tucked in to the side like that. Very neat and tidy.
And here's the other part of today's work: Doris' garden. Doris is my 90-year old next door neighbour and for the last few years she has not wanted to plant her veg garden so I do it for both of us because I am a glutton for punishment and one garden is not enough. This garden has the BEST soil ever. This year I'm sharing part of the garden with a friend who has a condo and not enough space on her balcony for all the veg she wants to grow :)
What I planted at home: lettuce (several kinds), parsley, perpetual pesto basil (new for me this year), genovese basil, okra (also new and an experiment as it needs lots of heat and a long season), tomatoes, broad beans, garlic, shallots, leeks, scarlet runner beans, pansies, tagetes marigolds, perilla, summer savory, sage, sugar snap peas, carrots, spinach, cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, nasturtiums, parsnips, and probably some other stuff that I'm forgetting.
What we planted at Doris': nearest to furthest: row 1 (by sidewalk) artichokes, lettuce (3 kinds), genovese basil. Row 2: artichokes, broad beans. Row 3. beets, carrots. Rows 5/6 Caribe potatoes. Row 7 empty but will have snap peas (one of the short varieties like Sugar Ann) as soon as I get some. Row 8 is the start of Danielle's section. I can't recall what order she used, but she has bush beans, beets, carrots, corn, cucumbers, one of my spare artichokes, various herbs. Oh, and one of the bigger squares at the back has butternut squash which we will share. At the very back against the fence are some egyptian onions, which are perennials. Might put a tomato or two back there as well, if the corn and cukes don't shade it too much. The whitish bits are wood shavings to keep the paths from getting muddy. Need more of those.
I'm really happy that we got most of the planting done yesterday because we're having a lovely soaking rain today and more rain in the forecast for the next few days, so that should get all those seeds off to a good start and save me a ton of work in watering it all.
My next project will be my community garden plot. The first garden meeting is tonight, but not sure when the plots will be ready to go. That's the downside of the rain - it will delay the garden prep at least until the weekend. My plot there is about 7x22 feet, and I will plant it intensively to get the most out of it. I am planning to plant artichokes, carrots (can't have enough), beets, cucumbers, leeks, kohlrabi, peas (also can't have enough), marigolds, sweet peas, and whatever else I have kicking around that I can shoe-horn in.
Keen to see what artichokes look like growing. This all sounds so good. Do you know about marigolds keeping nemotodes away? Cripes, a community plot as well--tired thinking about all of this.
tiffin, I can show you now what the artichokes will look like. This is an artichoke pic from two years ago. These ones were in a decorative planter that I did for my tai chi club so we let them keep blooming. The edible stage is quite a bit earlier when the bud is still tight and green (like what you'd see in the grocery store). You can't see the foliage well but it's big silvery thistle-like leaves. Very architectural and attractive.
if you leave them and the season is long enough, they really open and get this blue part in the centre. Very interesting.
I didn't know that artichoke 'bloomed'...never even thought about it.
Thanks for sharing the pictures.
That's very interestig to see an artichoke blossom in bloom. Never saw that before.
What a lot of work! I've done a community garden plot before, and it's lots of fun to do with a friend. I used to do ours with a friend and our collective seven children. It was a great experience for all.
Your picture brings back some memories of exceptionally good times..and lots of work!
Now the planting is done the work load isn't too bad. Frequent watering for the first few weeks until everything has sprouted and probably a couple of work parties (need new mulch for the paths!) and some weeding, although I plant intensively so the weeding isn't too bad. I put weed barrier along the fence to help keep the grass out and I plant intensively so there isn't much room for weeds to move in. Plus the whole plot is only 7x22 feet. I can get a lot of produce out of that, but it's pretty manageable, size-wise.
You just reminded me that I need to seed my lettuce--if I can find the seed packet. I like those radishes a lot!
36> I can't remember now, but probably bugs, birds, or moving leaves... She is mostly an indoor cat and only gets relatively brief, supervised access to the back yard, so it's all pretty exciting :)
I've thought about allowing supervised outings for my cats, but I worry they'd find the yard too attractive. As it is, they skitter away when I open the door.
