Thought you might like an update. The Goddess is down south (London) for a golf tournament, wedding and children time, so i have a little time to spare when i am not exhausted.
This is often the “spring situation”, as the growing window is shorter here than places down south. But we have longer days this time of year, so it all works out, but you need to get plants in and growing at the first realistic opportunity in order to be done before late season frosts arrive. Our plants may look small for this time of year, but they will increase in size rapidly now that frost warnings are done.
This is our back yard. This year we have having a deck built so we can enjoy the pleasant evenings. We have beautiful sunsets.
This is the greenhouse area, where i grow plants until they are ready to go outside.
Here is a pic of the back of the greenhouse, showing the water storage system. That is rhubarb growing.
Rhubarb in the front. One green and one red and i will be making stewed rhubarb any day now.
This is a trail that leads down to the lake. I have planted Saskatoon or service berries on either side.
Here is a bed i planted with artichokes before we decided we did not like them. “May be invasive,” they said. Yeah. That is a crabapple tree in the front, with four blueberry bushes. i am hoping with to crowd out the artichokes.
This is where i am growing plastic piping. Hahaha! It is going to the dump, but to keep it off the lawn, i put it on the mushroom bed. I am attempting to grow morel mushrooms here, but it is a tough thing to do. Call it an experiment. There are some fava beans coming up, so i moved it off there. Really. I did.
This is my main potting area. i have been experimenting with different ideas and think i have things where i want them. The barrel to the right is a rain barrel filled with water that gathers heat during the day and releases it at night.
This is half the main growing area, filled with plants. There are a lot of hot pepper plants for inside the greenhouse and tomatoes ready to go out.
A little closer view. i start about 10 different types of tomatoes and the same for peppers. Most of this will be canned for salsa, hot sauces, tomato sauce and paste. So fall is busy as well, with harvest and canning.
The other side of the growing area.
There are a lot of herbs, which will be planted in various places throughout the garden. Herbs tend to encourage beneficial insects and help to repel harmful ones. This has been proven in numerous studies, as well as common folklore, which i never discount out of hand. Not to mention the pesticide-free product. I dry and grind a lot of my own herbs.
The other potting area, with cucumbers ready to go (have actually all been planted). By the end of the season, there will be squash and cucumber vines all over the lawn. Only the main plant needs to be rooted in fertile soil. The vines can go all over, but should be moved a little from time to time to keep them from rooting, which will affect their production.
This is the central work area, with tools and items i use more often. It is usually a bit of a mess, but functional.
A parting view…both ends of the greenhouse are identical in design.
This is part of a woodlot experiment. The most productive woodlots are managed. I thinned out the trees (see the smaller ones on the left) and the remaining ones grew three times as fast as the ones which were not thinned. i use trees for fencing and such, but am also careful to replant more trees to replenish nature. i am adding a lot of fruit and nut trees which have been carefully chosen for shorter, colder, growing seasons. (We are in 2b).
Some of the varieties are heirlooms from places like Russia. I have pear, plum, apple, crabapple, and chestnut, and some i have likely left out. We should have significant fruit growth by year five.
An update photo today, showing transplants are almost all outside.
This is the temporary structure outside, while i finish some preparations. That is insulated foil around the shelves, which helps reflect light inside, so everyone gets some. The bed to the right is in preparation mode.
Here is a good look at it. I do not dig or till underneath my beds. They are 2-3 feet deep, which is plenty of depth for rooting the first season. After that, worms have taken over tilling the garden for me. Nothing like meal of compost to call nature to dig and aerate the soil for me. In a couple of years, that clay will be breaking down nicely.
I put some branches or cornstalks in the bottom, to provide drainage and air. Wood adds long-term nutrients to the soil. The next layer is well-rotted horse manure, courtesy of some good friends down the road. i go over with a barn fork and the trailer. It is full of enough grassy stuff that it only takes a short time to compost.
Then a covering of rotted soil/wood chip mix, after the plants are established. The rails for this new bed are held in place with rebar hammered into the ground and bale twine. Eventually the wood will stay there on its own. Rebar lasts forever and so beats plastic hands down. And if a piece of rebar ends up in the ground, it will break down. Plastic will not. Even some peat products and so-called biodegradable mulches and so on do not break down well at all.
This is the garlic bed i put in last fall. You cannot see the cinder blocks, as they are covered with rotted manure right now, but i can plant herbs and flowers in the large cavities. There are bush beans coming up in there as well, They will be harvested before the garlic.
A view across to the greenhouse. You can see some poles slanting away from the garden bed in the front. This is the base for the trellis, which will hold some long cucumbers, which develop straighter if they hang down. The type is Soyu Long and it is wonderful, comparing favourably to any English cucumber i have tried. They will root in the bed and climb that trellis. I have also made a trench, where some Russian Mammoth sunflowers will grow, reminding me not to walk into the poles, lol.
Raspberry bushes are coming up terrific. There are also a couple of cherry bushes.
These are the workhorse gardens. i grow beans (currently about 10 varieties, as i try to decide on which kinds to grow. I grow some for drying and baking. You can see what i mean by the holes in the cinder blocks. They are perfect sizes for growing herbs and flowers to attract pollinators.
And the other side. There will be trellises for pole beans. When the bush beans are done, it will provide space for the beets, carrots and parsnips to finish growing. None of these really suffer frost damage and i have dug root crops in the winter in down south.
This is the strawberry bed. When i first began here, i used cinder blocks. This bed was made by placing hay bales around the bed. I then filled it with twigs and branches and covered it with rotting manure and straw and wood chips.
The first year of this type of setup will not produce as well later years due to the high amount of carbon-rich material. Now it is totally rotted and rich with nutrients. My strawberries are easy to pick and manage. The walls are breaking down, so the bales will become compost and a new batch of bales can be placed around the garden.
For now, the rotting bales are home to some squash plants, which will roam the lawn. The terrible looking trellis is temporary, as i have some hops growing at the end of the bed.
Close up of strawberries coming.
Difficult to see, but this is a closeup of one of the beds built on the Three Sisters method, used by many aboriginal people in North America. Corn is planted. Beans are planted with the corn, as they produce nitrogen. Corn is a heavy feeder and likes nitrogen. I may not get corn, we will see. i sometimes use sunflowers in place of corn.
Then squash plants are added to the mix. They root beside the other plants, but can use other space to spread out and produce. Three varieties which complement each other. Very cool.
Some cukes waiting patiently to be planted.
You will notice branches and chicken wire all over the place. I put them on or around the garden after planting to keep Bella the Wonder Dog from burying and digging. She does not bother the gardens once they have a lot of greenery.
A view of my Three Sisters beds. There are a number of trees planted behind the gardens that are too small to see right now. Compost bin is in the middle. i use a lot of shit, man.
This was another hay bale garden. There are trees planted here. Some bush beans for nitrogen. The bags are for potatoes. They are permeable, so cannot be overwatered and yet seldom need water added ( at least for now). As the potatoes grow, i fill the bags with soil or straw. At the end of the season, dump them out and harvest the spuds.
My gardens are a large part of my spiritual life.
John…the happy gardener.
PS. If you want to know more about my methods, let me know and i will answer as i am able.