The Pickleman Family Garden 2020!
The garden started a few years ago as a way to teach the kids to grow their own food and care for something with the added bonus of teaching the lesson of reclaiming useless lawn space. This year, the plans were to add another raised garden box, add some more berries, grow carrots properly, and space things out a little for better yield.
Then the outbreak and lock-down happened. Should I be spending a couple hundred dollars on soil, seeds and seedlings when income is unknown? Would there even be stores open from which to buy anything? Should I give it a go again this year?
The answer is HELL YES LET'S DO THIS!!
So, here begins a new chapter in Canadian gardening in a shorter growing season than you are probably used to. Learning as I go, this is how it is starting this year.
I swear I mowed that mess 4 days ago but a good mix of sun and rain makes it look like a meadow pretty quickly. Just beyond that fence is Olympic Dandelion Growing so I will most likely pick up a bunch of new ones. I to like to keep a few of the punk rock flowers around until the blooms from the perennials pop out.
The original box is along the fence and was topped up with a yard of triple mix garden soil along with some compost, manure and a bit of mulch. This will be the home of 4 kinds of tomatoes, 2 kinds of cucumbers, peas, beans, a surprise addition and the returning asparagus.
The pepper box returns with 7 kinds of pepper ranging from sweet nothing to chemical warfare in terms of heat. The medium security facility just beyond it is new for this year and will be home to strawberries and carrots. The chicken wire is connected all around and lines the bottom of the bed, 10 inches deep.
I anticipate losing the battle to the critters but I wont go down without a battle.
When I planted asparagus 3 years ago, I learned shortly thereafter that it takes 3 or more years for it to actually produce. So, we should have a bunch of skinny ones to eat from the bbq with a little butter and spices.
I do like the beans as you can start them right in the ground, they grow rather easily, and the ladies love steamed fresh beans. Green beans and some hybrid to see which work better.
Besides my peppers, I would most like to master tomatoes. Family favourites are beefsteak (sandwiches and salads,) roma (sauces and freezing) cherry (healthy snacks and salads) and early girls (impatience.)
This year, I went with Big Beef because perhaps they are a good alternative to beefsteak, maybe produce quicker, and that is my porn name.
I liberally sowed the cucumber seeds as last year was not a good cucumber year. Something ate the sprouts last year so I planted too many this year in anticipation of losing most to squirrels or birds. I have a breed called Slicers and another called Dill Pickle and you can see the repurposing of the kid's water toy for cheap irrigation.
Another new addition is the rhubarb. One friend asked one of our groups whether anyone had rhubarb to spare and that friend delivered a few roots to me the same day. It flopped dead when I planted it and I figured it might be a rough rhubarb year. They bounced back in a week with some good watering and have plenty of space to tube.
Mint is a great perennial as it is fairly maintenance free, is nice lush ground cover, and is great as a stomach-relaxing tea, guinea pig treat, or a reason to have too many mojitos. Last year, we planted spearmint, peppermint and chocolate mint. They look and taste different and all popped up again this year. I just have to hack back the flowers and raspberries so they don't get choked out.
My @lynds lupin seeds were planted in the wrong season, yet decided that was only an inconvenience and they should make it back this year. I am told by experts that this year should be the year for some awesome colourful blooms. I forget what colour these ones are and am excited to see.
I have also added a seedling purple lupins in another bed so that I can compare their progress and pit them in a battle for my attention.
Here, you see lilies in perhaps a losing battle with raspberries. The orange lilies are so damn nice for covering the ground, producing such vibrant orange flowers, and grow wild along the highways for a nice native touch. I am going to experiment with some pruning and vining of the raspberries up high so that we have maximum berries and there is room for the other plants.
I am giving strawberries a try this year. My young one has a tragic love of strawberries because she has an allergic reaction when eating them. I am wondering whether it is the berries or the shit they spray on them before sending them to the grocery store. Some fresh organic strawberries will answer that question so that she can eat them again, or I will have plenty to freeze and combine with raspberries in a nice jam.
I am also giving blue berries another go. I tried 2 bushes a few years ago in another garden and they didn't make it. I have tripled that amount (because I have heard they need company for pollination) and planted them in another bed that is recently sunny from removal of 3 huge pine trees. If I have to be the garden fairy with a paint brush dabbing all of the flowers, I will make them grow here dammit!
The $20 bush is the big one in the foreground. In the background, you see the skinny little yellow $9 one. Perhaps I should have doubled my investment.
This little hearty bugger is the $25 blueberry bush of the Peaches & Cream variety. I will battle back the other stuff growing here so that it will have its share of morning and afternoon light.
You know you are a garden nerd who likes the kitchen when you take a picture of your parsley sprouts. They are a great garnish as we know but my better half insists it adds a great taste to the right dish as well. I am also working on basil, thyme, oregano, chives and maybe some dill.
I have found layers work well with pots. A bit of gravel at the bottom. Garden soil next and then a mix of peat moss, top soil and potting soil. It is tough to get the right mix of nutrients and water retention. A month or so later, a liquid fertilizer with the right acidity and nutrients for what you are growing and that is it besides water. It is a different art than ground growing and worth learning as well.
I have yet to reconnect with @simplymike on Hive but I am pretty excited about that. There was a great gardening crew on Steem and some neat challenges & community support. As it should be on HIVE!