That's what our other cat does - he's very timid. Amy, however, is quite keen and I thought maybe if we were always there it would be ok. Plus, I miss having a cat supervising me when I'm out in the garden :)
When I was a child, my indoor/outdoor cat would come over and 'pounce' on my mother's hands as she weeded her gardens. It was too funny!
However, the way it is in our neighborhood, with roaming dogs (killers) and cars and wild animals, it's best to keep mine inside. They love looking out the windows, but they don't like the open door...
I keep my cats outside.
(Of course, all three are feral!) :D
Our last cat was indoor/outdoor, but we decided to keep these two mostly in, because of traffic and coyotes and stuff like that. Barring accidents, they will never be allowed out on their own or overnight.
I just started two weeks of vacation with a list of garden projects I want to accomplish, so of course the forecast is rain and more rain. Not that I don't have other stuff to do (it has been a shockingly long time since any part of my house saw the vacuum), but garden projects are so much more FUN.
Gosh you folks are getting pounded with the rain out there. I guess it beats forest fires.
Well, here's an update from today, featuring my new pea-trellis, and to the side you can see the teepee trellis for the runner beans. The pea trellis is copper pipe, mounted on rebar, is very sturdy, and can be taken apart for storage. The garden looks messy but that's because there are about 4 billion elm seeds on it (little whitish disks). I wouldn't mind but they will ALL sprout.
some first-time blooms!
unnamed peony (got it from the breeder's sister). Designation PSMT10113
baptisia 'prairie twilight blues' - turned out to be a much duller colour than I expected, but I've been babying it for years waiting for it to bloom so I guess I'll live with it.
And an old favourite: Champlain (one of the Explorer series hardy roses)
Lovely, all of them and I too love the explorer series. Have a pink one with the most wonderful fragrance. That Baptisia is really interesting.
Oh, I'm jealous. I bought a baptisia this year. The first thing it did after I planted it was to drop off all of its blossoms. The plant is still alive. It takes a while to get settled in, I'm told. Mine had very blue flowers.
Very blue was what I was hoping for, not this dullish purple. However, now that it's started blooming it should get fuller every year and may end up being impressive in spite of the dull colour. Or I could banish it to the alley bed outside the back fence and start again. Outside the back fence is where I put all the things that fail to impress but I can't bear to kill them outright.
I spent all day yesterday on the alley and shed beds. This is not quite "before" for the alley bed - picture chest-high quack grass thickly underplanted with thyme and catmint all the way along for the true "before" picture.
This is the after picture. I got tired of ripping out all the creeping thyme and catmint so it isn't completely back to bare dirt all the way along. The upturned buckets cover the water and gas valves, which are usually buried. I'm trying to keep them accessible, although hope they aren't needed :)
I also did the adjoining "shed bed" (so-called because it is between the shed and the compost bins) - before:
and shed bed after (although it still needs the path weeded and some other cleanup).
Outside the back fence is where I put all the things that fail to impress but I can't bear to kill them outright.
That's actually a great idea!
52,54: My baptisia had a single flower that promptly dropped off when I planted it in the ground. It's getting new leaves, but no sign of flowers. Its flower was about the color of violets, and I actually prefer yours. Probably wouldn't be so easy to trade. :-)
55: I've done similar enough transformations to know how much work is involved. Muscles ache today?
I was sure tired last night but I'm not too stiff today as long as I keep moving. Sitting at my desk for a couple of hours was a mistake :)
Monday/Tuesday are the judging and photography days for the garden competition, and I've entered my veg garden again (came in first last year). I spent all day today (Saturday) until 10pm working on it and it's looking pretty darned good although there's definitely still work to do before it's completely ready. Although it is supposed to rain tomorrow, so this may be as good as it gets. I'll post some pictures tomorrow.
Good luck, Tardis! Eager to see your pics--it's rare to see a garden without weeds, so I'd love to see what one looks like!
Take an umbrella...
...and keep an eye out for an old man gathering animals... :D
How neat, literally!
I think I see marigolds in the foreground, with tomatoes, and possibly lettuce and cabbage further back...?
And some pictures of my home garden, all tidied up for the judges. I don't have the results yet, but having seen all the other gardens due to being the photographer for the competition, I feel pretty good about it. Anyway, should know in a few days.
View from the southwest:
View from the east (by the gate):
View from partway along the north side of the long bed:
Not a weed could be seen...
