Saturday, September 23, 2017

More Than I Can Chew

I've had some less than stellar years in the garden but this summer has been right up their on the stress scale.

It wasn't because of one culprit in particular, but rather a combination of:  the never-ending pest/disease issues, the weeds that grew like weeds 😉, three trips over the course of the summer (fun but I fell WAY behind as a result), helping my mom in her transition from married to widowed,  the current (BIG) garden project, and, to top it off, finding it hard to say no to my volunteering.

I'm finally going to admit it - I've bitten off more than I can chew.  Even the harvests are often an obligation rather than a joy.  I usually take on a little more than I can handle - I just want to do it all! - but I think this year I've learned my lesson.  Hopefully.

It's been a while since I've done a garden update, so I thought it high time I do a quick stroll through the garden and point out some of the highlights.

The most exciting thing that's happening is a harvest - our first ever apples!

The first ever ripe Haralson apple

Since this was our first harvest, we weren't sure when the apples would ripen nor what they would taste like.  When I chose the apple varieties, I relied primarily on catalogue and internet descriptions.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Harvest Monday - September 11, 2017

This has been an exceptionally busy summer.  I've been away 3 times since the end of June which definitely hasn't helped when it comes to making progress on my garden "to-do" list.

The one thing that I haven't been doing a lot of is harvesting.  More accurately, I have been harvesting but not as much as I usually do at this time.  This is partly because I simply haven't been here to harvest but there has also been less to harvest due to all of the pest pressure this year - there were a lot of casualties early on.  Some I replaced, such as the lettuce, but others (winter squash, peppers) I did not.

So on to the harvests and first up, we have the tomatoes.  These started as a trickle but then sped up throughout August.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

À Paris

Well, hello there - it's been a while!  I am back from a family vacation in Paris....and now I need a vacation to recover from the vacation, if you know what I mean :)

Despite our minimal French vocabulary, it was rather easy to adjust to the Parisian way - in fact, after only a couple of days, the lady in the boulangerie down the street from our hotel would bag our "usual" baguette order as soon as she saw me walk in the door.  I loved that!  The biggest adjustment was not having a "normal" coffee in the morning.  I must say, however, that I did become quite fond of café au lait - yum!

Sunset over the Seine

Anyone who has been to Paris knows how incredible it is.  I'm hugely interested in all things historic and, coming from a country where a building from the turn of the century is considered "old", you can imagine how I was struck by the history that I saw on practically every street.  From the boulangerie that has been in the same spot for the past 150 years to the narrow streets that are barely wide enough for a car, paved with cobbles on which horses once trod, it was wonderful to be immersed in a culture that places more value on restoring what exists than replacing it with something new.

This post is photo-heavy so you may want to grab that cup of coffee or tea right about now :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Garden Project of 2017 - The Plan

In my last project post, I spoke about The Solution to The Problem.  In this post, I'll give a few more details on the expansion as well as the timeline.  We don't have an able bodied crew at the ready - this will change once the kids are a bit older ;) - so most of the work will be done by me, myself and I with the occasional spousal helping hand.  Translation:  This will not be a quick project!

The Plan

After the trees were moved, we were free to start the expansion.  A picture is worth a thousand words, even a very bad Google maps image, so here is a rough illustration of the planned vegetable garden expansion:

House is on the right; the street cuts across the top left corner, neighbours driveway is on the left.
Red = Current Area #1;
Blue = Expansion to Area #1;
Green = New ornamental border;
Green "flowers" = transplanted spruce trees

Monday, July 31, 2017

Harvest Monday - July 31, 2017

The harvests have picked up since my last Harvest Monday post three weeks ago.  Still no sign of a mature cucumber but there was one pleasant surprise yesterday - the first Sungold tomatoes!


Friday, July 21, 2017

Garden Project of 2017 - The Solution

In my first post on the Garden Project of 2017, I spoke about the "why" - namely, eliminating the need for chicken wire fencing around Area #2 by transitioning those beds from vegetables to ornamental.

BTW, if you find yourself saying "I don't recall seeing that post", I'm not surprised since I goofed when posting it.  I inadvertently hit "publish" before the post was ready and then promptly reverted it to a draft.  What I didn't realize was that when I did eventually publish, it would post as of the original date, which in this case was 3 days earlier.  Oops.  Next time this happens (and we all know there will be a next time, don't we), I'll have to remember to copy and paste to a new post.

Now, back to the topic at hand - this years garden project.  Since the beds in Area #2 will become cutting flower beds, I will need to build four new vegetable beds elsewhere.  The best solution is to expand Area #1 but this involves dealing with a couple of issues:  (1) two large spruce trees growing right in the middle of where the expansion would be and (2) lack of privacy.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Harvest Monday - July 10, 2017

This is turning out to be "one of those years" - you know, those really bad years that are sprinkled amongst the good ones?

Here we are in mid-July and this is my first Harvest Monday post of the year - THAT'S the kind of year it's shaping up to be.  Firstly, I've been incredibly busy both in and out of the garden - I'm having a hard time keeping up (and truth be told, I'm not keeping up at all but am way behind).  Then there is the frustration of those dang rabbits - they are still getting into the veg areas and I've just about given up.  Many veg have been damaged, among them lettuce, peppers and eggplant, but their primary focus lately has been beans and peas.  The rabbits are, apparently, very particular as some varieties have minimal damage while others are now mere sticks poking out of the soil.

Another unwanted newcomer to the garden that I mentioned in a previous post has ramped up it's presence - from one lone beetle spotted about a month ago to this:

Potato Beetle Larva - All were picked off and dropped into a soapy water solution
minutes after their moment in the spotlight