Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How does your garden grow?

Do you garden? 

Veggies, fruit, herbs, flowers? Some or all?

We try to grow as much as we can through the summer months to supplement our groceries. All part of simple = frugal living.

With Derek's horticulture/landscape background and my love for flowers and fresh produce, we have had some form of garden each place we have lived for the last 10 years - no matter how little space we have had. 

Here at the park our space is limited but enough. Last years garden wasn't all that successful - we underestimated the needs of the soil and the large amount of shade we get here. Combined with a fairly wet and cool summer last year we were pretty disappointed with the outcome.

Not deterred we have again dug and planted. This time with manure added to the soil and the addition of creative planters outside of the shade zone.

During our shopping trip to Kamloops last week we picked up some plants - tomatoes, basil, rosemary, lavender, dill, bee balm, catnip, ornamental grass and evening scented stock.

Cassia is always eager to help Derek in the garden! This picture shows her digging last spring and now this spring. Boy she sure has grown.
We are glad that we can teach her about gardening from the beginning and hope that it is something she enjoys for her whole life.

Our tomato plants - this year we planted 4 varieties - Roma, Cherry, Ball's Beefsteak and Bush Champion. I usually do ok with my tomato crop but I may give this recipe a try this year that I found on Jamie Cooks it Up:

3 cups compost/mulch/dirt
1/2 cup epsom salt
1 tbsp salt
1/2 cup powdered milk

Mix the ingredients together and either add it to the hole before planting (too late for that!) or sprinkle a handful around the plant and water.

The garden is a combination of plants and seeds. A friend of ours attends a Seedy Saturday and thankfully passes seeds onto us.

Lavender is one of our favourites so we have a total of 3 plants.

I also love the Bee Balm flower. Usually just a pretty addition, I may see what I can harvest from it this year for other uses.


Here is the cilantro that self seeded from last year - what a surprise. Do you find growing cilantro challenging because it goes to seed so quickly? Here is the answer to that problem!

Our strawberry plants from last year survived and are much bigger and better this year. 

We purchased a few more strawberry plants this year with berries already on the plant. 
As you can imagine, Cassia is pretty anxious to get a hold of this big one!

Here's how to keep strawberries fresh once picked (if they last that long that is!)

Due to the fact that we also have 3 cats trolling our gardens, Derek and I suspected that part of the problem with our garden last year was their - ummm - feces. 

Over the winter I was thinking that container gardening was the answer. But how to get containers. Yes, I know that you can go buy them but that had to be a last resort for us. When Cassia and I came home from my mom's, Derek had solved our problem.

We'll put are garden in GARBAGE CANS! yup.

These old cans are no longer used in the parks and stored here in our compound. Only the top 1/3 or so is soil the rest - pine needles and cones and such. We have 5 of them planted up.


We also found a few other 'containers' around. Like our creative technique for protecting our plants - watercress at the moment - from the cats?

We've also seeded lots of types of lettuce - here is a good resource for growing lettuce.

Cassia learning to prepare the soil ...

put in the plants - basil and parsley -  yum..

and add the finishing touches. If you are into herb gardening like we are here is a great article - I learned A LOT! Ten mistakes new herb gardeners make from The Skinny Gourmet.

We garden because we like to. However, even if we didn't I believe that the cost of food and the desire to live frugally would lead us to it anyway. I think it is possible for EVERYONE to grow SOMETHING irrespective of the type of housing you have. There are so many options.

Here are a few great methods and gardening resources I found around the internet.

Vertical Gardening - this picture comes from Ewa in the Garden.

There also lots of ideas for those of you with balconies - head over to Life on the Balcony.

And of course there is container gardening. Here are The 5 Essential Rules for Successful Container Vegetable Gardening and here is a Beginner's Guide to Container Gardening.

And of course the latest method to catch on - square foot gardening. Two resources are No Dig Vegetable Garden and a really great illustrated directions by Frugal Dad

Well, off to the garden!!!!


Today's Interesting Link: LOL -- don't I have enough already above!!! Here's one more! The Veggie Gardener has a list of his top 15 best vegetable gardening blogs. 

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