...what is the plant twining up a cone like structure, with small red flowers?
And is that a large round mirror on the fence?
The red-flowered thing is scarlet runner bean. Gorgeous and tasty :)
And yes, that's a mirror - it was the first of several and is placed so that I can see the reflection of my herb garden from the kitchen window.
How absolutely lovely, every square inch of it. First prize as far as I'm concerned!
Wow, beautiful - both locations. Is that a solar hot water installation I see? Please tell us about it.
Forget about the garden. I want your patio! It's so sweet and pretty that I pinned it onto my Pinterest board of patios and walkways.
I hope you win first prize. I'm also glad you're here to help all of us with our gardens. :)
I'm growing Scarlet Runner Beans for the 1st time. They are beautiful and they grow incredibly fast. Lovely to plant in front of a window.
I haven't seen any so I'm not sure but I do seem to have a lot of butterflies.
72> Yes, that's a solar hydronic system - it heats the floor of the garage because my husband has his workshop out there. The angle of the tubes is set for best gain in our winter (obviously don't need heat in summer). It does help - we only need to use the backup electric heat in the darkest/coldest part of the winter. I don't know much about the details - it's my husband's project.
73> Thanks. I love that patio - it's a lovely place to sit and read on a hot day. The lilac provides the perfect amount of shade, which almost reconciles me to the suckering it does between the patio bricks. The patio gets less use than it deserves. I have a plan to put french doors and a deck off the back of the house, with a path to the patio, which will improve access.
75> I haven't seen any hummingbirds either. They're not all that common up here although we do have a couple of varieties. Haven't seen butterflies on the beans either, but as I said, I haven't been sitting out there as much as I'd like to. In previous years I have often sat on the patio and watched birds in the bird bath - if I keep still they don't mind me being there at all.
I *just* got the call - I came in 3rd. Having seen the other gardens, I can see that it was close, although I still like mine the best LOL.
I give you first prize! I like yours best.
Of course, I didn't see the others! ;)
Took the words right out of my mouth, Squeaky. I think your garden is just lovely, tardis.
Congrats on 3rd! (Maybe they try to avoid 1sts in consecutive years?) A lovely (and tidy!) garden. Sorry I wasn't following along in the anticipation... I was away and computer constrained for a week.
No, consecutive 1sts are ok, but if you win more than once in a row you can't enter that category again for 5 years. So that's another up side - I can enter again next year LOL.
Here are some photos from today:
Cabbage butterfly (for quebo and SqueakyChu :))
Orange Wellington Tomatoes (not orange yet)
Scarlet runner beans twining gracefully around themselves.
Some almost-black hollyhocks. They look darker IRL.
Nice pictures! I'm especially impressed with your tomatoes. I only planted one plant this year, but it's already succumbing to blight. :(
I have (runs outside to count) nine kinds of tomatoes this year: Roma, Sunsugar, Sweet 100, Orange Wellington, Healthkick, Valencia, Pink Ponderosa, Ball's Beefsteak, and Basinga. Usually I have more. And I'm pleased to say they're all loaded with fruit, just like Orange Wellington.
I'm about ready to give up on tomato plants completely. I cannot grow them without blight cutting their life cycles short.
Such a cute artichoke!
soooo hot today (about 28C/82F - I realize some of you would find that positively cool LOL), and I've spent it trying to dig out the stumps of my old nanking cherries, which have reached the end of their useful lives. I finally got fed up and called Home Depot to see if they could rent me a stump grinder but I had to leave a message and they haven't called back yet. Husband is bringing home the sawzall so maybe we'll be able to get them out ourselves, later. Planning to replace them with raspberries, unless I have a better idea between before I get that far :)
82F - I realize some of you would find that positively cool
Low 80s would be a relief... OTOH, I prefer 50s if I'm working in the yard. At the level of stump grinding, I'd get someone else to do it. :-)
82 is COOL... We're used to 95+ daily during July and August. Today it only got up to 88...but the relative humidity was 89%, so it felt hotter.
Well, I got the stumps out yesterday, thankfully! Horrid job. It took me all day and then at the end of the day my husband helped, too. However, DONE.
