I AM a gardener. Gardening is a hobby that runs deep with me and from March to October I am in my element. Each day, from the first thaw, I enthusiastically rake away debris, look for signs of life returning and map out my projects for the coming season.
We moved into this house 5 years ago, and at the time the yard was a blank canvas. I spent the first summer cutting out borders and digging up sod. We renovated a bathroom and used the old bath tub as a base to create a pond. Trees were moved and shrubs were planted, basically the framework for my vision. The following years I invested in perennials so that one day I would have an easy to care for, but beautifully full garden, year after year.
Then this past winter hit, and it was a long one. We saw our first snow in early November and it didn’t stop coming until well into April. I can’t remember the last time we had a winter that long, but it really reinforced in my husband and I our desire to move further south one of these days. I was just dying to get out and garden, and the late spring was torture. Finally, the warm days came and the snow went away and for two weeks I raked and prepped and dreamed until I realized… my garden didn’t need me this year.
My beds grew in full, they grew in beautiful. My planning and planting for 5 years was suddenly paying off, but it was too soon! I spent all winter cooped up, I was going to garden something, so that’s when I started looking seriously at veggies.
The third week of May, my husband and I ripped up the side yard. It was unused yard, had decent sunlight and was nicely enclosed so we went at it. As a side note, I want to point out that since the day we moved here, I have found that God has always provided us with whatever room we needed for whatever we wanted to build, plant or develop! Just when we think there is no more room for anything, God opens our eyes and points out a spot we never noticed :).
We live in South Western Ontario, so we are zone 6a. I read up on growing veggies in our area and realized that we can do something called “second stage gardening” – meaning, once something is harvested I can rip it up and put in something else as long as I can harvest it before the first frost. The Farmers Almanac claims we will have a warmer than usual September and October for 2014, so I’m going for it.
Right now I have:
- Peas and Beans (x3)
- Kale (x6), Swiss Chard (x4), Leaf Lettuce (x6)
- Red cabbage (x4)
- Broccoli (x4) – there were 6.
- Tomato (x2)
- English Cucumber (x2)
- Pickling Cucumber (x1)
- Zucchini (x1)
- Pumpkin (x1)
- Watermelon (x1)
- Potato Plants (x12)
According to my calculations I will harvest the bulk of this in the second and third weeks of July. I had 6 Bell Pepper plants that were all stagnant. They didnt grow and they didn’t die – I’m leaving them in the garden but I have low expectations from them. I’ve also had to brace my broccoli plants with peony cages because the wind was blowing them around and one plant snapped right off its stalk. I thought I lost two of the broccoli plants to deer but they seem to be growing back.
I planted only what we would eat and what I could freeze, aside from my greens. We are already enjoying our little trips to the garden to get greens for salad, what a blessing it is to grow your own food! So far I haven’t had any problems with rabbits or insects, but my father in law (a farmer) gave me a recipe for an all natural insecticide using dish soap. I think I’m most excited for my potatoes… 12 plants should yield about 70lbs of produce!
My second stage seeds are getting planted this week so I can transplant them in a month. To be honest, I don’t exactly know what else I want to grow, but I’ve picked up some seeds for beets and radishes. All I know at this point is that I’m loving this new adventure :).