Today I started digging out the assorted things that have grown up along the fence - lily of the valley, mint, creeping bellflower, bindweed, tree seedlings, etc. Over the next few days I will dig over the whole bed several times, since it is infested with mint and lily of the valley and I need to get most of the roots out.
Then I will put paving stones along the fence, then a row of raspberries, then possibly another row of paving stones, and if there's room maybe put some of the lily of the valley back right against the sidewalk. I do love it. Oh, and there will be weed barrier, as well, to contain the raspberries, keep the mint from re-invading, etc.
I'll post an "after" picture at some point.
Ohhh! Lily of the Valley! mine has mostly been crowded out. Sad for them.
>93 No, we just might invite ourselves for a visit!
(95) I don't know if weed barrier will be enough to 'contain' the raspberries....
...but your project does sound lovely. Do post pictures as you can. :)
I had high hopes of weeding today but after reading all you have done, I think I need a nap.
97> by "weed barrier" I don't mean fabric (a waste of money in my experience) but rather edging - something solid and deep that will prevent the roots from escaping. It's probably going to need to go down at least 8 inches. Not sure what I can use, though. The standard plastic edging isn't really deep enough for mint and lily of the valley, much less raspberries. Need to look around at what's available.
I got about half the bed dug over today - will do the other half tomorrow, then wait until next week before doing it all again. Maybe by then the mosquitoes will have died off some. there are so many bites on my back that it looks like I have measles.
I did some searching for you for edging ideas. One gardener used 12" boards sunk in a trench around her raspberries. Another one suggested a search for 'root barrier' and this is one site that looked promising:
Thanks, fuzzi- that ndspro sheet product is pretty much exactly what I want.
I've considered wood, but I'd really prefer something that will not rot. I've used cedar for my raised beds but they only get soil contact on one side, so last longer.
One of my friends has a handy husband with access to a machine shop who built her stainless steel root barriers for around her lilacs, but I don't think he has time to do similar for me LOL.
For a small patch of something - I've done it for lemon balm and mints - I cut the bottom from a 5 gallon pail and sink it into the garden.
I have my mint in an old wheelbarrow full of dirt, and raised up on bricks...the mint's not going anywhere.
But with raspberries, don't they spread not just by roots but by rooting where their canes touch the ground?
I'm more worried about root spreading with the raspberries - the rooting by canes is easier to control. Anyway, they won't have much room for that - the whole bed is only about 6 or 7 feet wide, and some of it's going to have paving blocks on it.
I've seen systems for raspberries where they put a T-shaped post at each end and string wires to keep the canes upright - might try that.
We've used the bucket method for controlling mint at the community garden. It works well. My mint is just in ground but up to now has been able to spread unchecked. Makes a very pretty ground cover :)
We had a hailstorm yesterday, and quite a few of my plants are damaged, but the thing that ticked me off most is this:
I have been trying to grow the Himalayan Blue Poppy for YEARS. I've lost track of the number I've bought that just died on me. And before I ever saw the flower open, it gets HAILED ON. Grrrr. Anyway, it has more buds, so it's not the end of the world, but this was the first flower. Sniff.
Oh tardis...*sniff* indeed. I feel your pain, having lost a few plants over the years to wild wind and rain. What a colour!
Such a pretty blue! I tried to grow them one year, and utterly failed. It is looking quite poppyish.
Spent Labour Day labouring in my garden. I got two major jobs done and a few minor ones.
major job #1: paving stones for the barbeque to sit on:
Major job #2: finish the raspberry bed. I put a 1-foot strip at the front that I can put lily of the valley in, and the 6 raspberries that I was able to get (2 Boyne, 4 Souris) in the centre, with a row of paving stones against the fence. There's room for one more raspberry plant but I'll get it next spring - hoping for a different variety. The support structure will wait for next spring, too.
The minor jobs were just watering things, moving a few plants around and disposing of some extra dirt.
Looks like a nice day to be outside. A sense of accomplishment is an extra bonus.
I often get things done - but usually it's because I've made work for myself - usually got a new plant and have to shoehorn it in, somehow. This past weekend I was at the Horticultural Society's fall plant exchange and sale, and I fell for a little amur maple in fall colour (a bit early but it was potted so likely a bit stressed). Then I had to dig a new bed in the front yard to put it in, find some complimentary plants to go with it and move a rock into the bed. Sense of accomplishment somewhat blunted by knowing that what I SHOULD have been doing was starting to clean spent plants out of the vegetable garden, and harvesting frost-tender stuff because first frost could happen any time now.
(118) But doing garden cleanup isn't as much fun as adding a new plant!
In a similar way, baking is much more fun that cleaning up afterwards! ;)
thanks! built that fence myself. Sort of designed it, too, because I knew what I wanted and I could not find it anywhere.
I designed the gate, too, but husband built it. I don't do welding :)
120: Ooh, pretty! In your shoes, I wouldn't've done what I should've done either.
There was frost on the garage roofs across the alley this morning! I think it was light enough that the garden is okay but it definitely means the end of the growing season is in sight.
I cleaned out the community garden plot today. Big pile of carrots, beets, celery and other stuff to deal with but the weather is so lovely that I'm going back outside to get more done in my home garden.
The variety is Valiant (or possibly Beta), but yes, pretty much concord. They make amazing grape jelly.
Yes, huge improvement, isn't there? Definite sense of accomplishment. Until it got dark I kept going out to admire it - Now I'm looking at the photo periodically :)
When you write 'upgraded' do you mean you did work on the stones?
Upgraded just means I replaced some of the existing pavers with new, bigger ones :) The old smaller pavers got used to fill in the smaller areas around the edge, although I didn't do a very good job of breaking them.
Today I finished cleaning out the home vegetable garden. I did the community garden a week or so ago, so all that's left is finishing the garden next door. And all the flower beds, but they can wait until after the frost (expected this week). I also still have to put the hose and the irrigation system away. Here's the cleaned up veg garden:
I managed to get both my veg garden and the one next door dug over, and my husband ran the mower over all the pulled-up plants to chop them smaller so they didn't take up so much room in the compost. Also they will "cook" down faster.
We are supposed to get frost this week and after that I'll clean out the perennial beds but if it snowed tomorrow (which it won't LOL) I wouldn't mind too much because I've got the worst part of the fall chores done. If the rest waits for spring it's no big deal.
I'm sure tired tonight! So far I can't even muster interest in dinner. I think I'll make some tea - maybe that will help.
Gardening can be surprisingly exhausting! Nice to have wrapped up the year. Now you can retreat inside to read, and plan for next year.
Yes, it's nice to have a base level of doneness :)
I will do more if weather permits but I like having the stress reduced. Of course, the day isn't over yet - I still have to put away all the stuff I harvested yesterday and today :)
My favourite beans - I love the flowers, and eating them too, although I usually eat them like green beans
148: I usually eat them green, too, but the vines were so thick that I missed quite a few and I couldn't bring myself to just compost them so I'll try them as dried beans.
My garden is put to bed - as much as it's going to be unless we get a thaw, in which case I'll cut a few more things back. However, there's still activity - I put the bird feeders out, and the magpies have been mobbing one of them.
Magpies, for those who don't have any, are members of the crow family. I'm fond of them because they're bold, handsome, smart, and tough, but can't deny they are also rude, greedy, raucous, predatory, and scavenging bullies. I've seen a bunch of them gang up on a cat, following it around and screeching at it.
hmm. Maybe we need a birds thread, since northern hemisphere butterfly season is pretty much over. I'm not really a birder, but I do feed them in the winter and I like watching them in my garden.
151: A bird thread would be motivating! I don't think I've ever seen a magpie, did not know about the crow relationship. Cool.
I've never seen a magpie, but they sound like bluejays.
What's the barrel on its side for, a dog house?
Magpies are related to blue jays, but bigger, meaner and more likely to congregate in groups. I never see more than two blue jays at a time, but I've seen as many as ten magpies, generally harassing a cat. I once saw a magpie going after a squirrel.
That's my rain barrel. Have to empty it for the winter and put it where it can't collect too much more water, otherwise it will freeze solid and burst. I guess if any wildlife decided to move in for the winter it would be okay, but nobody ever has :)
We don't have magpies here, more's the pity, but we do have the Bully Boys, the jays. I don't even want to talk about garden clean up. It is supposed to rain until next weekend and it is POURING, so nothing will get done. Me arthuritis doesn't like cold and wet.
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